Jaclyn and John
How We Met
When the annual Greek Gala at The Plaza Hotel in New York City approached, I knew I had to be there. After all, I told my roommate, “you never know who you’re going to meet at a Greek event.”
It was 2016 and my night started just the same as it did preparing for any other event. I got ready at my West Village apartment, met up with some fellow Greek friends, and headed to the Plaza expecting a great night – not knowing how great it would truly be. Not long into the night, I locked eyes with an incredibly handsome guy who I would learn was named John. We were immediately drawn to each other and after only 15 minutes of playful banter, John asked for my number because “He had a feeling he would be seeing a lot more of me.” All I could think was that I sure hoped so.
Our first date a week later was just as charming as the night we met. After brunch in the West Village, we took a walk down to the pier where there happened to be a public ballroom dancing class going on. If you know me, you know how romantic I think dancing is. Without hesitation, John swirled me into his arms for our first dance, and even more memorable, our first passionate kiss.
More time together only led to more fun and adventures. After only 3 months of dating, we spontaneously decided to take a trip to one of my dream destinations, Havana. There we salsa danced the night away, rode around in old-fashioned cars, and said our first “I love you’s.” Then a few months later, we visited Greece and to share our island roots with each other and to meet our extended families. And most recently we ate baguettes and cheese in Paris and skied in Switzerland! No two days have ever been the same; whether it be traveling, or even just starting a new Netflix series on our couch, we share a love of being together and experiencing life together.
how they asked
I awoke on Saturday, March 31st to what felt like an ordinary weekend day. John was off to work and I went to meet up with my yogi friend Sam and a photographer, to take some pictures across the city for Sam’s portfolio. Little did I know, this wouldn’t be an ordinary Saturday at all – John had a secret plan, and Sam was in on it. After a full day of shooting, Sam had invited me for tea at the Plaza because, as a New Yorker, she felt like she had to have the experience. Naturally, I was unsuspecting as it had become a go-to spot of mine for taking out of town guests.
Sam, the photographer, and I made our way to the Palm Court and – lucky for us – it was completely empty. I thought they hadn’t opened yet, but the hostess ushered us to our table and handed us menus. After getting settled, the photographer got up to use the restroom and let us know she’d be right back.
A minute later, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Thinking it was the waitress, I was astonished when I turned around and saw John looking dapper in a blue blazer and khakis – definitely not his usual workwear. In a pure state of confusion, I gave him a hug and asked him what he was doing there. It definitely wasn’t to have tea.
He began reciting our story and stating that, as I knew, “The Plaza is a very special place to us.” After I heard those words, I saw a bouquet of beautiful pink roses, and I immediately realized what was happening. I started trembling with emotion and almost completely blacked out. I remember nodding my head yes over and over again. “You have to verbally say yes,” he said, and of course I did. Seconds later, Luigi from The Plaza popped open a bottle of bubbly and ushered us to the bar to celebrate. The photographer who had “gone to the bathroom” was on hand capturing the whole magical event!
With champagne in hand, I confirmed with John one more time that he had indeed asked me to marry him. Of course he had, and he unbuttoned his shirt to show me that he had recorded the whole thing via a wire so we could remember it forever – a suggestion he got from my brother Alexander after asking him (and my dad) for their blessing before proposing to me.
After a few minutes of soaking in the moment, John encouraged me to call my parents who lived just a few blocks away. He suggested I ask them if I could stop by – not mentioning I was with him – so we could surprise them with the news. According to John, they knew we were getting engaged but were not privy to the exact date or time.
We arrived at my parents place and, to my confusion, HIS parents opened the door! One by one, his sisters and their significant others walked in the door – one happy surprise after the next. Not long after, my dad handed me the phone so we could share the news with my brother, who lives in Seattle. He congratulated us and wished he could be there to celebrate.
A couple of moments later, I heard yet another knock on the door – it was my brother and his wife who had flown all the way in from Seattle to celebrate and surprise us! I was overtaken by such incredible emotion at the love we’d received from our family, and at the lengths my Fiance’ (I still love saying it!) went to make the day special for me. We spent the day popping bottles of champagne, eating more than our body weight in cheese, and facetiming family all over the world. It was such an incredible day.
As we were celebrating, John let me know that I shouldn’t fill up entirely because we had dinner plans for just the two of us. I asked if we could make a pitstop at home to change and around 7:30 our Uber showed up. Rather than driving home, our driver pulled up to – surprise! – The Plaza Hotel. I figured this was our spot for dinner and that I wouldn’t have a chance to change. Without questioning I followed John toward The Palm Court – only to see him switch directions heading instead toward the concierge. “We’ve been waiting for you,” they said and handed us our room key. I was stunned.
The floor of our room was adorned with red rose petals and there was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. I was truly in awe. That entire day – and that moment – surpassed my wildest dreams. To top it off, in the room, he had packed a bag for me with multiple dress options, and all my hair tools and makeup so that I could get ready for dinner. Sipping champagne and enjoying every second, we got ourselves set for dinner, hopped in another Uber, and pulled up to The Nomad. It turns out John had gone there the day before to hand select the perfect table for us, and the service and food (especially their famous chicken!) was just the cherry on top to an already perfect day.
Love, thoughtfulness, family, good food, excitement, fun and surprises have been themes of our relationship, and this day exemplified them all. It was perfect – beyond my wildest dreams – and The Plaza Hotel has become so much more to us than just an icon in our favorite city. It’s where our story began, where we met the loves of our lives, and where we started our next chapter as an engaged couple.