Erica and Michael

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How We Met

Here’s our story: On Saturday 9/10/2016, Erica and Michael met at Mas Mexican Cantina in West Chester, PA. Erica was a senior attending WCUPA, and Michael was a recent graduate of Arkansas State University, working at Mas while living with his brother, studying for his boards. The next day they went on their first date. It was also the first Eagles game of the season, a very exciting and important day for the two. They started at Saloon 151 where they had dinner. There was a live band, which (unfortunately for the band) was a pretty comical show for Erica and Michael. They bonded immediately over the laughs (mic check 1,2, 1, 2). They didn’t want the date to end after dinner so they proceeded to Barnabys for a couple of drinks. The night came to an end way too fast. A goodnight kiss may or may not have been exchanged (never kiss and tell). Erica and Michael constantly exchanged texts through the week- Both love birds giddy. The following Saturday was their first time out with friends.

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As soon as Michael asked if Erica and her friends wanted to do “fruity shots”, the approval was obvious. Michael asked Erica to be his girlfriend 10/5/16 and she, of course, said yes (after calling him a “pretty cool kid”). The two enjoyed their first months of dating, exploring the streets of West Chester and Philly. Michael first told Erica he loved her during Christmas time. Being the romantic sentimentalist he is, he wrote it in icing on gingerbread cookies and surprised her with them. She, already knowing she loved him, reciprocated the message. Time was coming for Erica to graduate. She didn’t know where she would land geographically post-grad. She didn’t know what would happen to their relationship, and she didn’t want to think of the possibility of it coming to an end… until a very traumatic, scary, and the life-changing event happened to Michael from a work injury.

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She knew from this moment that she wanted to be with him. Michael was now a tenured x-ray tech and rented his own apartment. Erica decided to move in with him after graduation until she landed a job somewhere. Those months were the best of her life so far. The couple’s bond, trust, vulnerability, communication, and love got stronger. When Erica got offered and accepted her first job in DC, Michael without hesitation offered to come. The two lived in DC for a little over two years and made some of the best memories and friends of their lives. But it was time to come back home to the NJ/PA area where their families (majority) both reside. They lived at the shore for 6 months until they purchased their first house together and closed on February 24, 2020. Life just keeps getting better. The proposal was the best day of their lives as a couple. The young couple is so excited to plan their wedding, share the day with their families and friends, and live happily ever after.

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How They Asked

It was a typical cloudy day at the jersey shore in May- a little chilly, no sun, fresh salt air. When at the beach on a cloudy day during a pandemic, what else to do than smoke a pork butt for 10 hours (thanks to my brother, Andrew). While we waited for the meat to smoke for dinner, we went about our day as usual. During breakfast, Michael excitingly suggested that we dress “nice” today. Since being in quarantine, neither of us had dressed “nicely” or worn jeans. So I was excited to switch it up and accepted the offer. After getting ready in the morning, I see Michael wearing joggers and a sweatshirt. I laughed and said there’s no way I’m wearing jeans if you’re wearing joggers and a sweatshirt.

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So I proceeded to put on leggings, Michael’s over-sized sweatshirt (from a Sonoma, Cali skate shop), running shoes, and a denim Aruba baseball cap. No makeup. Hair in a bun. I suggested a family in-house happy hour at 4 pm, just for fun. Meanwhile, Michael has been on his phone A LOT today and I was started to get annoyed by it (lol). I didn’t say anything. 4 pm comes along and we’re running late because we decided to test a new cocktail recipe. We made coconut mojitos (white rum, cocosky, Malibu, seltzer, fresh mint). to say the least.

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Anyway, it’s about 4:45 pm and we’re ready to go on the balcony for happy hour, despite the chilly weather. But wait. Mom asks for my help with drying the dishes, and of course, I do so. At this point, Michael asks if I’m coming outside and I told him shortly after I dry the dishes. He tells me, “I thought you were coming outside?” I responded that I had to finish drying. He says, “just put them on the drying rack.” I’m now thinking “what’s his deal?” There weren’t that many dishes. I finished in about 2 minutes.

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I grabbed my drink and walked out onto the balcony. To my right, Andrew was sitting in the chair with his phone up as if he was filming. I didn’t really question it. Then I saw a group of people on the street (socially distanced) and I was confused. Then I saw Michael’s family and my friends from home, and it hit me. As I yelled, oh my god!” And turned around, there he was on his knee with the biggest smile and most beautiful ring. He asked, “Will you marry me?” Of course, I started balling and said “yes!” Funny thing is I was so excited I grabbed the ring and put it on myself, not even thinking that was his job (haha!). It gets better.

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Being the selfless most caring man my fiancé is, he coordinated with many of my close friends and family whom I grew up with to join a Zoom meeting (thanks a lot COVID) to watch the proposal live. This truly meant the world to me, and Michael knew how important it was for my loved ones to be a part of the moment and memory. Seeing everyone on zoom was the icing on the cake. I can’t even explain the happiness that I felt at this very moment. And I know that that happiness will continue to manifest throughout our lives together, as a married couple.

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