Paruul and Steven

Image 1 of Paruul and Steven

How We Met

I met Steven in Seattle, on a business trip from New York. We were both on a dating app – Coffee Meets Bagel – and matched two days before I was leaving Seattle. We made plans to meet up for drinks the night before I left, because why not? And I remember thinking he was so cute that I canceled on plans I had already made that night. Our first date was incredible, it felt so easy to talk to him. We got drinks, played pool, listened to good music. I wanted to keep seeing him, but it was our first date and we lived on opposite sides of the country. I told him “Oh, I come to Seattle all the time,” which was a little bit of a lie and he told me he was planning to come to New York in 2 weeks. Because of that, we kept texting and eventually calling each other over the next few days. When he came to New York it was an awesome weekend. He was actually planning to leave the country in 2 months to take a Fulbright grant to teach abroad and was saying goodbye to his friends and family…and he told me that when we met in person that weekend in New York. On his last day in NY, we were considering whether to be in a full-on relationship – we had only met in person twice, and he was leaving the country in two months and would be gone for a year.

Image 2 of Paruul and Steven

Fast forward to 3 weeks later, on Halloween, he was celebrating in Vegas and I was celebrating in NYC. On Halloween night, while Facetiming in between festivities, we decided to fully commit to a relationship. For the last 2 months of the year, we made a total of 6 trips to see each other on opposite coasts before he left. I invited him to meet my family, and I met his family all in the span of 2 months. After he left the country, we were put through the trials of long distance. We went through 10 months of living in time zones that were 13 hours apart, trying to call each other over crappy WiFi signals, and working through missing someone we basically just started dating. It was mentally and emotionally one of the toughest stretches of time I’ve had. But we had a rock-solid trust in each other and a really deep belief in our relationship succeeding. That and using tons of apps – Skype, FaceTime, Duo, Tango, Couple, and more to try to make long distance communication better.

Image 3 of Paruul and Steven

When he came back I was so relieved. He was able to stay in the NY area for a few months looking for jobs, but after a few months, he ended up returning to Seattle working at Amazon. This time we were doing long distance again without a set date for when it would end, which really worried me. After a few more months, I considered moving to Seattle since it was a good time to make a move professionally but also personally. I ended up getting an interview at Amazon in Seattle which eventually turned into a full-time offer. In November of 2017, I moved to Seattle and we ended nearly 2 years of long distance.

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how they asked

Steven and I had talked about getting engaged sometime in 2018 but obviously didn’t know when, where or how it would happen. I travel for work often and I mentioned to him late last year (November 2017) that I may have to go to Paris for a team summit. I tried to convince him to join me for the second half of the trip since we had never been to Europe together. He said he couldn’t get out of work and that was that. What I didn’t know was the moment I told him about Paris, he started planning the proposal to happen there, several months ahead of time.

In December, Steven told me to buy a fancy red dress before the new year and keep it with me at all times in 2018 (on every work trip and every trip back home to Jersey) because “you never know” he kept saying. I don’t wear red often, almost never, but I happened to find one that I loved. So I started packing it with me everywhere I went the past several months – mostly because the dress was beautiful and I knew it was important to him. He hinted about something special happening in Hawaii in the spring so I thought he was just trying to throw me off with all these distractions.

A few weeks before my Paris trip one of my best friends, Mallika, asked if she could crash my trip because she had “extra airline miles and vacation days” she wanted to burn. We always do spontaneous things like taking trips or last-minute concerts so I didn’t think too much about it. In fact, it was going to be awesome exploring Paris with her. Before our trip, she told me she was looking into fun things for us to do in Paris including a photo shoot with the Eiffel Tower. I definitely thought it was an odd thing for us to do but she said it was a good deal and we could get some really nice photos. I packed some nice dresses for the shoot, including the infamous red dress which had now become a staple in my luggage.

Fast forward to Paris and the weekend before Valentine’s Day, Steven told me he was on a bros trip in Seattle and sent me some convincing pictures with his friend (who was also with him in Paris). The night before the photo shoot, both Mallika and Steven kept asking me if I was going to wear the red dress to the photoshoot that she had organized for Sunday morning which I thought was a little suspicious, but Mallika made it clear that Steven had not mentioned anything to her and she was really excited for it and had already paid for the shoot.

Sunday morning came and the photoshoot was at 8 am…first off it was way too cold, too wet, and too early, to be wearing a red dress for a photo shoot. I looked up the photographer…he mostly did engagement photoshoots and kept telling Mallika that it was super awkward to just have a gals’ photoshoot. Even with all these thoughts, I put on the red dress and went with her to the Trocadero which overlooks the Eiffel Tower.

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We met the photographer and he started to take pictures of us. A few minutes into the shoot, the photographer walked up to me and handed me a card addressed from Steven to me. I knew at that moment that he was there and it was happening. Hands shaking from cold and nervousness, I opened the card and inside were notes I had written to him a while ago about things we would do together, as a way to overcome our time doing long distance. One of the notes that I forgot I wrote was “Go to Paris and kiss under the iconic Eiffel Tower :),” which he included in the card.

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Image 7 of Paruul and Steven

As I read through the notes, I kept dropping the card out of sheer nervousness. At this point, Steven was already coming up the stairways behind me. I turned around and saw him walking towards me knowing that he was about to pop the big question I never saw him get emotional before so when I saw him getting choked up, I naturally choked up too. He got down on one knee and told me he didn’t want to chase me around the world anymore (me too!) After he proposed, his friend and Mallika came to hug us and celebrate while the photographer that Steven actually organized kept snapping pictures.

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After the photoshoot, Steven told me we were all going to a restaurant to celebrate so to keep the red dress on. When we walked in, I had to do a double take because the room was full of close friends from Seattle and New Jersey who had traveled all the way to the city of love to celebrate with us. I was beyond shocked and so grateful to have all these amazing people in my life. The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking and celebrating what will be the most important day of our lives. I knew Paris would be great but it turned out to be truly incredible, all thanks to Steven and our friends.

Image 9 of Paruul and Steven

Image 10 of Paruul and Steven

Special Thanks

Alex Schmecko
 | Photographer