How We Met
As all high school sweetheart cliché stories begin, Joe was on the varsity football team and I was on the sidelines with pom-poms. It was just before homecoming sophomore year when all us dancers were instructed to find football jerseys to perform in at the pep rally. Joe and I were in the same AP English class that year, and I noticed he was one of the few people in our grade who was on varsity, so I shyly asked a mutual friend to see if he could get his jersey for me.
That was the beginning of our lifelong friendship, one that turned into a romantic relationship towards the end of high school. By the end of our senior year, Joe gathered the courage to ask me out! Our first date was to the spring high school musical, Happy Days, to watch our friends perform, and soon after that he asked me to prom. Together ever since, we attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison together and afterwards moved to Cleveland, Ohio!
how they asked
Fast-forward to 5 years later, and it is Joe’s first off-season in the NFL. We had big plans to travel to Europe for a few weeks in March. While I was hopeful before the trip that he would propose, I quickly convinced myself otherwise because I didn’t think he would want to travel abroad with a ring. Also, while we were traveling he let me look through all our bags and carry-ons without acting nervous or suspicious about it! And on top of all that, the day before he actually proposed there was a moment that happened that fully convinced me that a proposal wasn’t going to happen on this trip. It was a week into our European adventure and we found ourselves in Paris.
One of the top-rated activities to do in Paris on TripAdvisor was to take a dinner river cruise down the Seine. As the sun was setting, we cruised past the Eiffel Tower and other Parisian monuments like the Notre Dame, with champagne in our hands and twinkling lights across the skyline. The ship’s crew had been playing a love song playlist during the cruise and as we were passing the Eiffel Tower, Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You started to play.
Just as the big crescendo was happening in the song, the lights dimmed and the man a few tables down from us got down on his knee and proposed to his girlfriend! Joe seemed very disappointed after that and said he missed a good opportunity and felt bad, and to be honest I was a little too, because I thought it would be the most romantic setting we would ever be in. Little did I know he was scheming the entire time! The very next morning, we left the hotel extra early to snap pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower while there were no tourists, something we had been planning all along. I even thought that I came up with this plan. It is one of our little traditions for when we are on vacation to go to the popular spots at off peak hours, to capture the beautiful sites without having to deal with flocks of tourists. We left our hotel around 6:50 am and walked from our hotel to the Trocadéro, the Marble platform overlooking the Eiffel Tower.
At this time I was still very tired and a little out of it, which Joe used to his advantage. As we walked up to the steps, Joe turned to grab what I thought would be the camera but instead he reached into his pocket and said, “I didn’t just bring you down here to take pictures…” He gets down on one knee and my emotions got so caught up in the moment I don’t even exactly the words he said (he says he doesn’t either.) But I do remember the question he asked, and of course I said YES!
I was so happy he asked that I forgot a ring was even part of the whole proposal equation! So when he put it on my finger I couldn’t stop staring! He custom designed it himself and it is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. And this was only the first surprise! After a few moments he turned me around and pointed out two photographers giggling in a fountain. I knew who they were immediately- Amy and Jordan, amazing wedding photographers whose blog that I frequently obsess over! They are also high school sweethearts, and are even cooler people in person than on their blog if that is even possible!
They all told me how Joe’s been secretly planning this proposal for the past eight months, which truly blew me away. It took me a few hours for the shock to wear off and realize this wasn’t just a dream. Later that morning Joe took me on an impromptu shopping trip on the Champs-Elysées to find outfits for our engagement shoot that was happening the next day! We spent that next magical day exploring Paris as an engaged couple, all while taking engagement pictures with Amy and Jordan throughout the beautiful city. They say Paris is the city of love, and now it will always be that and so much more for the two of us.