Jess and Scott

Jess and Scott's Engagement in Newport, RI

How We Met

The simple story is that we met through work, but of course, there’s more to it than that. I was working for a PR agency in New York dealing with wine and spirits brands and was working on a launch event for a new product we were representing. It was the first big launch event that I was really responsible for, so I was dealing with the whole run of the show, floor plans, menu, everything. We had four great bartenders signed on, each with a specific drink to serve, and at the last minute our sales team suggested we consider just one more bartender to add to the mix – he was a big fan of the products we were working with, and we just had to meet him.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t love veering from a plan, so I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of changing the whole vision for the event. My supervisors agreed to meet this new bartender Scott, who was running a bar downtown known for “bespoke drinks” – the idea was that he’d host a bar at the event which offered guests the option to design their own cocktail (all I could think about was the logistics that would go into making this extra bar happen at the event). After meeting him, they came back to tell me how great he was, how amazing his drinks were, and – bonus points – he had a great Australian accent! I wasn’t convinced.

A few days later, I agreed to take a journalist friend to check out his bar and meet this Scott guy that my team was so excited about. Unpredictably for a weeknight, the bar was super busy and he was on his own behind the bar – so he barely had time to pay attention to us. Strike two. But somehow in the few minutes we spent talking, he’d mentioned that he’s behind the bar six nights a week (all but Sunday)… So that weekend when I was out with my friends and we were trying to figure out where to go, I found myself suggesting that bar downtown with the delicious drinks and cute Australian bartender. I wasn’t even sure if he’d remember me from our brief encounter, but sold everyone on the bar and off we went.

We kept things quiet as we started secretly dating over the next few weeks leading up to the event (of course I agreed to add his bar to the event in the end), and from there – the rest is history!

How He Asked

A few months after we started dating, we turned a work trip for Scott into our first getaway as a couple. He was working with a hotel in Newport, Rhode Island, where he’d host a few cocktail-making classes for the guests in exchange for a weekend staying at the gorgeous property. After a few hours of work during the day, we enjoyed a relaxing weekend of nice seafood dinners and nights exploring the coastal town. We went back for a second working weekend a few months later, and it became one of my favorite memories from the early days of our relationship – even though we never managed to make it back for a true vacation weekend like we always said we would.

Fast forward to six years later, and we’d made plans to spend a weekend in Boston for an industry event and to visit friends and family in the area. As we were talking about the plan for the weekend, Scott casually mentioned that he had to take a meeting in Newport for another upcoming event, so we’d just stay there Friday night and continue on to Boston Saturday morning for the rest of the weekend. One of my clients was also participating in the Newport event he’d mentioned, so it seemed like a perfectly reasonable plan when he suggested it and we planned to drive up after work on Friday. I didn’t even ask where we were staying – I just assumed it would be the same hotel because that’s where you stay in Newport!

The day before we left, Scott announced that his meeting needed to be earlier in the afternoon, so we’d have to leave New York a little earlier – could I leave work at 2 PM? I was busy and annoyed he was basically asking me to take off a half day of work with little notice, and eventually I told him if he needed to be there early then he could just go without me – it was his work weekend anyway, I didn’t need to be there. He quickly backtracked at the prospect of me skipping what clearly wasn’t going to shape up to be a work weekend, and mumbled something about moving the meeting back. Little did I know, he was trying to make sure we were in Newport in time for the sunset…

Proposal Ideas Newport, RI

Friday afternoon, we drove through the rain for hours to get to Newport. In retrospect, Scott was acting kind of strangely – he took a few calls over the bluetooth speaker in the car from friends and family, loudly announcing “you’re on speaker, Jess is here!” before anyone could get a word in. Clearly, all of our friends and family thought we were on track for our sunset arrival and were worried they hadn’t heard from us. We finally got to the hotel around 9 PM, and at that point, Scott said the meeting got moved to the next day and the two of us should just grab dinner nearby. Checking into our room, I realized we’d gotten some kind of upgrade – we had an entire suite with a living room, fireplace, wraparound balcony, the works. I just assumed they remembered Scott from his time spent working with the hotel and quickly went off to get ready for dinner since we both were exhausted and hungry.

Shortly after, I came out into the living room ready to find Scott and head off to dinner. I was surprised he wasn’t rushing me out the door after our long trip there and found him on the balcony looking out over the water. When I walked outside to tell him that I was ready, he put his arm around me and asked if I remembered our first weekend away together in Newport. I replied that of course I did, and I’d always loved going there so it was fun to be back. The next thing I know, Scott turned to me and said “well, you don’t think all of this is just a coincidence do you?” right before getting down on one knee. Missing all of the obvious signs on the way up, I was too shocked to even remember what he said – I just remember snapping out of it to him asking if I liked the ring, which I hadn’t even looked at! We spent the rest of the night calling friends and family (of course everyone already knew what was going to happen) and enjoyed another night in my favorite little seaside city celebrating the happy occasion.