Stephanie and Jim

Image 1 of Stephanie and Jim

How We Met

Jim and I met during the Christmas season of 2014. I was still in college studying for finals at Saint Joseph’s University and happened to stop by our on-campus Starbucks for a mid-day hot chocolate. Jim happened to be in the area as well.

We started talking while waiting in the extra-long line. He eventually let me in front of him so I could go back to studying (the books and my stressful demeanor must have given it away- Finals week!!).

At checkout, he offered and paid for my drink, and asked for my number, despite not usually being so upfront. He questioned when my last final would be over, so he could reach out to me the night of my last final and not distract me from studying.

We had our first date soon after and many dates in Philadelphia have transpired since- with Christmas night walks in Philly looking at lights being some of our favorites spent. Little did I know, the best Christmas night in Philadelphia was on its way…

How They Asked

Christmas was always such a special time for my boyfriend, Jim, and me since we starting dating during the holiday season. Although I was bummed that my boyfriend was busy the FRIDAY before Christmas and wouldn’t be able to do anything Christmas-y with me, I was still excited I could spend time with my best friend. Philadelphia is just so magical during Christmas time and we were both happy to share in a nice dinner and festive night together.

My best friend, Emma, lives in the city, a few blocks away from where we had dinner scheduled- it’s a place called Talula’s Garden. Right across from the restaurant in Washington Square- a beautiful, intimate park that my boyfriend and I would always walk to throughout the past few years. A place spent people-watching, talking about life, our future plans, how many kids we wanted to have one day, our greatest ambitions; the setting of many pre and post dinners, the destination of summer night walks, “our spot.”

Just as we had approached the park, Emma had suggested we walkthrough since it might be quicker to get the restaurant on what happened to be the coldest night of the year.

Just before entering, I started sharing with Emma how much I loved this park since it meant so much to Jim and me. Trying to hide her own anxiousness, she just kept nodding her head and rambling on to distract me before suddenly going silent.

And, just like that, a few steps in past the brick gates of Washington Square Park, I started to notice these small, dainty candles lighting a pathway to my boyfriend who was pacing patiently back on forth on both his feet, standing at the end of the aisle.

I looked at Emma, she looked at me.

We talked about this our entire lives- the moment we would get engaged. As best friends who are obsessed with “love” do, we would share proposal stories back and forth via Instagram, watch random peoples’ wedding videos on the internet, find touching engagement stories and immediately tell each other about them… and then all of a sudden it was happening. It was finally happening- to me!

“This is all for you, girlfriend.”

She gave me a slight nudge forward, before walking away.

Image 2 of Stephanie and Jim

I slowly walked down the romantically lit path, crying and shaking, thinking it was a dream that I didn’t want to wake up from. It felt like the longest walk of my life. In the end, he had a bench decorated with festive Christmas decorations and a beautifully lit marquee sign that said: “Will You Marry Me?”

Image 3 of Stephanie and Jim

He got down on one knee- hands shaking from the bitter cold (and nervousness, I’m sure!) that night- and said some beautiful things that I cannot quite remember. He opened a jewelry box to my dream ring and… the rest is history.

Our parents, close family, and my other best friend were all hiding out watching our special night and starting screaming in celebration and running towards us after we had our moment.

It was truly that- the most special night of my life.