Daniella and John

How We Met

It was late August 2013, and I was an eager sophomore already back at The University of Rhode Island for Resident Advisor Training for my new job as an “RA.” My parents helped move me into my new building, Burnside, and soon I was off to meet all my other co-workers. I remember it being late in the day when all the RA’s from campus were in the same common area before breaking off to meet everyone in their “building family” groups (the resident halls were grouped into “building families” – those who worked in the same building family had the same Resident Hall Director, would attend the same weekly meetings, and would be working more closely with those people than with the other RA’s).

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

Before meeting my group, I noticed a tall guy with a muscular build and a cool tattoo on his bicep. He was saying hello to someone else and had this great smile. I made a mental note of this cutie and walked over to my new building family. To my pleasant surprise, he joined me in the same room; over an ice-breaker game of Shoe ID, I met John. Over the next few days, John and I spent more and more time together; we’d sit next to each other during training sessions and he started inviting me back to his room after our long days to hang out and talk about our lives and watch tv (something I didn’t have in my room). He was very nice and a great conversationalist, but it wasn’t until our first day off that he really impressed me. We spent the day at the beach with some other RA’s, but by the end of the night, the sun had gotten to me and I wasn’t feeling well. John repeatedly asked me to come over, and after many requests, I finally agreed to let him quickly stop by my room. When I opened the door for him, he was standing there, smile and all, with a tool kit. He remembered I had mentioned needing to assemble a fan a few days before and was here to get the job done. It was the sweetest gesture anyone had given me (especially since it was about 90 degrees in my room). He had pretty much won me over at that point, but I would never admit that – after all, we had only just met!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

How He Asked

John just graduated with his Doctorate of Pharmacy at The University of Rhode Island, and as a special graduation gift, I surprised him with a trip to Italy. He had never been out of the country and was very excited for our newest adventure. Since I had booked a tour with the Contiki company, I thought everything was already planned, but little did I know that John had the greatest surprise for me. A couple months before our departure, he secretly met with my mom and sister to ask for my hand in marriage – he even made a special trip to the cemetery where my father is buried to ask for his permission as well, which was an extremely important gesture to my family and me. With their blessing, John’s excitement only grew. Meanwhile, I had completely given up hope on a proposal this summer after both John and my sister wholeheartedly denied my inquiries of engagement.

I gave up my short-lived dream on an Italian proposal and decided to solely focus on enjoying our tour. We explored Rome on our own (where I unknowingly foiled John’s original proposal plan on the Spanish steps because I was tired and grumpy) before meeting our group tour in the evening. We were on the bus to dinner when our tour manager told us about the Trevi Fountain (one of our stops later that night). She said if you throw one coin over your left shoulder, the legend says you’ll come back to Rome, but if you throw two coins over your shoulder, you’ll find the love of your life in Rome. Immediately, John perked up next to me and asked if I had four coins for us. I did, and he suddenly seemed more excited for dinner, but I figured he had gotten his second wind and was ready for our first night in Italy together. Dinner was great; we met new friends and enjoyed a delicious meal together before beginning a short night tour of the city.

John had made a new friend, Jonathan, and hung back in our crowd chatting away while I made friends with some girls at the front of the group. Once we got to the Trevi Fountain, John immediately found me and was very eager to throw two coins each into the fountain while Jonathan recorded it on video. I didn’t understand why John wanted our moment on video so badly – it was a bit out of character for him – but he hurriedly told me that his mother really wanted to see us toss our coins in. I thought that was strange since she never mentioned that to me, but no problem, we can definitely get this on video to his mom. Despite having the smallest purse in the world, I couldn’t seem to find four coins, so I handed one to John and kept one for myself. John looked at me like I was crazy and reminded me that we each needed two coins. I told him that I already loved him and since I couldn’t find the other two coins, one coin each was fine.

Daniella and John's Engagement in Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

Apparently, that was not fine and John insisted I find those coins – mind you, it is very crowded, there’s someone trying to videotape us, and we’re still searching for a spot near the edge to throw the coins in, so it was a bit overwhelming. Annoyed, I finally find enough coins so we can each throw two coins in and John snags a great spot in front of the fountain simultaneously. I’m excited to share this classic tradition with the love of my life and John counts down so we can throw our coins in together. I tossed both of mine in together before realizing John had planned to toss his coins in one at a time. I laughed because it had taken so much effort to coordinate that moment and I accidentally messed it up, but knew we would have a great time telling this story back home.

John tossed his second coin in and grabbed my hands. I remember thinking how handsome he was right then and how lucky I was to have this great man in my life. John looked me in the eye and told me that he knew he promised me that he would marry me someday, and he hoped that someday would be soon. (Here is the part where I start to realize what is happening). John got down on one knee, in front of thousands of people, and asked, “Daniella, will you marry me?” I was shocked, amazed, overjoyed, and ecstatic – to say the least. I nodded and somehow managed to say yes even though I felt completely speechless. Everything about our moment was stunningly perfect and overwhelmed with love. John slid the ring on my finger and turned to the crowd, raised his fist, and yelled, “She said ‘SI’!”

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