How we met: We met on New Year’s Eve 2003 via Justina’s best friend, Liz. Joe was throwing a New Year’s Eve party while his parents were out of town (sorry Jim and Irene), and Liz brought Justina along. From the second we met we knew we had found “the one”, even though everyone else just chalked it up as “high school love” (understandably so!). We officially started dating on February 22, 2004 and have been together ever since. We have had the amazing opportunity to grow up together in love and share so many life experiences in the process.
how they asked: Joe proposed on a perfect Sunday morning in June on York Beach, Maine. Justina’s parents live in beautiful Portsmouth, New Hampshire, so the two of them are up there often. While Justina was hoping for a proposal soon, she was completely blindsided by when it happened!
Dogs are allowed off leash on York Beach before 8am during the summer months. Bella’s 2 favorite things (besides taking up the whole bed and whining) are playing fetch and swimming in the ocean so they try to get her to beaches whenever possible. The day before he proposed, Joe casually suggested getting up early to bring Bella to York Beach. Since this was such a normal occurence, Justina thought nothing of it. She agreed to the plan, but made a bet that Joe wouldn’t get up in time to make the off leash beach hours because they were going to be out late bar hopping and Joe has a tendency to sleep in.
To Justina’s surprise, Joe did wake up in time but not without a struggle. They finally found parking at York Beach and Joe managed to somehow slip the “Will You Marry Me” dog tag he had made onto Bella’s collar without Justina noticing. Joe said he was super nervous because the dog tag was “clinging” much louder than her normal one but Justina never noticed. They walked down to the beach and let Bella off leash and she proceeded to take off in a mad dash, ball in mouth, doing sprints in and out of the water. The sprints continued on for a solid 5 minutes and Joe started to panic that the dog tag might slip off with her splashing in and out of the water so hard. Joe started calling for Bella to come back and Justina just said “Let her play!” not realizing she was about to be proposed to.
Bella finally made her way back with the ball and brought it to Justina to throw it. When Justina reached down to grab the ball from her, Joe said “check out the new dog tag I made for Bella”. That’s when Justina finally saw the tag, and when she turned around Joe was on one knee with the ring. It was perfect.
Photography by Justina & Joe and Nathan Fiske Photography