Jeanine and Chris

JEANINE and Chris's Engagement in Lotte New York Palace

How We Met

A year and half ago our paths crossed in the most “us” way possible! Chris a former NFL running back had recently retired in his seventh season, and immediately went back to his Alma Mater, the University of Texas to receive his MBA. Prior to us meeting, he was working for the NFL league office and doing business development at their corporate headquarters in New York City. I had recently graduated from Business School myself at the University of Miami in order to advance my career as a sports marketing executive. In late August of 2018, my boss and I traveled to Houston, TX, Chris’s hometown, to scout a potential NFL draft prospect on the opening weekend of the college football season. One of our close friends, former Texas Tech head coach and current Arizona Cardinals head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, gave us tickets to sit in his family’s suite at the game. Chris who was visiting family for the weekend in Houston and as previously mentioned was also friends with Kliff, received a call from one of his former teammates and best friends Danny Amendola (who is also a Texas Tech alum and best friend of Kliff) to support Kliff and attend the game that Saturday morning. While both at the game we instantly started chatting and couldn’t believe the number of mutual friends and similarities we had. The following 2 weekends, as ironic as it sounds, we both happened to be in the same city completely by chance. Once in Miami, where I lived, when he was visiting Danny, and the following weekend in LA, while I was on business and he was there for the birth of his nephew. We knew at that point that the universe was giving us a sign and that we should pursue this more, and the rest, as they say, is history! We now live together in Miami where Chris owns and operates his own business, All-Purpose Sports Advisory, that helps student and professional athletes transition by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and network to build a fulfilling life after sports and I myself am the Director of Public Relations for Grutman Sports and Entertainment.

How They Asked

After a few months of dating, Chris and I went to New York City for the Christmas holiday. This was the trip where we were introduced to each other’s families. We went on a date all over the city to enjoy what Christmas in New York had to offer. As I grew up close by in New Jersey, Christmas in New York has always held such a special place in my heart. This year, we had plans to travel to New York again for Christmas, but this time Chris would spend the majority of it with my family. Prior to leaving Miami, I expressed to Chris in the most roundabout way, that I would love to have a date night similar to what we had last year. However, when we got there, Chris claimed he was “tired” and would rather watch basketball for the night. I think the Lakers and the Bucks were playing and he couldn’t miss it. However, he had a plan and was 2 steps ahead of me. Unbeknownst to me, Chris was planning to propose. In the final stages of designing the ring, he decided to have the jeweler add a halo.

So, Chris pivoted and made me believe we weren’t going to have this magical Christmas date. Two days into our New York trip, I had given up on us enjoying the holiday spirit and as we had plans to go visit with his family during the day and then travel to New Jersey to be with my family for the rest of the Christmas holiday. However, when I woke up Chris had a different plan. He had all of a sudden changed his tune and claimed he wanted to go see “the tree” before we left. Reluctantly, I got in the car with him at 10 am and we headed to what I thought was going to be Rockefeller Center. As I was on my phone and not paying attention, I did not realize that we got out of the car at Lotte New York Palace Hotel.

JEANINE's Proposal in Lotte New York Palace

Where to Propose in Lotte New York Palace

Chris was doing everything he could to lead me into the courtyard. When we finally got outside, Chris began to explain to me how he had been keeping something from me for quite some time now. He then proceeded to get down on one knee, and I began to realize what was happening. By this time a crowd had formed, and the entire place erupted in clapping and screaming as through tears I told him, “yes.’

He had a photographer hidden amongst the crowd who was able to capture the entire thing! After I finally stopped crying, he told me that we had brunch plans, and we walked over to one of my favorite places, Saks Fifth Avenue which most recently opened a restaurant I visited with one of my best friends on a trip to Paris. Another surprise awaited as Chris had all of my closest friends to wait for me. The entire proposal was absolutely perfect.

Special Thanks

Josh Wong
 | Photographer