Joe and Sam

how we met

Samantha and I first met in middle school, I was in seventh grade and she was in sixth grade. We’re talking the year 2000 when the cool thing to do was rush home, turn on MTV (back when music was still on MTV) and watch TRL, while waiting for your dial up internet connection to log onto AOL just so you can chat with the same people you just spent all day with. Any how, either way both of us would rush home and log onto the computer and begin instant messaging each other for hours. It’s not that it wasn’t cool to talk to a girl in school, it’s just that I was almost a badass eighth grader and she wasn’t… so instant messenger it was. This slowly turned into an amazing friendship and a “dating” relationship. You know the type of dating where your mom would pick you and your lady up, bring you to the ice rink, or the movies and then pick you up at the end of the night. Super cute, adorable, fun dates! Well I developed these feelings for Samantha that I never knew could exist. So naturally, I panicked and the first thing I thought to do was break up with her… and back then all you had to do was change your AOL profile status from: Taken, to Single. So dumb…

We wouldn’t talk again for five years, 2005 to be exact. We always thought about each other, but neither of us acted on it until one night I ordered dinner. I had just become a volunteer firefighter & EMT. Every Friday night at the firehouse the guys would do dinner. Sometimes we cooked at the firehouse, other times we would do take out. As fate would have it and unbeknownst to me Samantha was working at the local pizza place. I’ll never forget the night we decided to order Buffalo Wings from said pizza place. I’ll never forget that because one of the guys opened his take out container of wings and said “umm Joey I think this one is yours”. I naturally assumed it was going to be some type of prank because we all ordered the same type of wings. But no, it wasn’t a prank. Inside the take out container was a note “Joey if you want to call me here is my number <3<3 Sammy”.

You gotta be shittin’ me? Yep, this chick heard I joined the firehouse and slipped a note in the food, hoping it would get to me. The note wasn’t just put in the bag, nope. It was inside the container of wings, right next to the blu cheese and celery. It was awesome and yes I called her! We continued to talk and email each other for several weeks, never actually hanging out, yet. We decided we would really like to see one another again, since our conversations seemed to have picked up right where we left off, after Samantha let go of the fact that I was “soooo mean” for breaking up with her via my AOL profile. Samantha and I planned to hang out one night at one of the high school football games. October 28, 2005 was the night we decided, hey let’s meet up under the lights near the end zone.

I’ll never forget the way Samantha looked that night. It was a combination of butterflies in my stomach, Friday night lights and pure beauty, that forever engrained the image of Samantha walking towards me. It was like the scene from a movie as she seemed to have been a mile away walking towards me in slow motion with the wind blowing her hair and the lights shining behind her… just ridiculous how hot she looked. It was that moment right there I thought to myself, self, she’s the one! We hugged hello, chatted for what only seemed like minutes. But somehow hours flew by and the game was over, but we decided we missed each other enough to keep the night going by going out to dinner.

That night turned into the best thing in the world, true love. Samantha and I began dating, again, and over the next two years we became the best of friends. Since I went to a high school one town over, we had different proms… which means we got to party it up in style, not once, not twice, but three times. It was awesome. There is nothing better than enjoying a night of eating, dancing and partying with your best friend and we got to do it three times.

Well… In crazy girl fashion and not knowing why, but thinking it was the right thing to do… Samantha decided we needed to part ways and we did…for seven years this time. I’m just thankful it wasn’t a Facebook notification saying “hey dude you’re now single”.

Anyways… Seven years pass this time. Samantha went off to become an amazingly talented Hair colorist at a fantastic salon in Westport, CT and I became a police officer. During those seven years apart we maybe ran into each other three times, maybe. But, for some reason we both couldn’t go 100% cold turkey for one another. Over the years we exchanged a few text messages here and there but that was basically it.

Fast forward as I said, seven years. We both managed to land ourselves in positions that we both knew weren’t right… something was missing. We both ended the relationships we were in and realized, we were meant to be together. We reconnected so much stronger, wiser and a bit older than we were back in sixth grade. But one thing remained the same, our love. It was stronger than ever before and we knew exactly what we wanted. How is this for knowing what we want: Three months later, I was living with her at her condo. Five months later, we bought a house. One year later, I asked my best friend, my one and only, to be my forever and ever… and she said yes!

how they asked

So knowing Samantha is curious by nature, I knew a surprise proposal would be challenging. I have always embraced a good challenge. So I began laying the ground work about two months ago when Samantha and I were hiking. We were hiking a trail that leads to numerous open fields, and a few barns. This was perfect because she is completely into this thing called chubby chick, or is it shabby chic? Idk, Either way, she fell right into the trap!!

On the hike we began talking about how beautiful the trails, farm, field, and barns were. I mentioned that I always wanted a picture of us in a setting like that, she did too! A few weeks had past, and each time we hiked I made sure to mention the idea of pictures. Over and over again, so that way it was not going to be out of ordinary when I made “plans”.

While I worked out the details on when, where, and how, my sister worked out the who! She booked an amazing photographer that was also into this shabby chic design thing. My sister and I picked a day approximately 1 month before the day, to walk the property showing the photographer, Ling. I also had to make sure the photographer was down for my “plan”, which she was. She had to act like a rookie, after all we were doing the photoshoot to help her “build her portfolio”. She made up ordinary model release forms, a fake name and acted like a rookie just stepping into the photography world. Her name was now “Lee” and she was a friend of my co-workers, wife… Yea I sold that shit!

With Sam now thinking my co-workers, wife’s, friend, will be taking our photographs to build her own portfolio. All I had to do was act calm, pray for nice weather, and down play the entire thing. About an hour before we were supposed to meet “Lee” for this awkward photo shoot, my sister put out a chubby chick style table, Sam’s favorite bottle of champagne in a bucket of ice, two champagne glasses and a sign… I’ll get to the sign in a minute.

Sam came home and looked AMAZING! Like she normally does, but I feel like she was even hotter than normal! I made her laugh, complimented her like I normally would, and even stayed in bed until she hassled me “cmon babe, you got to get ready”… This is how a pro sells shit. Suddenly, she can’t wait for the photos. She asked if i wanted to have a glass of Prosecco before we left… This is totally normal for us, BTW! So of course I said yes. I went downstairs to get the Prosecco. This gave me opportunity to grab the ring, which was in hiding. Ring in pocket, Prosecco in hand… It’s game time kid!

The weather was supposed to be crappy, but for some reason it was PERFECT! Slight breeze, warm, slightly overcast, bright… Amazing! Did I mention, Sam was looking like a BOMBSHELL? I even managed to convince her to buy a pair of cowboy boots she liked for this photo op, but that barely took any convincing… Not sure why? Off to the farm we went! We arrived and met this “rookie” of a photographer named Lee. Little did Sam know is that isn’t her real name, and she actually is a pro! We introduced ourselves, signed her whack ass beginners model release forms and began our hike through the woods to the farm. Making Sam laugh, keeping my cool, even making a few inappropriate comments about our identity being stolen by the photographer and ending up on a “Living with STD’s” magazine cover… Clearly I’m still selling… Always selling! As we walk about a half a mile, taking photos along the way, having honestly the time of my life with my best friend, the barn where it is going to go down is suddenly at my feet.

Photos at the barn, Sam’s looking amazing… Dude you’re getting nervous, you’re sweating… Blame it on the hike! Sam is on one side of the barn, Ling asks me to go to the other for “a wide angle shot” holy shit that’s my cue! Out of sight from Sam, I pick up the sign that reads “I am about to ask her….” Ling takes the pictures… Sam has no clue! I put the sign down and meet my beautiful fiancé-to-be on the frontside of the barn again!

Give her a kiss, act cool, she still doesn’t know, grab her hand, Ling gives me the signal that she is ready, I led Sam to the side of the barn, my right hand drops into my pocket. We turn the corner, Sam sees the shabby chic table, an iced champagne bottle, two champagne glasses, she looks at me, and I’m already on my knee!! And just like that I asked my best friend, my one and only, to be my forever and ever!

Special Thanks

Trailing Twine
 | photographer