Marissa and Evan

How We Met

At 18 years old, all we were thinking about was how great college was going to be. We were so excited to go to Montclair State University’s College of the Arts freshman orientation to explore the campus, learn about the music program, and start our journey to become music educators. We had no idea how great this experience would really be.

It was our mutual love for music and our passions for working with kids and inspiring future generations to succeed and do good for the world that brought the two of us to Montclair State University. We expected to make friends, advance our musicianship, and graduate (with honors, of course) with a degree in music. Neither of us expected to find the one with whom we would spend the rest of our lives.

The first year of college started and we both remembered the faces we met that day at freshman orientation. We each knew there was something there, but neither of us completely understood what it was. We became friends that very first week of school. Over the course of time, we grew closer and closer. We spent time learning about each other, hanging out at Cafe Diem, and doing countless hours of homework together. Soon enough, we were best friends.

Two months had flown right by. It was now November 1st, 2010. I was feeling extremely sick. I had a screaming migraine and an upset stomach. Not to mention, I was exhausted and completely stressed out from the overwhelming amount of work I had to get done. Despite all of this, I went to class because Evan was there. After secondary voice, I collapsed. It was sudden and scary, but luckily, I wasn’t alone. Evan was there to break my fall, call an ambulance, and skip class to take me to the hospital.

Four hours had passed. I was released from the hospital and we made it back to MSU. Neither of us really knew what to say, but we were both coming to terms with how we felt. It was right then and there when we each knew this was real. It was right then and there when we shared our first kiss.

After this crazy “damsel-in-distress” moment, we were closer than ever. We were starting to be viewed as an item and we weren’t even official yet! It wasn’t until November 21st, 2010 at 1:00 in the morning when Evan asked me to be his girlfriend. It was incredible. It was unbelievable. It was perfect.

We spent all of college known as the “Dynamic Duo” and we were totally fine with that. We did all our work together and completely knocked college out of the park! We shared thoughts and ideas and we worked extremely well together. Even our professors knew how we functioned as a pair and they totally accepted it. We were meant to live our lives as music educators together and the support we received from the John J. Cali School of Music was amazing.

Most people leave college with a degree of some sort and memories to last a lifetime. We left with so much more. We left with each other. We left as a team that’s ready to take on the world and change it for the better. We left with an unbreakable bond that we will forever cherish. We left hand in hand with more love than we could ever imagine. Montclair State University gave us more than a degree. It gave us each other and it gave us love.

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How He Asked

Our engagement was the most special moment of our lives

It was November 20th, 2014. We had been living together for two months and we couldn’t have been happier, or so we thought! We both had the night shifts at work that night, so we decided to spend the day searching for our very first Christmas tree for our very first home. We both absolutely love this time of year! It was an extra special time for us because our four year anniversary was just a few short hours away so we planned on watching my favorite Christmas movie of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life, with all our Christmas decorations aglow, right near our first tree. I could not wait to get home from work that night.

It was 11:00 and I was anxiously awaiting the moment when Evan walked through the door from work so we could start our movie and wait for the middle of the night to come (this was when Evan asked me to be his girlfriend 4 years ago). I had the popcorn and wine ready and I was already in my pajamas ready to watch our movie. Soon enough, Evan was home.

We were laying on our couch enjoying each other’s company. I was watching the clock like a hawk because I was really excited for our 4 year anniversary. Evan was watching me watch the clock, likely thinking about the question he was soon to ask.

Midnight struck and I turned to Evan with a big smile on my face. I was waiting for my “happy anniversary” and kiss! It finally came and I was happy. Right then, Evan asked me to go read my card which he strategically placed under our Christmas tree.

I sat down under the tree and read the beautiful card he got me. He expressed how much he loved me and how he would always love me for the rest of our lives. When I finished reading, I turned up to tell him how much I love him and he quickly got close to my face and kissed me. He stayed close as he looked me in the eyes and said, “I keep kissing you because I can’t find the right words to say.” I noticed he was down on one knee when he was talking and I realized what was happening. He pulled out a STUNNING Neil Lane engagement ring and asked, “will you marry me?” I could feel my heart rate increasing. I looked at him and said, “absolutely yes.” He then slipped the ring on my fourth finger and kissed me again. I stood up and started pacing and jumping for joy in the middle of the night.

Our engagement was more intimate and romantic than I could have ever imagined. It was so sentimental and personal and beautiful. It was just the two of us so we were able to just celebrate together and talk about our dream wedding. This was the greatest moment of our lives.12304389_930919436962497_7062523160444392838_o

Special Thanks

Julia McAleavey | 
Photography