Michelle and EJ

How We Met

EJ and I met like most modern couples nowadays, on an app! We hit it off right away, messaging each other daily until I finally couldn’t take it anymore and said, “okay so when are you taking me out?!” Our first date was Veteran’s day 2015, 11/11. We were supposed to go ice skating, but he got stuck reffing a charity roller hockey tournament the two days before our date and couldn’t fathom being on skates for another second, so we decided on coffee and lunch instead (this becomes very important!). Considering we met online, you always run the risk of your date not being who they said they were or looking like their picture, and in EJs case, he did not disclose the no-shave-November mustache contest that he was participating in at his firehouse. When he walked out of his apartment, I was expecting the clean-shaven stud I had seen in the photos on his profile and had eagerly screenshot and sent to all my friends. What I was met with was a man with a long hockey flow and a heinous mustache, something I tease him about to this day. Before we parted ways, I had a feeling this would become something special.

How They Asked

Fast forward four LONG years! Remember when I said we were supposed to go ice skating for our first date but never did? Well, four years later we STILL hadn’t gone! I had been begging him to go, and it became a running joke that someday we would, probably when we’re old and gray. EJ is on the FDNY hockey team and skates multiple times a week, so it’s understandable he might not want to spend any more time on the ice.

We were visiting his family in Rochester, NY for the holidays and he had recently bought ice skates for his 20-month-old nephew who is OBSESSED with hockey, so when he said we were finally going skating with the family I was elated! When we got to the rink, it didn’t seem to register that we were the only people on the ice. I just assumed nobody else was up and ready for an 8 am ice slot.

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As we skated around, I offered my phone to his very pregnant sister so she could photograph her son skating around from the bench, she was so happy I did that, which makes much more sense in hindsight. After a few laps, I notice his parents and sister slowly making their way to center ice, again none of this registers as out of the ordinary.

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None of them had skates on, and the ice was still empty except for us. I caught my toe pick and almost went down, and as we burst out laughing, I notice his mom caught the whole thing on video, something I assumed she was doing just to capture footage of her grandson scooting around. Before I knew it, EJ grabbed my hands and pulled me to center ice.

He told me how patient I had been, waiting four long years to finally come skating and figured it was as good a place as any to ask me to spend forever with him. I could not believe it was finally happening! Part of me still feels like it was all a dream. He got down on one knee and pulled out the most GORGEOUS ring I have ever seen. His family and the owners of the ice rink started cheering as I somehow managed to squeak out an “of course!” Then he pointed to the photographer he had hiding in the mezzanine capturing the whole thing!

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It wasn’t until his mom came over and showed me that my mom and grandma were on FaceTime and saw the whole thing that I started to cry. Now it all makes sense why she was recording! It was so special to me that EJ thought to include my mom and grandma back home in NYC! I lost my father in 2018 and knowing he wouldn’t be there for my engagement and the eventual wedding was something I had been thinking a lot about, but when we got back to EJ’s parents’ house and sat down for breakfast, there was a dime on the table right at my place. I’ve heard finding dimes are signs that loved ones who have passed are with you, and I truly feel my father was with me for this special moment, and I know he is thrilled I am finally marrying my soulmate.

Special Thanks

John Spaulding
Photographer