Elizabeth and Joel

Image 1 of Elizabeth and Joel

How We Met

Our love story began back in 2013 when we were just a couple of over-worked & over-stressed law students attending Suffolk University Law School in Boston. While we were placed in the same section and shared almost all of the same classes, we didn’t officially meet until October of 2013 during a law school mixer located at what I lovingly recall as “the bar with the jellyfish” (not an exaggeration, there were actual jellyfish floating around behind the bar of this place…I guess nothing pairs with a nice cosmopolitan quite like blacklit Man of War?). It wasn’t exactly love at first sight (Joel had a bit of a reputation as the “Class Gunner” back in the day…) but, after sitting across from each other in Civil Procedure for an entire semester, we finally started chatting about life outside of law school.

Once final exams wrapped up in December and the newfound freedom of a month-long break set in, we found ourselves celebrating amongst friends and shared our first kiss. Ironically, we had both vowed to avoid dating altogether during law school. Too much stress, too much reading, too little sleep…you get the idea. But, as they say, fate had other plans…We spent our entire winter break talking for hours on the phone and were even in the same state of Florida for a little while during the holidays (Joel visiting family in Winter Springs and me vacationing in Key West). As coy as we tried to be in hiding our little romance, our friends and family quickly caught on that something was up (my parents still joke about “that boy” I was texting throughout the trip) and we decided to go on our first official date when we were both back home in Beantown.

Pro Tip: first dates are intimidating. Like, really intimidating. They are particularly nerve-wracking when you have been talking to each other non-stop for 4 weeks and, god only knows why, willingly choose to set said first date at one of the fanciest restaurants in the city. For those of you that haven’t spent a lot of time in Boston, Top of the Hub is, as its name suggests, perched atop the Prudential Building on the 52nd floor. It’s one of those “don’t-bother-coming-here-without-a-jacket” establishments where you definitely need a reservation, the views are spectacular, and the food costs a small fortune. For reasons we may never truly know, this is where we decided to go on our first date. Our plan was to go out to a lovely, over-priced dinner on January 18, 2014 once I landed in Boston. But, yet again, fate had other ideas…My flight ended up being nearly 2 hours late and, by the time I finally got back to my apartment, the last thing I wanted to do was yank on a pair of Spanks and nibble on some $40 appetizers. To my surprise and pure delight, Joel suggested we order in takeout instead. I swear I started falling in love with him right then and there…

After spending the entire evening laughing and talking, we decided to make it “Facebook Official” as the kids say. We officially started dating on January 19th and shared our first non-takeout meal together as a couple at Genki Ya, a tasty sushi restaurant down the street. We shared our first “I Love You” sometime that spring, met each other’s families and, as the saying goes, the rest was history. We spent the next two and a half years of law school studying, taking many of the same classes, and laughing…oh, there was so much laughing. We moved into our first apartment together in February of 2015, graduated from law school together, studied for and passed two bar exams together, and started our first jobs as attorneys together. It wasn’t always smooth sailing and we were forced to handle some difficult times the only way we knew how: together. From family health scares to career changes, our relationship became a true partnership during these times of hardship and, I have to say, we have grown closer because of it. Here we are nearly 4 years later, preparing to spend our forever together. There is nobody that I would have rather called my boyfriend and now, my soon-to-be husband.

Image 2 of Elizabeth and Joel

how they asked

A few months ago, my parents surprised us with a special vacation to Quebec City, Canada to bid adieu to 2017 and ring in 2018 in style. As if that surprise wasn’t exciting enough, we would be staying at the iconic Chateau Frontenac (pictured below)!

Image 4 of Elizabeth and Joel

Our Canadian adventure would also include a snazzy night out on New Year’s Eve in the Chateau’s ballroom for dinner, dancing, and lots of glitz & glam! My mom and I got to go shopping for special dresses and the boys even wore bow ties…

Image 5 of Elizabeth and Joel

Little did I know that the three people I trusted and loved most were, shall I say, plotting behind my back the entire time…

Joel here, with a little back story about “the big question.” No, I don’t mean proposing; I mean proposing a proposal. You know, talking to the parents. It happened back in November when Elizabeth and I were visiting her parents in New York City for Thanksgiving. It was Saturday and I woke up early with feelings that this was the day…this was the day I was going to talk to Elizabeth’s parents about spending our lives together. I did a double-check to ensure that Elizabeth was still sound asleep (she could sleep through a hurricane if she needed to…or so I thought) and went to see if Elizabeth’s mom Shari was awake.

I sheepishly asked if I could talk to her and Michael, Elizabeth’s dad, for a few minutes. She answered, “of course” and we headed into the back room of their apartment. I was so nervous that I didn’t think to shut the door before we started to talking, but was convinced (again with YEARS of experience) that Elizabeth would sleep through just about anything. A little shaken up, I told them that I loved their daughter very much and I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. I asked for their blessing and was filled with so much joy when they welcomed me so warmly into their family. Their exact words were that I was “already a part of the family.”

Unbeknownst to me, Elizabeth had woken up around the time that I said I loved her and her mom started crying…oops. Being the less-than-subtle gal that my fiancee is, she promptly confronted me, her mom, and just about anyone she could think of when we got home. I quickly learned that surprising this one was going to take a little effort…

I first decided that I was going to propose to Elizabeth during our trip to Quebec back in early November. Next, I had to figure out how I was going to pull it off. While perusing for Elizabeth’s Christmas present (we fill each other’s stockings every year), I found a scrapbook that read “Our Adventure Book” on the front cover. I decided that I would fill this book with memories from the last four years, from the moment we met right up until the Christmas holiday a few days earlier. It took a lot of creativity, crafting skills I never knew I had, and quite a few late nights at the office, but I eventually filled the book with the story of us.

Image 6 of Elizabeth and Joel

Image 7 of Elizabeth and Joel

Next came the daunting task of slipping the scrapbook and engagement ring into my suitcase while packing with Elizabeth. Again, no easy feat. I managed to bury the scrapbook in my own suitcase, packed the ring in my briefcase, and hoped that Elizabeth wouldn’t go snooping…

When we checked into room 2259 at the gorgeous Chateau Frontenac, I quickly unpacked and resumed my now-honed sleuthing skills. I must have relocated the ring at least 7 times during the 24 hours we were checked into that room before New Year’s Eve, but thankfully she never found it!

Since I knew she had overheard us over Thanksgiving, I decided to really throw Elizabeth off and propose to her after our big New Year’s Eve gala. While she was getting ready with her mom, I staged the room with her favorite heated blanket (which, naturally, she brought to Canada), a cup of green tea, and the scrapbook hidden in a gift box. I wrote a letter to Elizabeth (pictured below), which I placed on the scrapbook, and tried my best to calm my nerves until we came back to the room after the gala. I also told Michael what my plans were as we were waiting for the ladies to finish getting ready. He told Shari right away and thus began the longest night of all of our lives…

Image 8 of Elizabeth and Joel

Image 9 of Elizabeth and Joel

Hi everyone, Elizabeth here. So while Joel and my parents were pulling off the greatest surprise of all time, I was having the time of my life. I ate weird Canadian food, danced the night away, and rang in 2018 without a care in the world. Meanwhile, my mom is nearly about to lose it from having kept this secret for over 2 months, my dad is excited, and poor Joel is trying his hardest to “act natural” despite the surprise he had waiting for me in our room.

I would be lying if I said that the idea of getting engaged over New Year’s hadn’t crossed my mind a few times, but when midnight came and went I was completely certain it wasn’t going to happen. I laughed it off and decided to appreciate the first few minutes of 2018 for what they were: a fun night out in a great dress with the three people I loved most. As the party started wearing down, we all decided to call it a night (me because my heels were hurting…everyone else because I was going to get engaged). I suggested that we all go back to my parent’s suite to watch the ball drop and order room service which, to everyone’s horror, was absolutely NOT an option. They had to get me back to room 2259, but how?!

Luckily, my parents suggested that we go change into comfy clothes first. As Joel breathed a sigh of relief that the plan was still on, we all headed back into the hotel…Again, and I can’t say this enough, I. HAD. NO. IDEA. We walked into our room and there, sitting on our fluffy hotel bed, was a wrapped present with a letter. I was excited…2017 hadn’t exactly been a banner year for me and I thought it was touching that Joel wanted to start 2018 with a little surprise.

As we settled in to read the scrapbook, tears began to fill my eyes. This was truly the most thoughtful gift I had ever received, and I couldn’t believe how much time Joel must have spent putting it together. We laughed and cried together and we flipped the pages, covering multiple birthdays, anniversaries, sports games, and other milestones in our relationship. Then I got to the last page…

Image 10 of Elizabeth and Joel

Completely in shock, I glance over and, somehow, Joel had gotten off the bed and over beside me…and he was down on one knee. He opens the ring box and says, “Will you marry me?” Apparently my first response was, “Are you serious?!” to which Joel calmly replied with, “Yes.” In my mind, I waited a couple of seconds before responding, but Joel swears it was closer to a half minute before I could form a sentence. While crying, laughing, smiling, and shaking, I eventually responded with, “Yes, of course!” and hugged Joel.

As we were hugging, Joel reached for my hand and I said, “Oh my god, right! There’s a ring!” as he placed the stunning 4.8-carat morganite emerald-cut sparkler on my finger. We kissed, told each other how much we loved each other, and cried. Joel then asked if I wanted to go upstairs to see my family who, he revealed, were in on the entire thing. I walked into their room saying “I have some news…” and they both screamed in delight. We all hugged, laughed, and basked in the amazing moment together.

Image 3 of Elizabeth and Joel

Special Thanks

 | Moral Support & Planning
 | Held Up Under Intense Interrogation by the one and only, Elizabeth
Joel's Coworkers
 | Received and Protected "The Ring"