How We Met
OV: So we skipped this part and went to the proposal and ring sections first. In lieu of writing a huge novel, I’ll just point out some highlights of how we met. It’s a really interesting story with many twists and turns. Hopefully, you find our proposal worthwhile and maybe we can share this story in more detail later on.
We met at work. We didn’t start dating until after we had already been there a year. At first, I thought she was sort of weird and goofy while she felt love at first sight. Fast forward a year and we played a game of charades where her team beat mine and we were both the leaders. That’s what attracted me to her. From there on I tried to just talk to her or see her. So creepily I started parking on the same garage floor as her hoping to run into her. I caught my break during an email exchange between us for work. I cracked some jokes and we started trading emails. I then tricked her into going to a comedy show with me. She didn’t know it was a date. It was super awkward. I didn’t give up though. I tricked her again into a 2nd date at a game works type place. It was awkward again as she wouldn’t let me pick her up or pay for anything. I finally cracked and told her I liked her via text. At this point, she was no longer interested in me. Somehow she agreed to a high school date of a movie and pizza even though she said: “Do I look like a movie and pizza type of girl?”
The movie and pizza went great and she even offered to pay for bowling after the date.
On our second date, we went to Nacional 27 which is a Latin restaurant in Chicago. The space is actually split in two. You walk in and it’s a mini restaurant called Tallboy Taco. In the back is the fancy Nacional 27. During dinner, we were discussing when the nightclub would begin and I said it’s going to happen now. At that moment the lights dimmed and I just winked at her. That was NOT planned. Just so happen to work out for me. hahaha, it was intuition and fate I guess.
how they asked
OV: So I’m a bit better at writing and telling stories so I’ll take the lead and I’ll have Nancy chime in during the story. During our 2 years of dating at the time of the proposal, Nancy had been giving me hints as to how she wanted the proposal to happen. She’s quite the planner so she wanted to make sure the proposal was memorable. It was almost like I had a to-do list for the proposal. As the list continued to grow I kept telling her “there is a proposal budget, the more items you add, the less expensive the ring will be!”
NV: I didn’t have a list! I just wanted it to be special. I was never asked in a special way to any school dances or to anything important in my life up to this point. I knew that this was the last time something like this was going to happen and I just wanted it to be special and memorable. He definitely made it special!
OV: So my list included a special location, a photographer, a videographer, friends, and family, we had to wear nice clothes for the pictures, the ring had to be just right, she needed to be surprised, and on and on.
NV: This is false. I just wanted to wear something nice and have it captured. He’s exaggerating.
OV: Alright so enough of the joking around here is the story. Nancy’s best friends all basically live out of town. We live in Evanston, Illinois and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She went to Iowa State and her close friends are college friends with the exception of one high school girlfriend who now lives in California. During our time of dating, Nancy would get sad because she never got to see her friends and I’ve been blessed to have all my best friends within a 5-mile radius of me. I knew that somehow I had to get her girlfriends in town. I started planning the engagement 3 months before the actual date. I did this so that I could reach out to all her girlfriends who lived out of town and could give them enough notice to try and make it, as well as book less expensive flights. I wish I could have flown all of them in on my dime but it just wasn’t in my budget. I didn’t have any of their information but I knew they all had social media for the most part. I was able to message all of them via Instagram. I sort of told them my plan and got an idea of what their schedule looked like so I could pick a day that worked best for everyone. Nancy truly has amazing friends. I had a girl come in from Minnesota, 2 girls came from Ohio, 2 lived in Chicago, and 1 came from London! Her best guy friend from Minnesota and best girlfriend from California could not make it but they sent me videos to show Nancy.
NV: I was completely blown away. I couldn’t believe that he was able to get all my friends to come in from out of town for this.
OV: They were all so amazing. We are truly blessed. So Nancy had a nightmare that I proposed at a friends house while watching football randomly and then paid no attention to her.
NV: In my dream he jumped over the couch, proposed, and went back to watching TV. It was awful.
OV: She also had a dream that I proposed at the Art Museum in the room full of Monet paintings. I tried my hardest to get into that museum. I contacted literally anyone and everyone. Phone calls, e-mails, Tweets, Instagram messages, I literally was a private detective. I even went to the museum and tried to talk to the head of security. They just were not having it. Additionally, I didn’t want to plan this surprise and have someone from their staff ruin it by not letting us in or something.
NV: I just thought it was such a beautiful room, it would have been special.
OV: I scrapped the Art Museum and I decided on the Spirit of Music Park in Grant Park in Chicago. Every summer they have dance lessons on the weekends followed up by live bands after. This was one of our first dates and where I professed my love to her hahaha.
NV: Ahahah yeah I love that park.
OV: So here is the plan full circle. I told her that I wanted to plan a surprise date for our 2 year anniversary. Our anniversary is during memorial day weekend so I said let’s do it a month before so that it’s not such a crazy weekend. I created a fake event and even made fake tickets to the event. I took her shopping and told her she needed to wear something nice and that I would pay for everything. I tried getting her into a DVF dress but she declined. It was a white dress and she said: “I’m not a bride!” So we kept shopping and any dress she would wear that wasn’t white I would say looked terrible hahaha. I finally got her into a white dress at Zara and I raved about it, so she caved.
NV: I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t want to wear white because I thought it was strange. I had no clue where we were going or why we had to get so dressed up. He even bought me heels and had my sister take me to get my nails done!
OV: So now the plan is for us to go to the park where we first danced and said I love you. I was able to get a photographer through a friend because photographers were very expensive. I had a gentleman who was the sweetest man take our photos. Willie Sykes III. I booked two rooms at the AC Hotel Chicago. 1 for her friends coming in from out of town and 1 for Nancy and I. Her friends were to be waiting in our room to surprise her. I then booked a table at Tallboy Taco. This is our spot. Every time we go to Chicago, we stop by Tallboy to get a drink or to eat some delicious tacos. Literally every time. It’s like our tradition to go there for a drink before we go out. I had our families wait for us at Tallboy for a 3rd surprise.
OV: On the big day I picked up her friend from Minnesota from the airport. I dropped her off at the hotel and gave her my extra room key. I let the staff at the hotel know what was going on. I also told her friends not to be on social media at all on Friday. I didn’t want her to see their location. I went back to the suburbs to pick up Nancy for our fake event date. It was cold and was raining the day prior. Nancy was just recuperating from a cold. I park the car and start walking towards the park. She sees a theater that says Peter Pan and gets excited.
NV: I thought our fake date was to go see a Peter Pan play. I was really excited! Also, my friends stopped talking to me for like 2 months. They didn’t want to slip up and reveal the surprise. It was a tough time.
OV: I just kept walking. By now it’s cold and there is nothing. She starts yelling at me for having her out in the cold.
NV: I kept telling him he was lost and that there was no event. I told her to ask the police officers in front of us for directions. He was also ruining my new shoes by having me walk on gravel in the park.
OV: I just keep thinking please keep following me. I get to our spot and I see Willie. I look at her and she’s frustrated and cold so I know I don’t have any time left to stall. I start with my speech and completely forget everything.
NV: When he gets nervous he starts speaking very low and sort of stutters. I was confused as to why this was happening. Then everything sort of starting coming together and it was very surreal. I wanted to cry but I didn’t know if he was actually proposing.
OV: I ditch my speech and drop to a knee and say will you marry me? She said yes a lot quicker than I thought!
NV: It was such a blur I can’t even tell you how it felt or what I remember from it. I’m so glad he got the photographer because we both blacked out. The only thing I remember is trying to take the ring I had on my ring finger and I was having trouble with it!
OV: After that, I told her that I wanted to enjoy the moment and not tell a bunch of our friends and family right away. I didn’t want anyone to slip up because her family wasn’t playing this out very well. They were new to the surprise engagement concept. When I started texting her friends to make sure they were at the hotel, she said: “Hey I thought no phones!” I lied and said it was my dad because we were about to open a new restaurant 2 days later.
NV: I couldn’t even look at the ring because I would just start crying. I didn’t really know what it looked like until we got to the hotel.
OV: I stalled and we went to the bathroom of a nearby hotel. I was texting her friends the whole time in the bathroom. Finally, I got the green light and we left. We got to the hotel and they were waiting in the dark.
NV: I saw someone move and thought it was the mouse or something. I said I think someone is in here! Then they turned the lights on and jumped out and said surprise! It was so surreal. I couldn’t believe they were all there. My friend Lauren from London was there! He even had champagne for us and he wrote all my friend’s hand written thank you cards. Each card was specific to that person too. It wasn’t a generic message.
OV: I was just so grateful that they paid for a flight to come in.
NV: When he told me that it was time to leave to go dinner I thought just us two were going to dinner so I asked: “when are we going to see them again?”
OV: Ahahah. Yeah and then I told her that they were coming with us! I got us an Uber SUV and went to the restaurant. When we arrived I made sure that Nancy was the first one to walk in. At the door were our parents and sisters waiting for us. Of course, more tears were flowing.
NV: Oh my goodness. I finally asked him “are there any more surprises?! I can’t handle it!”
OV: We ended staying there all night as this place turns into a South American nightclub with Latin music and all. It was a great time. Then Nancy got to hang out with her girlfriends the next day. I was a bit too hung over.
NV: Yes he had to leave brunch to get an IV from hangover IV cure type place.
OV: We get married next year on March 24th, 2018. I’m unsure how to end this story as we did it a little differently than normal. We wanted to make it first person conversational. We hope that you liked the concept and enjoyed our story.
NV: Thank you for taking the time to read our engagement story. We love your Instagram and website. We used the website for our wedding.
OV: Thanks again!
I brought a handkerchief for the tears, and shout wipes for her dress. Lol
Even if we don’t make it on your homepage. Check out some of our engagement photos from Puerto Vallarta Mexico where we will be getting married. Our photographers were amazing. All photos are on the wedding website via the Knot. @CarandMelPhoto on Instagram.