Susan and Matt

How We Met

Image 1 of Susan and Matt

“It was a moment, a fragment really. But it was like, in that moment, we were supposed to be together.”

It was all by pure chance, absolute serendipity, when ten years ago our friends met each other randomly on an unplanned night out in Akron, OH. Each of them talked about their friends, and the conversation soon became about how great Matt and Susan would be together and that they should meet. After that night, our friends began telling us that we had to meet each other. My band, Rivers Edge, was opening up for Theory of a Deadman in Struthers, OH the next day and Susan agreed to go to the show with her friend to meet me.

March 15, 2005

From what my friend had told me about Susan, I was really looking forward to meeting her, as she and I both seemed to share a passion for music. I can clearly remember the second we first met. My band had just finished our set, and I was making my way through the crowd as Theory of a Deadman took the stage and began playing “Nothing Could Come Between Us”. As our eyes met, it was at that moment, I remember feeling like my life had forever changed. We connected instantly. Conversation was easy and no matter what we did or where we went, we simply enjoyed being together. It was clear that we clicked in a way that we had never before with anyone else.

Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t right, and our lives seemed to go in different directions and with other people. However, we never forgot about each other and how we felt when we were together for that brief time. I remember her telling me that our situation was like the movie, “Serendipity”, and that if I watched that movie, that I would understand. She was right. Our meeting was purely orchestrated by a serendipitous series of chance happenings and that the reason that we did not work out was because it was not meant to be. She said that if it was meant to be, it would have happened by now. As the years slowly passed, the brief time that we had spent together seemed to become more of a distant memory and less of a ray of hope in a lonely life.

October 3, 2015

Our lives were both in a time of transition, where we both tried to go our own separate ways, yet always knew that we should have been together the whole time. We decided to meet up one night and have a drink in Youngstown. As it always was, the conversation was easy and we had a great time just enjoying each others’ company. It was clear to the both of us that what we had between each other had never truly gone away. We both felt in our hearts that the time had to be now to do what we should have done ten years ago. As I held her in my arms on a quiet downtown sidewalk, we kissed again for the first time. It was at that moment, it was so clear that we always belonged together.

October 31, 2015

We shared a fun and romantic month together. Carving pumpkins, going to haunted houses and watching scary movies on the couch. More than anything, we were just enjoying our second chance of being together again, especially during one of our favorite times of the year. I knew that I was never going to let this girl go again, and after a fun Halloween night, I asked Susan to be my girlfriend.

how they asked

Image 2 of Susan and Matt

I can honestly say that I’ve always had only one way that I wanted to propose to Susan, as it’s the most fitting idea, given the history of our relationship. Year’s ago, Susan had said that our situation was like the movie, “Serendipity”, where two strangers in New York City meet purely out of a twist of fate, and although spending only a brief time together, they spend years apart still thinking of each other.

December 18th, 2015

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I planned a special weekend to New York City, where we would be staying at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria and I had rented out the iconic Wollman Ice Rink after hours, where the proposal would take place at center ice. To pull all of this off, I had to throw her off a bit. I told her that we would be going to Chicago for a business related trip. A week prior to our trip, I had place a present under the tree with a large pink bow on it and a tag that read “Do NOT open until December 18th” along with the quote “When love feels like Magic, it’s called Destiny. When Destiny has a sense of Humor, it’s called Serendipity.”

I have to admit, that it was quite enjoyable watching her try to figure out just what was in that package under the tree. As we were in the car, on the way to our destination, I asked her to open the present. Inside was an “I <3 NY” shirt, and a bag of Sour Patch Kids (her favorite candy). Completely at a loss for words, I explained to her that there never was a Chicago trip, and that the real trip was a weekend in New York City. She quickly asked where we were staying, and I directed her to open the glovebox, which contained an enveloped labeled “Destination”. Our destination was The Towers of the Waldorf Astoria. She couldn’t believe that I had planned this trip without her finding out and that we were going to be seeing the city for the first time together. We spent our first day in the big city together and visited the 9/11 Memorial, something that was definitely on our list of things to see in the city.

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December 19th, 2015

The next day, Susan awoke to another envelope that was marked “Relaxation”. Inside was information for her spa day that I had booked at the Guerlain Spa in the Waldorf. While she was enjoying her time at the spa, I was collecting my thoughts and putting words to paper, trying to find the exact words that I would say to her later that night as I proposed. We visited Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas Tree and had a light lunch at Rockefeller Cafe. We shopped at Bloomingdale’s and had a memorable dinner at Serendipity 3. I told her that I wanted to walk through Central Park on the way back to our hotel. As we walked through the park, Wollman Rink caught her eye. We entered the rink, and unbeknownst to her, I had arranged to have our own hockey skates delivered to the rink. My contact at the rink handed us our own hockey skates, and she was totally surprised that I had set this up without her knowing. We took to the ice and skated for two hours with the public. At the end of the session, people began to clear out of the rink. We stuck around, just admiring the New York skyline as the ice was resurfaced. What she didn’t know, was that I had arranged to have the ice privately after hours. As our music came on, I led her onto the ice and we began to skate, just the two of us. As “Just Like Heaven” by Katie Melua came on, I skated over and to my rink contact and he handed me a special item that I had for that evening. In the movie “Serendipity”, a book titled “Love in the Time of Cholera” was an important element in reunited the main characters years later. I led Susan out to center ice, where I began sharing with her the words that I had penned earlier that day. As I took to one knee, I opened the cover on the book which revealed a quote “It was a moment, a fragment really. But it was like, in that moment, we were supposed to be together”, along with the date March 15th, 2015…the date that we first met. As I turned the first page, another quote “When love feels like Magic, its called Destiny. When Destiny has a sense of Humor, it’s called Serendipity”. Below that quote, “Will You Marry Me?” and the round cut solitaire engagement ring was placed in a space in the book that I had hollowed out. I asked her to marry me, and as she said “yes”, we both teared up and and held each other with the New York skyline in the background.

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We were both so excited in that moment, that she didn’t realize another surprise that I had in the book. At the bottom, I had “And They Lived Happily Ever After” with our wedding date and venue below it. Not only had I planned a special New York proposal for her, but I had also began to plan our wedding day. We continued to skate to our music, all the while having our big night captured by a photographer and videographer that I had hired. The remainder of our time at Wollman Rink and Central Park was completely magical, and we couldn’t stop smiling. At the end of the evening, we walked back to the Waldorf reminiscing about the experience we just had. I had arranged for a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne to be ready on ice for us on our return to the room. We spent the next few hours drinking Champagne in bed while messaging our friends and family to tell them the big news.

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Alex Kaplan Photography
 | Photography / Videography