Jen and Paul

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How We Met

Paul and I met on Twitter. We both used to work in Greek Life. Both of our first jobs out of college were working for our respective Fraternity/Sorority’s national headquarters. we traveled the country visiting different colleges and universities as consultants during the 2011-2012 school year, but our paths never crossed. Fast forward to 2013, and I was hired into a job with another college student organization.

On my first day of work at my new company, I decided to follow all of the old Student Affairs/Student Leadership Twitter accounts that I used to follow, and one of those companies was Paul’s employer – Phired Up Productions. They decided to retweet him on that day – his tweet was a question about fraternity/sorority recruitment, my specialty. I thought he was cute, so I responded, and we began to follow each other on Twitter.

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About a week later, Paul messaged me on Facebook, asking if I’d like to grab coffee and talk Greek recruitment the next time he was in town (I lived in the DC suburbs, he was currently in Indianapolis), and I messaged him back with my phone number and a resounding yes, I’d love to.

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We ended up on a three hour lunch date two weeks later at Lebanese Taverna in Crystal City, DC. Paul almost missed his flight, and I couldn’t stop telling all of my friends about the best first date I had ever been on. We didn’t talk about recruitment at all. Since then, our love story has unfolded over long distance (8 months), in the same city (Charleston, South Carolina), and finally, in Baltimore, MD, where we’ve lived together with our golden retriever puppy, Milton, since June of 2015.

Proposal Ideas Oriole Park at Camden Yards

How He Asked

In order to get the full impact of our engagement story, you have to know one big thing about me: my first love was the Baltimore Orioles. I grew up an Orioles fan, and all of my favorite memories, including two playoff runs, have happened at their stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. We call it Camden Yards for short. This year, Camden Yards is extra special to me as I was hired as an Orioles Ball Girl, meaning I field foul balls during home games.

So back to July 2nd. Paul told me that we were going to brunch, which is a big deal because I LOVE brunch. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, just that he had a Groupon and that it was somewhere new. Paul works as a remodeling consultant, which means he’s on call on Saturday mornings, so I was told that there was a chance that we wouldn’t be going to brunch if he got called into work, but that it was okay because the Groupon was good for another few months.

I took my time getting ready, especially not knowing if we were actually going to be able to go. I guess Paul got anxious, because he knocked on the bathroom door and informed me that he had received a text from work and he wouldn’t be called in to work that day. I finished getting ready (in an unplanned Twitter blue dress, might I add), and we walked out the door.

It was the most perfect day in Baltimore for a walk to brunch. 75, sunny, and seriously very few clouds in the sky. We walked down Pratt Street, on our way to the Inner Harbor, when Paul had us turn down Eutaw Street towards Camden Yards. I thought it was strange – because there’s nowhere to eat brunch there – but I went with him nonetheless. Camden Yards is unique in that Eutaw Street, which is part of the park that overlooks right center field, is open to the public to walk through on non game days.

As we turned the corner, Paul asked me how many Orioles games I thought we’d been to together. I guessed 10-15, and he said he thought it was closer to 20. He asked how many games I’d like to go to in our lifetime, and I quickly replied, “all of them!” Paul is a bit more practical than I am, and we worked through the logistics and figured we’d go to at least 500, and hopefully a few World Series. At this point, we’re passing the Babe Ruth statue at the entrance to the park and a few tour groups, and he tells me that there’s no one else he’d rather see an Orioles game with.

We continue to walk into the park, stopping at a spot where we took our very first picture at Camden Yards together. It was actually featured as a Fan of the Game photo during a local Orioles broadcast, so it’s a spot we’ll never forget. We spent some time there talking about that day and then Paul suggested that we walk over and see a Chris Davis home run marker (side note: all home runs that have ever landed on Eutaw Street are marked with a bronze marker on the ground. Chris Davis has quite a few of them). We moved towards the center of the street, and Paul turned to face me.

He took my hands, and asked if I remembered the very first time I ever saw him. We talked about our first date and seeing each other for the first time on a bench outside of the restaurant. After, he looked at me, smiled and just said “On that day, I knew.” My brain begins working at this point, and I slowly respond with “…you knew what?” to which I got “I just knew.” “…you knew we were going to get married?” “I knew I was going to marry you.”

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This is when we both start crying, and he tells me that there is no one else like me in the world. Neither of us can remember precisely what was said, but it ended with him down on one knee, asking me to marry him, and me responding with an emphatic “Yes!” which was met with cheers from all of the other people on Eutaw St.

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Paul had his cousin, John, photograph the proposal, and suggested we stop by Pickles Pub, one of our favorite local bars for photos before heading to brunch. Pickles is a famous O’s bar, and has an old marquee sign out front that rarely changes. When I turned the corner to see “Congratulations Paul and Jen. She said yes! …We Hope.” I nearly lost it.

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We took a few more pictures, and then Paul suggested that we stop by my gym for me to pick up passes before we headed to brunch.

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I am an avid CrossFitter, and my coach, Sean, had told me earlier in the day that I needed to stop by the gym by 3pm to pick up pool passes for a pool party our gym was having for the fourth. I suggested coming by later but he insisted that I needed to come in person because there was some sort of safety briefing. Given that I had no idea how long brunch would last, I knew Paul was right to run this errand first.

When we got to the gym, we told Sean our news, and he was so surprised! After congratulating us, he had us follow him into the back to grab the passes. Instead, I was met with the biggest surprise engagement party I could’ve imagined: Paul had arranged for 40 of our closest friends – including my sister, who flew in from Denver and my two college best friends who had flown in from Atlanta – to celebrate with us. I have never felt more loved or surprised in my entire life.

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…but I’m still waiting on that brunch :)

Special Thanks

John Hardy | 
Photographer