Molly and Jake

How We Met

MEETING Jake and I met in middle school. Or at least, we knew each other because we had the same group of friends. Actually, saying that we “knew each other” might even be a little strong, since Jake says he couldn’t tell the difference between Hannah and I until high school. Hannah is my identical twin sister, and we were both rocking that sought after braces-and-glasses look which was so popular among middle schoolers. So I suppose his confusion was understandable. Although I was still able to tell the difference between Jake and his triplet brothers. But they are fraternal so I suppose that makes sense as well.

Molly and Jake's Engagement in Bowers Harbor Vineyard, Traverse City, MI

And yes, you read that correctly: Jake is a triplet. Yes, a twin is marrying a triplet. Get your reactions out now, we know it’s crazy. Actually, now that we’re at this point, let me answer a few questions that may be running through your head: 1. No, being multiples had nothing to do with our decision to start dating 2. Yes, perhaps we will have sextuplets! Although I think it’s pretty unlikely. As I understand it, reproduction isn’t based on multiplication 3. No, Hannah has never dated Matt or Chris 4. So no, we will not be having a double/triple wedding DATING Now, where were we? Right, so Jake and I met (kind of) in middle school. We became actual friends our freshman year of high school when we had gym class together. At the beginning of gym, we had to line up alphabetically for attendance, so as a Zimmermann, I was at the very end of the line. After our teacher got past “Smith” in roll call, Jake would often come to the end of the line to talk with some of his friends from the basketball and football team who were next to me alphabetically, and I’d join in on the conversation.

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So basically I forced him to be friends with me. I could tell that Jake was starting to like me when he would consistently run with me during our class warm ups. To most people this might not seem notable, but let me give you some background: Jake was a three sport athlete and in great shape. I was coordinated enough to play volleyball, but not much of an athlete outside of that. Plus, I hated running. So the fact that he would run (well, I would run, he would jog) with me every day was a good sign. I figured out for sure that he liked me after his family left for Florida on spring break. While he was gone, he sent me a letter along with salt water taffy and shark teeth he’d found on the beach. Jake putting in the effort to send me something while he was gone was so sweet, and I thought definitely a good sign. Plus, I’m pretty sure shark teeth are a universal sign of affection. The summer after our freshman year of high school, the boys (Jake, Matt, and Chris) invited a group of us up to their family cottage. During the weekend, everyone we were with went fishing but conveniently left before I was aware, so Jake suggested we go on a walk instead. We walked through the neighborhoods chatting and ended up at the playground. After we sat there talking for a while, Jake asked me to be his girlfriend. June 26th, 2009 we started dating. Jake and I continued to date throughout high school and into college.

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We ended up attending the same college, Michigan State University, where Jake majored in finance and I majored in chemical engineering. We had a bit of long distance when I co-oped in Texas for a semester and then studied abroad in France the following summer, but typically we were lucky enough to be at least in driving distance most of our relationship.

how they asked

In recent years Jake and I had started going to Traverse City for getaways or anniversary weekends. For our seventh anniversary this past summer we decided to go to Traverse City again. A few days before we left, Jake mentioned that he’d also booked a winery tour for us to go on before our check-in at the Grand Traverse Resort. I was very excited; I’d been wanting to visit a Michigan winery for a while. I took the day off Friday, June 24th so that we could have a long weekend together. Jake picked me up that morning, and after stopping at McDonald’s and Coffee Chaos, we headed up north.

It was a beautiful, sunny summer day. When we arrived at Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Jake had us wait until exactly our appointment time before going inside, which I thought was a little odd but I didn’t really dwell on it. We met our tour guide inside and she poured us each a glass of chardonnay before leading us back outside to begin the tour. She took us through each part of the vineyard, explaining its history and the science of the grapes. Finally, we got to the last section of the vineyard, which our guide explained was called the “Erica Vineyard”. The owner had proposed to the woman he’d been in love with at that spot, and planted vines there soon after, dedicating the vineyard to her. Our guide left us at a table that had been set up in the vineyard with wine, cheese, and charcuterie. It was great. I was so content sitting there with Jake in the sunshine, snacking and enjoying the day.

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Except it was really hot out. And sitting in the direct sunlight was getting kind of uncomfortable so I asked Jake if he could scoot his chair over so I could move mine into the shade of the vines. He kindly obliged, despite the fact that it meant he moved into the full sunshine and, I later discovered, that this would kind of mess up the proposal photos.

Molly's Proposal in Bowers Harbor Vineyard, Traverse City, MI

As I sat there cheerfully snacking and sipping on wine, I told Jake how happy I was. He laughed and nodded, but didn’t say anything. I noticed that he was a little quiet, but didn’t think anything of it. Of the two of us, I’m definitely the louder one, so there being silence when I have the inability to talk (because I’m stuffing food in my mouth) didn’t seem too crazy of an occurrence. A few minutes later he looked at me and said, “You know, this isn’t the only reason we’re here.” As I tried to understand what he meant (“Here”? Like Traverse City? Yeah I know we’re here for our anniversary weekend too. Or is he talking about the vineyard? Is there another tour? Oh! Is there more food?) he pushed back his chair and got down on one knee while pulling something out of his pocket. I was so surprised.

I honestly can’t really remember the details of what happened from there, I was just trying to get my brain to catch up and figure out what was going on. (Jake did tell me later that the first thing I said when I saw what he was doing was “what is happening?”). I vaguely remember Jake saying really sweet things about how our seven years together have been the best of his life, and how he can’t wait to spend the rest of his life with me. But all I really know is that I felt this immediate, overwhelming love and joy that was basically bursting out of me. So this resulted in a cycle of me jumping on Jake and hugging him, crying, and laughing. For like a good five minutes straight. Some of the photos look a little confusing because I’m reacting to the proposal but already wearing the ring, and that’s because I’m still in the first five minutes of hug-laugh-crying.

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During the hugging and jumping, I saw someone taking photos of us, which I realized was a hidden photographer Jake had hired (and whose proposal shots I’d kind of messed up by moving my chair). He came and spoke with us and told us that I’d had the best reaction he’d ever photographed, which I thought was so funny. How could someone not react the way I had? We got some more photos in the vineyard before we headed into Traverse City, calling our friends and family and telling them the news. Everyone was so excited; it was just the best feeling in the world, sharing our happiness and good news with the people we cared about.

We spent the rest of the day in Traverse City, and then went to the Grand Traverse Resort for our anniversary dinner at Aerie and our weekend stay. The next day we got up and ready to head back home. Jake’s family was at their cottage for the weekend, so he suggested we stop in to see everyone on our way home and show them the ring. When we arrived I was kind of surprised that Jake’s sisters and mom weren’t outside waiting to for us. I knew they were so excited to see us after the engagement, but again I just brushed it aside (man, I really need to start picking up on these clues). I walked upstairs and saw decorations set up before rounding the corner and finding a huge group of people hiding in the kitchen. They all jumped up and shouted “surprise!” as Jake joined me, and I started laughing and crying (again). Jake’s family, my family, and a few of our friends had gathered for an engagement party that he had planned. I KNOW. He’s amazing.

I hugged my parents and my sisters (one of which had come in from Chicago for this surprise party) and showed them the ring. Once I’d gotten around to everyone and hugged them, we watched a slideshow of Jake and I over the years that Matt had created, and then had a champagne toast with everyone.

The party was AMAZING. The decorations were incredible: there were hats, pins, sunglasses, and even temporary tattoos with pictures of Jake and I on them. We played a bunch of fun games, we went out on the boat with a giant banner displayed, and best of all, we were able spend the whole time with our friends and family, celebrating. It was fantastic. We feel so lucky to be spending the rest of our lives together, and to have such a wonderful group of people who love us and want to celebrate with us. Thank you for reading our story!

Special Thanks

Two Twisted Trees
Bowers Harbor Vineyards
Proposal Venue