Samantha and Nick

Image 1 of Samantha and Nick

How We Met

Nick and I met when I was 14 years old (he was 16), we were set up on a “blind date” by our friends… at a hockey rink. My good friend Nicole was dating his good friend Jon at the time, and they just swore we should meet each-other. So naturally, at 14 my Dad did NOT love the idea of me leaving the house to go meet some boy. The “date” was planned probably 5 times before I finally convinced my Dad to let me go, and I remember freaking out right before we left about what I was going to wear. I didn’t want to look like I tried too much, but I knew it was going to be cold at the hockey rink, and I HATE being cold. I ended up walking out of the house wearing jeans, bear paw boots and my brothers oversized BC sweatshirt (still confused by that outfit choice, but moving on). My friend Nicole and I hopped in the car and my Mom dropped us off out front.

Image 2 of Samantha and Nick

We walk into the hockey rink and my heart is beating so fast and I remember thinking “Okay Sam just act cool don’t act 14, he’s older than you are and way cooler.” Once we got our seats in the stands, a few minutes later they boys rolled up. Nicole and Jon were excitingly waving at each other and Nick and I were awkwardly looking around the rink pretending not to make eye contact but secretly sizing each other up. (I hate to say it was fate but he was in sweatpants, work boots and an oversized sweatshirt, too.) The boys came up stood next to us and Nick and I probably exchanged 10 words the whole game- I was so nervous to even talk to him. At half-time, Nicole and I ran into the bathroom giggling so we could have some girl time to talk alone. I remember standing in the bathroom stall with her saying “oh my god he’s sooooo cute.”

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The game ended, we parted our separate ways, and I immediately went home and chatted him on AIM instant messenger (I had my first cell phone “for emergencies only” and had to pay per text, so chatting online was our saving grace). We end up talking all night long, I don’t think I slept a wink. We started talking every day, I would run home from school, jump on the computer and it would begin. After a week or two, Nick asked me out on our “first” date alone. We went to Dunkin Donuts- (Lol). There was a Dunkin Donuts right down the street from my house so we decided on meeting there, we sat for hours and talked and laughed and there was just this weird connection that even though we were kids, I felt like I could talk to him for hours and never run out of things to say. The kicker- when we were about to leave we decided Nick would swing by my house quickly and meet my little brother before heading home.

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We walk out to the parking lot, he unlocks his car, and I just stand there staring at him. He, at this point, is so confused and is like “What’s wrong? Didn’t you say you wanted to head over to your house.” I then reluctantly explained… “My Dad asked me not to get in your car because he doesn’t know if your a safe driver or not, so I’m going to walk back and I’ll meet you there.” Now if I was Nick I would have gotten in my car and drove as fast as I could away- but no, he politely nodded and got in the car. I started walking praying I didn’t just ruin this whole thing, and when I got to my house, sure enough, his car was out front. It wasn’t until I was about 16 years old that Nick asked me to officially be his girlfriend. May 20, 2009, we have been inseparable ever since he is my person. My senior year in college I left for a semester abroad in Florence, Italy and it quickly became my favorite place in the world. Nick and I had been dating for about 6 years at that point and he encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and go. So off I went, 4 months living in another country, away from him, away from my family and it was the absolute best decision I’ve ever made.

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how they asked

Fast forward 3 years, I am 3 years out of school and in the “real world” and we’ve never taken more than a 4 day vacation. We decide to go rogue and book a 10 day trip to Florence. We booked 10 months in advance and I was literally counting down the days like a kid on Christmas morning. So, naturally leading up to the trip everyone was asking me, “Oh my god do you think he’s going to propose” and my answer every time was no. Since Nick and I grew up together, unlike most couples, we never went through the phase of finding out about each other, we were in fact very much the same. We like the same things, have the same beliefs, even down to styles of homes, types of cars, breeds of dogs, type of wine we drink, everything is in sync.

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Because of that I can look at him and usually know just what he’s thinking or feeling, and I knew that there was NO way he could pull something like this off without giving it away. Or, so I thought… Anyway moving on, it’s the day before we leave and my mind is all over the place, everyone telling me that this could be the moment had me freaking out a bit, so I decided okay, let’s test this out. I decided to tell Nick that instead of taking 2 carry on bags like we originally had planned, we are not going to use his carry on bag, and instead check a big bag. (I had way more stuff than I thought and I don’t even know how I thought I’d fit everything into a carry-on bag anyway!!) Then I told him we would just use my carry on, the large checked bag and my backpack, leaving him with NO bags, and in turn, no where to hide a ring.

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His response, “Okay that’s fine whatever is easiest for you.” At that point I knew- there is no way humanly possible a proposal is happening on this trip, and I wiped it from my mind completely. We get to Florence on a Friday, and that Saturday is Nick’s birthday- we spent the day exploring the city going to all my favorite places and it was truly magical. March in Florence is kind of hit or miss when it comes to the weather, so I was checking the weather app like a crazy person every hour to see if anything was changing. Overall it looked like Tuesday would be the nicest day so we decided to make that our day to spend outside the most. There is this gorgeous square called the Piazzale Michelangelo located in the center of the city, and after you climb what feels like a thousand steps to reach the top there is the most breathtaking views of the city of Florence you’ll ever see.

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While studying here this quickly became my favorite place to be. I would go up there with my best friend who I was traveling with Beth, and we would sit there for hours, drink wine on the steps, and just look at the view. So- Tuesday came and I was so excited we planned to go up there for the whole day, drink wine and have a little picnic and then eat dinner that night at the restaurant up on the hill that overlooks the same gorgeous view. We arrive at the Piazzale Michelangelo around 3, enjoyed a bottle of wine and some lunch, but, unfortunately, my weather app failed me (again) and although it was a gorgeous day the wind was so strong that I was getting cold. We decided to go into the restaurant we had a reservation at that night but hang out and escape the wind. We sat in their lounge which had big white couches with little fireplaces to warm you up and the view was just as incredible.

After about an hour there Nick was telling me about this little church his co-worker had told him about that had even better views than where we were and suggested we go try to find it. He had told me about this church earlier in the trip and I was hesitant about it, I was like “Nick I lived here, how would I not know about this place?” But I was just as curious so we decided to take a walk and explore- we found yet another set of stairs that we climbed up and sure enough there it was a gorgeous white church with an even BETTER view than the Piazzale Michelangelo. I couldn’t believe it. We sat up there for a while taking photos and looking at the view, and before we were about the head back down, my goal was (as it is for every girl) to get a good picture of the two of us.

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Now- getting someone to take a good photo of you in Italy is tough, you don’t know who speaks English or not and you need to be sure it comes out perfect! We walk over to the stairs and Nick suggests we take a selfie, which is odd because I’m always the one who takes the selfies (he can never get a good angle). Just as he goes to do that my black floppy hat flies off my head and into the locked gardens below us! It was like a scene from a movie! I loved that hat and I had bought in Florence when I studied here. I was devastated, and looked at Nick and said “Just leave it- if we try to go down there we could set off an alarm!” But nope- there we went down all of the stairs, hopped the fence, ran into the garden, past tombstones, and came back with my hat in his hand. The whole time I’m thinking, oh my god if he gets caught what if they put us in an Italian jail. (Seriously- the Italian Polizia is no joke!) As soon as he gets back up to the top, we go to pose for an actual selfie and this time he stops, turns to me and I immediately knew- oh my god, this is it. He gets down on one knee and I just couldn’t stop smiling. Ear to ear- then through the smile came the tears, I truly felt like I was dreaming. He asked me to marry him!!! Through my tears and my massive grin, I said yes, (duh!!!!).

I was in the most magical place in the world with the love of my life and this is happening, to ME? After what seemed like a lifetime of crying and hugging, I saw the ring, and after that, I can’t explain the feeling. It was seriously the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen and the tears kept coming. AND if that wasn’t enough he mumbles, “And we have someone here who captured the moment” and out comes a woman with a camera that he introduced to me as Emma. I was blown away. I had so many questions; How did he do it? Where was the ring? How did he get the photographer, he doesn’t even speak Italian!!!! After taking a few photos he told me he had an engagement shoot scheduled for the next morning around the city of Florence in all my favorite spots (cue more tears). We then walked down the stairs, back to the restaurant we were at a few hours before as boyfriend and girlfriend, now as an engaged couple.

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After an amazing spread of Italian cheeses and prosecco, we were seated for dinner, again overlooking the entire city and I could just not contain myself! We enjoyed dinner laughing and talking about all the things he did PERFECTLY to pull this off, I feel like my jaw was on the floor the entire time. Then I ask the million dollar question, where did you get the ring? He tells me he spent days telling me he was traveling for work meetings and driving from Boston to New York to go to all my “favorite” jewelry stores I followed on Instagram and he was just not impressed. He was like, “None of them shined as bright or were as special as you.” When I was younger I used to look up engagement rings dreaming about what ring I would have on my finger one day and I found this designer, Vanessa Nicole who creates custom engagement rings out of CA.

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I must have told Nick about her when I was 18, and sure enough, he remembered, he and tells me my ring is custom made by Vanessa Nicole, and he picked out every stone and actually designed the mold of the ring especially for me. (MORE tears… It’s becoming a theme here). We went back to our room and called our family and friends to share the news and the amount of love and support we received was truly amazing. That next morning we woke up and had our photo shoot around the city, and then spent the next day celebrating in Venice complete with a gondola ride, sunshine and the best food you could ever ask for! Everything was picture perfect and I truly cannot believe this is a chapter in my book. I feel so loved, so blessed and so thankful and most of all I can’t wait to marry the man of my dreams!!!

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Special Thanks