Ilana and Dan

Where to Propose in Princeton, NJ

How We Met

We met on Tinder in 2014! Back then we were a little embarrassed to tell people, but now it seems as though everyone is meeting that way. We initially clicked on our love for travel and formed a strong connection right off the bat. We had been talking for a few weeks and Dan was about to go on a 3-week vacation to Colombia. We hadn’t met yet and he was trying to convince me to come see him. I lived in Baltimore at the time and he lived in Philadelphia, so driving 2 hours to see a complete stranger seemed a bit crazy! My mom had been visiting me that day and of course, asked me if I was seeing anyone. I replied “no” but that there was someone that I was talking to but I didn’t think it was going to happen because of the distance. She told me that I was crazy not to meet him!

Ilana and Dan's Engagement in Princeton, NJ

Her remarks tipped the scale, and I decided I would go see him that evening (I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean right then and there). So we had a great first date walking around the art museum and going to grab a drink at North Star (a bar right near his house that has since closed). The next weekend he came down to Baltimore and we had another great weekend before he left for his trip. We kept in touch while he was on vacation and then continued to see each other. I decided to make the leap to move to Philadelphia in February 2016, and then we moved in together November 2016! Since then we have traveled all over the US together, to Cuba, Guatemala, and El Salvador as well as other trips separately. We love traveling so much we decided to move to Spain for Dan to pursue his MBA and me to switch departments for work!

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how they asked

Unbeknownst to me, Dan had been plotting his proposal with my whole family and his whole family. I was on a work trip to San Francisco when he started putting the pieces together. Dan comes from a big family so there were a lot of players working together! Dan’s older brother Scott had mentioned that a local tour company in Princeton (Princeton Tour Company) (near where Dan grew up) wanted to test out a 25-35 scavenger hunt. He sent an email about it to all of us (8 of us in total!) and I was pretty excited, it seemed like a very cool way to spend a Sunday. Little by little, everyone besides us declined the invitation, mentioning that they had some sort of plans that day. I, of course, didn’t think anything of it. Dan had (sneakily) also asked me if I was okay going just the two of us, and I was game of course. We were going to be in Princeton the day before for a fundraiser so I was busy getting my hair done and looking forward to this event so I was excited to have a full weekend planned. We had also received an email that asked us to dress up a bit because there would be pictures taken…. In hindsight, a lot of this made sense of course…

Its Sunday, February 25, 2018, we are excited about our scavenger hunt. We showed up at our first location, the Yankee Doodle Taproom (where Albert Einstein engraved his name in one of the tables along with an original Norman Rockwell mural on the wall!!), to meet the owner of the Princeton Tour Company, Mimi who was hosting this event! She was so sweet and explained all the rules to us, handed us over a binder, and introduced us to our virtual helper who was supposed to help us along(who ended up being her of course!). Mimi said that she had already met up with the other people doing the tour and gave us our end time. We proceeded through the scavenger hunt, which was super detailed!

It took us to the Albert Einstein mini-museum, to the Princeton public library, all over Princeton’s campus where we had to talk to people about specifics of the school as well as the town. We had the best time and got to see a real Monet in Princeton’s art museum! I was so absolutely swept away in the fun of the day, taking lots of selfies along the way, that I had no time to think of anything else. Hours went by and we were having the best time (of course :D). All the while, I’m looking around seeing if anyone else had been carrying around the same binder as us….

Finally, I was excited to get to the last clue which was supposed to be hidden behind Nassau Hall (on Princeton’s campus). The clue said “Face the back of Nassau Hall. Now turn around and walk to the white building on the right. Your final clue is hidden behind one of the columns”. When we got there, I still had no idea what was going on…. until Dan started speaking in what seemed like slow motion, I’m still not sure I heard what he said because before I knew it, he was down on one knee!!! He pulled out the customized jewelry box and a necklace that says “To a Lifetime of Adventures Together” and the date “02-25-18” and the jewelry box has the date on it as well. He said that he wanted us to pick the ring out together, which we have! The entire scavenger hunt as just the two of us and the entire purpose of this scavenger hunt!

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Afterward, I was so on cloud 9, I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to enjoy the moment for as long as I could before I called my parents. Dan said that we would drive down to Maryland after lunch and go see my parents. I didn’t question that or even ask who was going to be at lunch… In my head, I thought it would be the two of us or his parents (I really still thought that his siblings were legitimately busy). I was so excited and recognized the name of a local restaurant his parents had been telling us about called “The Local Greek”. We walked in and I remarked about how cute it was, and then I turned left! Both of our families were in a private area waiting for us!! It was so incredible, I couldn’t even believe it. Dan’s parents had thrown us this beautiful engagement lunch with his entire family and my family had driven up from Maryland for the occasion.

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Dan had been working with my sister and everyone else for months planning this out! I had absolutely no idea and it could not have been a more “us” moment. It was the most thoughtful surprise of my life. Dan had brought extra clothes for me because my family would be staying the night. He planned every last detail! Which is an exceptionally hard feat when you live together. I also found out my uncle (with my aunt who came from New York) had captured the whole beautiful moment whilst hiding behind a tree! I had absolutely no idea. He took the most wonderful photos!

Special Thanks

Michael Lurye
Mimi Omiecinski
The Local Greek
Great Venue!