Michael and Shea

Image 1 of Michael and Shea

How We Met

Michael and I met in September of 2016 when we were both cast in a production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. We played love interests, Olivia and Sebastian, who get married at the end of the play. I have to admit our performances actually may have suffered because we were both trying to hide our real-life crushes on each other.

Immediately after Twelfth Night, we were both in a production of The Winter’s Tale with the same Shakespeare company. This process lasted a couple months and we got to know each other better during rehearsals every day. Michael was sure to stand near and talk to me whenever he got the chance and I probably laughed a little too hard at his jokes that may not have been funny enough to warrant it.

Once we were in performances Michael really stepped up his flirting, and we’d message each other on days that we didn’t have a show. Michael waited to ask me out until after we finished the final performance of The Winter’s Tale. After we finished striking the set, we walked out to our cars together. I didn’t know what else to say, so I told Michael to “Have a nice life!” (he will never let me live that down) and he responded, “No!” then gathered his composure to say “No, Shea. Would you like to have dinner with me?” I said, “Yes, yes I would like that.”

I found out the next day that everyone in the cast had been waiting for this to finally happen. One of our castmates sent me a message saying “Ok now that the show is over can I just say how hard I ship you and Michael!! Please date him please please please.” There was apparently a group text devoted to talking about us.

We were both very nervous leading up to our first date (we REALLY liked each other), but it went beautifully! We had a lovely dinner and realized after four hours of talking that it was time to leave since the restaurant was trying to close for the evening. We went on several more fun dates over the next few weeks and texted every single day. One night Michael was driving me back to my house when I tried to begin the “define the relationship” conversation. Michael interrupted my opening statement to ask if I would like to be his girlfriend. I said yes and we shared our first kiss as he dropped me off. The rest is history!

how they asked

Michael and I knew very early on that they wanted to marry each other. We talked about our future lives together and of a timeline for getting engaged and having the wedding. So, needless to say, I’d known a proposal was coming for a while. In September 2017, Michael and I both moved from Dallas, TX, to New York to pursue acting. Michael apparently ordered my engagement ring before we moved. He picked it out totally by himself and carefully customized it to make it special for me. Because of the changes he’d made, the ring took longer to make and get to Michael than what he had planned. After a few months of being ready to propose, Michael finally had the ring in his possession, but not before he had to chase a UPS truck through the streets of Manhattan to get it.

Michael texted me that his friend Darrell had invited us to an industry mixer and asked if I wanted to go. I said ok and Michael began finalizing the plan. He told me the date and time of the event and said it would be at the Belvedere Castle in Central Park and that it was formal attire. On the day of, Michael picked me up and we began walking to the park. At this point, I was fairly certain that Michael was about to propose. I knew it was coming sometime soon anyway and had started overanalyzing several details about this industry mixer that didn’t quite add up. My suspicions were all but confirmed when Michael texted a description of what we were wearing to me instead of to the photographer he had secretly waiting for us. Amusingly, his improv training failed to pay off in the moment when he most needed it, and he fumblingly explained that he meant to let Darrell know so he could be on the lookout and give us our tickets to the event when we arrived. Sure… We got to Central Park and began walking towards the “event,” but Michael stopped me when we were in the Shakespeare Garden.

Image 2 of Michael and Shea

Image 3 of Michael and Shea

He told me that he loved me, said “You make me really happy. And really nervous,” then tried to get another couple sentences out before dropping to one knee and proposing. (He later gave me a letter he’d written with all the beautifully worded things he’d meant to say.) I yelled “I knew it! I knew it!” and immediately embraced him (he made sure to follow up to actually get a “yes”). The photographer was on hand to capture the moment and we spent the next hour walking through Central Park taking pictures. Then Michael took me to a beautiful Italian dinner in Chelsea to celebrate, and we spent the rest night calling family and friends to let them know the joyous news!

Image 4 of Michael and Shea

Image 8 of Michael and Shea

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Image 7 of Michael and Shea

Special Thanks

Vlad Leto
 | Photographer