How We Met
I had just made the decision to leave college – I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew a degree in education wasn’t it. Against my parent’s wishes I left school and started work as a full-time server at the fanciest restaurant in town. I recall making myself feel like I was making the worst decision of my life – but it wasn’t until my first day on the job and laid eyes on Jessica Rinker, that it all started to make more sense.
I remember I was standing at one of the server stations and I glanced over to see her gazing out the window while polishing a wine glass. She was introduced to me as “Rinker”, but when I put my hand out to shake hers, she smiled and said, “Hi, I’m Jess”. I’d like to say her extremely strong handshake was the first thing I noticed – but really it was her sweet southern drawl that caught me by surprise. This girl wasn’t from Rhode Island and I was very curious. I played tough for a while and denied any feelings for her; we both worked alongside one another for months while silently dying to just get a little closer. Late night conversations over cocktails led to us both confessing our true feelings for one another. Eventually, we couldn’t fight the undeniable chemistry between us any longer and we called it what it was – we were soul mates.
How They Asked
About two years into our relationship I told Jess how I wanted it to go because she asked if I needed her to get on one knee. “Absolutely! I need you to get on one knee and ask me.” I gave strict instructions, but I couldn’t have imagined then how perfect it would actually be.
It was just a regular day at work, May 24, 2018 – the sun had finally come out after raining for an entire month and we were heading into a holiday weekend. My boss came in at about 10:30 am and asked me to help with a favor. “I need you to go to Pastiche (which just happened to be my favorite bakery downtown) and pick up a cake for my wife and bring it to the house. It will be ready after one o’clock.” This wasn’t out of the ordinary as I am his assistant and help him with lots of random things. “You can take the rest of the day once you drop it off to my wife”, he said. “It’s the day before a three-day weekend and I’m going to let everyone go a bit early”. He saw the smile flash across my face as I told him that I would be happy to come back to the office – he insisted I take the afternoon off.
I rushed back to my desk to text Jess the good news and how I wished she was home to hang with me. She commutes to Boston from Rhode Island for work so getting home “quickly” isn’t a likely occurrence. “Lucky you!” she texted back, “enjoy your afternoon… I love you.” Jess’s birthday was coming up and I’d made arrangements to go out with friends the next day to celebrate it, so this was such a fun start to the weekend!
12:45 rolled around and I gathered my things to head to Pastiche. Once I arrived and walked through the door I knew it would be a sin to leave without a piece of my favorite fruit tart. So when the woman asked how she could help me, I told her I was picking up a cake, the last name, and quickly followed that with my order.
The woman walked away to grab my boss’s cake, and I stood at the cash register digging in my purse for my wallet. When I looked up a small white envelope appeared on the counter that read “Kelsey Sanford: OPEN IMMEDIATELY!”.
“Where did you get this?!” I screeched at the cashier. She smiled and said, “I know nothing I was just told to give it to you!” .
Now, anyone else would have thought this was it, this was the day! But, when you know Jessica like I know Jessica – you don’t rush to any conclusions because she is THE most thoughtful, kind, and romantic human to ever walk this planet, on the daily. I mean, really, Shakespeare could learn a thing or two from her.
As I started to open the card I looked up and saw that every woman in the bakery had tears in their eyes. Naturally, I became a human waterfall and started sobbing. Was this the day I had been waiting for? I sure hoped so!
The first clue told me that I didn’t have to go back to work and that she, per usual, had planned some of her own birthday celebrations, but I knew she was lying. It then instructed me to look for the next card in my car, “there are only a few places it could be!”
I wiped my tears away, thanked the crying team of ladies at Pastiche, and ran out to my car. The first spot I looked was my glove compartment – bingo. I ripped it open and it told me to head home to get ready for a fancy date night. This was also where my next clue would be waiting.
I sobbed, smiled, laughed, screamed and drove way too fast down the highway. Once I got home the next clue was on the door. The card instructed me to open the bubbles (a rainbow bottle of Cava!), eat the fruit tart and to sit tight cause “my hype girl” would be there soon. WHO WAS MY HYPE GIRL?! The first thought that crossed my mind was that everyone must be in on this and I really didn’t want to ruin it for myself so I didn’t call or text anyone, I just patiently waited for what felt like an eternity.
An hour, two glasses of bubbles, and a slice of fruit tart later, one of my closest friends showed up. I ran outside with my bubbles in hand and screamed, “Can you believe this is happening!?”. Caroline seemed very confused and had no idea what was going on; a façade she would keep up for an hour or two longer. She told me Jess had asked her to hang out with me while I got ready for a fancy birthday date night. “Get ready?! Where are we going? What am I supposed to wear?”
Well, just as you’d expect from my sweet lover – I walked upstairs to find one of my all-time favorite dresses that happened to be from my mom. It was a yellow pleated maxi dress that I had worn the summer before. The waterworks started up again because even though Caroline said it was for her birthday – I knew Jess had gone to my parents’ house to get this dress, and if there was any chance that this was a proposal, this is when she would have asked for their blessing. Another clue was placed on my bed that gave more clues and directed, “Dress to make my jaw drop.”
Caroline DJ’d while I fixed my hair and makeup and slipped into my favorite dress. When it was time to leave we hopped into Caroline’s car and she handed me yet another card – “You ARE in on this, you liar!”, I laughed. It instructed me to go to my favorite local farm and “Pick the most perfect plant you’ve ever seen.” Jess and I both love plants so this wasn’t a strange request.
We pulled up to the Farmers Daughter and I nervously walked through the greenhouses, hoping that I would find the plant of her dreams. With no one leading the way, I walked into the first greenhouse to see the love of my life standing there waiting. She looked so breathtaking and it all became very real in that moment. She took my hand, led me to the perfect spot and got down on one knee.
Jess laughed as she watched me jump up and down screaming “Oh my god, I can’t believe this is happening!!” She smiled and told me that she couldn’t imagine life without me and a bunch of other things I can’t remember – my answer couldn’t have been any more clear. I screamed YES and we embraced for what felt like forever. I honestly thought there would be way more tears, but my adrenaline was so high that all I could do was jump and scream! A photographer was there snapping pictures every second and Caroline captured it all on video.
The rest of the evening included a quick photo shoot and dinner at the Capital Grille with flowers waiting. We both felt so spoiled that entire weekend by so many loving friends and family.
I can’t believe this is real life. We’re getting married!!