Conor and Margaret
How We Met
Margaret and I met during my freshman year of college when I was at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and she was in her second year of nursing school at Villanova University (big rivals, but we managed to bridge the gap!). Our first date was at the Reading Terminal Market where I embarrassed myself with a massive corned beef sandwich, while Margaret was so nervous she had a single bite of a cookie. Then we walked the half hour to the Philadelphia Art Museum in the dead of winter, but it felt like a quick jaunt in the middle of summer – that’s when I knew I would marry her. We have been on some wonderful adventures together across the country and across the globe!
how they asked
We had always planned on getting engaged in May of 2019 after I finished my master’s degree. But I had plans of my own. So in November of 2017, I told my parents my grand plan of asking Margaret to marry me and they were thrilled. A month later in December, I went about the business of asking Margaret’s father, mother, and stepfather for their permission and they were over the moon! And thus began the planning for the ultimate surprise proposal. Fast-forward 6 months and the day has arrived. I have told Margaret that we are staying in Cape May just for a couple days as a little vacation to celebrate my graduation. The weather is unfortunately overcast and threatening rain but the plan is for me to propose on the beach.
So I call my mother who along with my sister and Margaret’s mother, stepfather, father, father’s girlfriend, and brother are all waiting for us in Cape May, NJ. They tell me the weather is questionable down there as well so I play for time and Margaret decides to paint her nails (worked out great for the photos – talk about serendipity!). We start driving down and halfway there we take a break at a rest stop on the highway. To ensure secrecy, I step into the men’s bathroom and call my mom to finalize the plan. We come up with the idea that I will call when we are 20 minutes away and she will pretend to be at home and use a code phrase to tell me whether or not to propose on the beach or on the veranda of the Congress Hall Hotel. So we get back on the road and the time comes for my “sudden idea” to call my mom. She picks up on the first ring and I am sure the jig is up — but Margaret doesn’t suspect a thing, and more importantly, the weather is good!
So we get to the beach and I casually suggest we take a stroll on the beach. I start saying the speech I had prepared as we are walking towards the predetermined spot (my mom, sister, and future brother-in-law had scoped where I should stand in order to get the best pictures) and about 10 feet from where I am going to stop she asks, “This isn’t some elaborate scheme to propose to me is it?” Of course, I lie and say no, we walk the last 10 feet and get down on one knee and eat my words. Deliriously happy she said “YES Of Course!”, we begin to walk back to Congress Hall where I suggested we get a celebratory drink (again, all part of the plan).
But waiting outside is a pair of decorated rocking chairs, a bottle of champagne, two glasses, and all our family beaming at us. The rest of our time was filled with love, family, delicious food, and a photo shoot that would rival most professional photographers.