Nicole and Stephen

Image 1 of Nicole and Stephen

How We Met

Stephen and I met on a weekend evening in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I was working at my old college job as a hostess/server for the time being and Stephen and his friends were out for [more] drinks after a long sunny day at the beach. Slightly sun-burnt and mildly intoxicated, they came in and I greeted them with a smile and showed them to our sports bar area with TVs.

Once he and his friends had finished eating, they exited to find their next adventure at a string of bars nearby. As he left, we exchanged smiles and I sadly thought that was the last time I’d see him. About 1.5 hours later, in walks Stephen to talk to me at the host stand. He introduced himself, and explained he wanted to sneak off from the group if for a moment to ask me for my number and to plan a coffee date.

I smiled and politely told him that I don’t drink coffee, but that I wouldn’t mind a real drink seeing as how he clearly did too. :) I gave him my number and we planned a date later that next month (Summer was busy!) We went out to a local bar on a Sunday night, and our first date turned out to be about 3 hours just talking which came so naturally. I still remember it being the best first date, which is good seeing as how it was my last first date I’d have.

Image 2 of Nicole and Stephen

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how they asked

The holidays are always a time that we look forward to, however, logistics are not easy with our families spread out. In 2016, we decided to spend a holiday in Chicago for Christmas with no plans to go anywhere but to cozy in. (The city usually clears out which is amazing!) We slept in, went to our favorite breakfast spot, and he treated me to a play later that day called ‘Mr. and Mrs. Pennyworth’. Historically, Stephen has taken me to several plays, shows, concerts, and entertainment as one of my favorite past times. “Stephen, you did SO good!” was said after the show, it was easily one of my favorite stage plays revolving adventure, sorrow, effects and, of course, romance.

After the show, we had plans to try ice skating downtown in Millennium Park. Much to our surprise, the wait was around two hours which made that plan extinct. Downtown with no other plans (or so I thought), Stephen suggested that we walk around Pritzker Pavillion, an outdoor arena where orchestras, concerts, and movies are normally played. I was cold and countered with an idea to go home to our bulldog. Stephen improvised and quickly suggested we look at Lurie Garden nearby to see if there were strung lights, and I obliged noting that Stephen wanted to stay downtown a tad longer. As we rounded the corner of the garden with a view of the city skyline nearby, Stephen took a knee with a ring in hand and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes!” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Image 6 of Nicole and Stephen

Image 7 of Nicole and Stephen