Max and Stephie

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How We Met

How does a born and raised Jersey girl meet a small town, native German boy? The Internet! And I don’t mean an online dating site or app, I mean like completely random bytes of data crossing paths on the World Wide Web kind of absurd circumstances.

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It was my last semester in college and I remember getting an odd tweet from a username I had never seen before. I was never very active on Twitter and was curious as to how this person had found me and why they felt inclined to tweet at me (I’m not even sure this is the correct term). Out of curiosity, I playfully responded back and found out that he had seen me in the side panel of “People You May Know/May Want To Follow” because of one mutual online friend/follower we had. The funniest part of this story is our mutual friend, whom we knew from separate online chat forums for music, video games, etc., had a username variation of “THESE NUTS.” I still laugh at the thought of us finding each other because of “THESE NUTS.” (Also, thank you Twitter!)

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So from that point on I was a little bit intrigued but not at all in the mind set of being interested in this guy in that way. We talked a little bit, mostly on and off throughout the day while I was bored in class. But as the days passed, soon we were messaging each other back and forth all day despite the time difference and there was a clear “I like you” vibe going on that grew to feel like love. We first started talking in early December and by Valentine’s Day he had sent me a sweet bouquet of roses, a teddy bear, and chocolates. I was totally smitten.

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Soon after, we started talking about meeting in person. I had never been to Europe before and I really wanted to visit him in Germany. I talked to my family and closest friends about it and there was definitely a lot of concern. With shows like Catfish and stories on the news every day, I could understand where they were coming from. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me “Haven’t you watched ‘Taken’ with Liam Neeson?!?” I’d be a very rich person. (Thank you to all my family and friends who have always looked out for me!!) But sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and follow your gut/heart or forever wonder “what if?”. The world has over 7.5 billion people and my heart was leading me to this one, 3,842 miles away, across the ocean, in a country I had never been to.

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And after almost half a year of talking online, I booked a flight to Germany! I stayed awake for over 20 hours on back-to-back flights returning from a trip in California, swapping my suitcases at the airport with my parents, and heading straight back through security for a multi-stop flight for Germany. I could barely sit still at the gates, worrying and wondering if he would be the person I had imagined in my head. And then by sheer random luck, I was upgraded to Business Class on the last leg of my trip (my first time ever – thanks AirCanada)! I had planned to sleep the whole way through but was too excited to try out all the amenities of royal flying and eat every bit of food they had to offer. My good fortune also made me feel very optimistic about our upcoming meeting.

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When I landed I was a nervous wreck. Zero beauty sleep, sweaty, tired, and a hot mess in comfy flying clothes. I struggled while pushing/dragging my two suitcases as I walked out into the International Arrivals hall. The night before he had sweetly sent me a photo of the outfit he’d be wearing so we could find each other. I scanned the crowd and when I saw him I thought I might die from the butterflies in my tummy. We walked towards each other and it was all a blur to me. Max describes our first encounter with him pushing my suitcases to the side (I guess I had subconsciously been pushing both of them in front of me like a shield) and us awkwardly hugging. As we held hands and walked towards his car in the parking garage, the awkwardness melted away and we were talking and laughing as if our relationship had just continued from where it left off online.

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On that first day, Max had arranged for us to visit a beautiful rose garden, Rosengarten Zweibrücken. You probably couldn’t even tell it was our first day meeting from the photos we took that day, except that we held hands like teenagers in every photo. We walked around and it felt like we had been a couple for a long time. I remember sitting on a bench together in front of a small water fountain thinking just that. That everything felt just right and that I was already head over heels in love with this technically stranger just a few hours prior. We wrapped up a fairytale beginning with one of our favorite cuisines, Japanese food, particularly sushi! For those who know us personally… you know we can EAT – it was true love at a sushi buffet.

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The rest is history. We’ve spent the past few years flying back and forth to maintain a long distance relationship. We’ve enjoyed sharing our worlds with each other and exploring new places, going on adventures, and eating all around the world. Some of our favorite places away from home being Taiwan, Croatia, the Caribbean islands, and California. And that’s our abbreviated love story up until this point. Never in all my life did I imagine I would find someone that would make my future so bright and warm. Someone to complete my sentences, make me laugh at the silliest things, and share overly large meals with. I feel so lucky to have found “the one”, my one and only.

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In the words of Ed Sheeran, people fall in love in mysterious ways, maybe just the touch of a hand, but in this love story, maybe just 39 characters of a tweet from across the Atlantic Ocean.

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So if there ever comes a time when we feel like giving up, just remember how fate had to perfectly align for us to find each other and how our love has overcome every obstacle since. Everything in my heart says we were meant to be. Ich liebe dich für immer, mein Herz.

how they asked

True to both our personalities, his proposal was simple, sweet, and low-key. In the early morning hours of a lazy Saturday, Max asked me to marry him while presenting me the ring we had lovingly designed together. And I said YES, an answer I had known in my heart for a long, long time. After making calls to my loved ones overseas, we later went to Rosengarten Zweibrücken to take photos together, wanting to re-create our first photos together as a couple (Max even unintentionally wore an almost identical outfit!). And while we stood side-by-side posing for timed photos with my tripod he excitedly got down on one knee.

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Right there in front of a heart-shaped rose bush (unplanned!) I felt like the princess in the love story I had always dreamed about since I was a little girl and Max was every bit the Prince Charming I had been wishing and waiting for. Oh, and our happiest days always end with All-You-Can-Eat Sushi… this day was no different, just like the day we met.

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Walking through the gardens, I grew nostalgic thinking about all of our memories together leading up to this point: (some 2014 vs. 2017)

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Since we had talked about getting engaged for awhile (extra preparation due to American/German marriage logistics), Max and I were able to take the time to design a unique ring that had a lot of sentimental value to us. After browsing online for inspiration, we decided on a combination of different elements to create this beautiful halo solitaire ring with a floral petal setting. The floral petal setting was created to incorporate details from our first date/first day meeting at Rosengarten Zweibrücken and also where we would celebrate our engagement three years later. Thanks to Uli and his team at Willi Weber & Sohn for making our vision come to life!

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Special Thanks

Stephanie Wang
 | Photographer