Elise and Michael

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How We Met

It all began on August 22, 2016, when Gary Kremen inspired Mike to make his first move. Who is Gary Kremen, you ask? He is the creator of the online dating website Match.com, and the reason I am a very happy, ENGAGED woman today. From the very start, Mike was always intrigued by my career and my passion for teaching young children. Little did I know, my office, a 4th-grade classroom filled with 21 impressionable students, would later be the setting for an incredible proposal and the start of a beautiful love story…

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After viewing his Match profile, reading through his page, and sifting through several photos, I decided to message him back…two months and 23 days later. We exchanged small talk for a while; we spoke about our jobs, our favorite cuisines, and of course, our love for travel. We went back and forth for weeks. At that time, we both had very hectic schedules so, we didn’t speak very consistently. In fact, we didn’t exchange phone numbers until December 12, 2016. A little over two weeks later, on December 29th, we finally decided to set our first date at a local restaurant; this meet up was nearly six months after Mike’s initial message.

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Now, like most millennials in the world of online dating, I wouldn’t say I was super thrilled to go out with Mike. I had little expectations because, in the past, it never seemed to work out in my favor. To my surprise, this particular night was one for the books. Naturally, I showed up fashionably late. I walked in, and I immediately spotted Mike sipping a beer at the bar, sporting a bright, teal Vineyard Vines sweater. I remember feeling very nervous. I walked over, grabbed a stool next to him, and after a good conversation, cozied up to the fact that this could actually lead to a potential relationship.

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Mike and I spoke for hours. At one point, I got up, walked to the bathroom, and called my sister, who originally inspired me to give Match.com a shot (she met her husband on Match.com too). I remember whispering from the second bathroom stall, “Nicole, I really like him.” I mean I really, really, liked him…enough to be his future wife! That night led to many more dates. By January 19, 2017, Mike and I became an “official” couple. We spent the first year together traveling, and experiencing all that life had to offer… including, but not limited to making two-pound gouda cheese wheels from scratch; for those who know us, know that we don’t discriminate on any experience!

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We became roommates on January 1, 2018. Since then, we bought a home together and of course, got engaged…

how they asked

Our story has come full circle since Mike’s first message on Match.com. So to answer Mike’s question: “Hey what’s going on…so how long have you been teaching?”

I am now finishing up my third year teaching special education. I co-teach in a 4th-grade classroom with a very good friend of mine, Rena. My students are my world, and I genuinely enjoy going to work every day. I assume this is why Mike decided to pop the question in a place he knows makes me the happiest…and also a place I would never have suspected a proposal.

So, here’s the backstory: About a month prior to the proposal, Kara Ketchum, author of the children’s book, Harry Humble, was scheduled to conduct a read aloud in our classroom. News 12, a local news station, planned to cover this story. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, this plan fell through and we were forced to reschedule.

Like most couples, I went home and told Mike about my day and the situation. That’s when he began plotting…

In the weeks that followed Mike reached out to my principal and my co-teacher and asked for their help in planning an unforgettable day…And an unforgettable day it was.

Day of the Proposal: Friday, May 18, 2018. My alarm sounded at 5:45 am. Normally, I would have hit the snooze button 5 or 6 times before actually getting out of bed. However, today I had to dress to impress because Rena told me Ketchum and News 12 were “scheduled to come back.”

…Or were they? I remember thinking Mike was acting strangely that morning. He didn’t say much.

He did, however, say, “Oh! I like your outfit.” Naturally, I thought this was odd, as he never really notices my outfits (like most men), but I didn’t think much of it. I went to work and conducted business as usual. It was the afternoon. Rena and I were getting ready for News 12’s arrival. We were tidying up our classroom and making sure we were “camera ready.” A photographer walked in. He introduced himself to Rena and me and told us that he was there for the “read aloud” (which I now know was a lie). Kara had not yet shown up so, we decided to play Hangman with our students. At this point, one of the secretaries in our school had paged into our room and asked if I could cover a kindergarten class (on the complete opposite end of the school) for a few minutes. While I thought this was a little strange, I complied and off to kindergarten I went.

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As soon as I left the classroom, Rena took our students to get “freshened up” in the bathrooms; they had no idea what was happening either. At this point, Mike was let into the school by another teacher and brought into our room where he then hid in our classroom closet. The students came back in and they continued on with their game. After about 10 minutes, I was relieved of my kindergarten duties. I walked back into my room. Rena called one student to name a letter, then another, then another. Until the board spelled, “Will you marry me?” Mike appeared from the closet and the rest is history…

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My mom and my sister, both teachers in my school district, appeared from the nearby hallway. We celebrated together. I was so grateful that they could be a part of such a special moment in my life, as well as my friends, and of course, my 21 amazing students.

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Later that day, Mike had planned a dinner with both of our families. We were surrounded by so much love and support from our parents, siblings, and grandparents. It was truly a day I will never forget. I will always be eternally grateful to those who helped in making this dream a reality. Mike and I wasted no time, and we have set our date! 11/08/19.

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