Colleen and Matthew
How We Met
To preface this story, just before I met Matt I told one of my friends that “I just want[ed] to meet a blonde haired, blue eyed, Abercrombie guy… Is that so hard to find?!”
We met when I was a senior in high school and Matt was in his fourth year at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. My friend’s boyfriend had just graduated from our high school the year before and was a freshman at MSOE. One Saturday night in October of 2009 some girlfriends and I were making plans for the evening and decided “Hey, why not go up to Milwaukee??” My friend’s boyfriend was on the wrestling team (Matt was, too, but I didn’t know that yet) and he said they were having a party at the wrestling house that night. That’s all he had to say- we immediately jumped in the car to make the 1.5 hour drive from Chicago to Milwaukee! We were so excited because we had never been to a real college party before. So much so that mid-drive we realized we hadn’t packed any spare clothes, had no idea where or if we were staying overnight, or when we were going to drive back home! We pulled up to the dingiest brown house with rotted siding, so we knew we were in the right spot..! We excitedly walked into the house and found the wrestling team, in the living room, wearing sweats, watching Avatar… We couldn’t help but laugh! We had driven all the way up to Wisconsin to find out the guys decided to not throw a party after all! We ended up hanging out at the house and I met Matt, who lived in the wrestling house. At first sight I knew he was my dream guy! Blonde hair, blue eyes, and yes… he worked at Hollister part time! (Girls, you know the models that stand at the front door with their shirts off…hello…!) We instantly clicked and we ended up going back to Milwaukee the next weekend for the wrestling team’s Halloween party! After that we texted daily and hung out every weekend we had a chance! Eventually at the end of the school year I went off to the University of Iowa and we spent the next four years dating long distance. I’d go up to Milwaukee, he’d come to Iowa, or we’d meet while we were both home for the weekend. Milwaukee always had a special place in our hearts. We spent almost every anniversary there, went to Summerfest every year, or took the Amtrak up for quick weekend trips. We almost always went to Milwaukee intentionally with no plans. Our ultimate favorite thing to do is to wander around the city and see where Milwaukee takes us. Within just a few months of my undergrad graduation (we’d been dating for a little over 5 years at this point) we moved in together in downtown Chicago. Living in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Chicago is amazing, but Milwaukee will always have a place in our hearts as our mini-Chicago and our home away from home. We both agree that Milwaukee feels more like home to us than Chicago! So, it was nothing out of the ordinary that Matt wanted to go back to Milwaukee for our seven year anniversary. Little did I know…
How He Asked
To be completely honest, I had an inkling Matt might propose soon. He had started acting strange and was giving me excuses about where he had been (“Babe, do you really need to go golfing with your clients today…? It’s raining..!”). So I’m not going to lie, I got my nails done before we went to Milwaukee just in case. In fact, I chipped my left ring finger nail that very morning! So I went back to the salon and had them fix it just one hour before we were supposed to get on the road! We checked in to our hotel and got ready for a nice anniversary dinner. Our plan was to walk to dinner (it was a nice October Saturday evening) and go out to a few bars afterwards. Before we walked out the door Matt told me he had an anniversary gift for me. Awkward… I only got him a card… and I forgot it at our apartment in Chicago! He made me a sweet video montage of our pictures throughout the years. (What I didn’t notice at the time was that he repeated a bunch of pictures of us at the Milwaukee Art Museum. This was subliminal messaging on his part…). We were on our way to dinner and Matt said he wanted to go over to the Art Museum first to take a couple pictures. I thought this was a little strange, but I went with it anyways. The Art Museum was flooded with people! It was prime wedding photo time- I think we saw 4 or 5 different wedding parties! The MAM is a hugely popular wedding photo spot. We pulled over to the side and were waiting for the walkway to clear so we could snap our photos unobstructed. There were several times the crowd cleared and I suggested we run over really quick and snap our photo, but Matt persisted that it wasn’t clear enough. I was leaning against him and could feel his heart beating out of his chest, and that’s when I knew something was definitely up! It seemed like time stopped. I got weak in the knees. Eventually we walked over to the walkway, dead center in front of the museum, and he stopped, turned to me, and just smiled. I think I nervously muttered, “Oh my gosh… What’s going on…?”Next thing I know he’s down on one knee! I immediately heard incessant shutter snapping and realized he hired a secret proposal photographer. I of course said yes and the surrounding crowd cheered for us. I turned around and saw both of our families who had emerged from their hiding places. I was in shock that he coordinated this elaborate plan! We spent the next 45 minutes taking the most gorgeous engagement photos and met up with our family for a celebratory dinner after!