Jessica and Matt
How We Met
Matt and I met through my previous job where I was coordinating monthly events for a local chapter of a national Catholic organization. Matt’s dad was the President of the local chapter when I started and him and his wife were the first ones I met and got to know out of the group. For the next year, they had kept telling me how much his son and I were alike and that the two of us should meet. Turns out he had been saying the same thing to Matt the whole time. As is pretty typical of parents and their children, Matt and I both shrugged it off. Our paths finally crossed a year later when Matt attended an event where we had a prominent speaker addressing the group. We briefly met that night and wouldn’t have much interaction again until a few months later, when he would come to another event. Our first date I had thought was an informal dinner to learn more about a young professional organization that Matt was heading up and wanted me to join. After we spent the whole dinner talking about everything other than this organization and group, I began to wonder if had actually been a date. It was the perfect first date too, Matt picked me up from my apartment, took me to a nice restaurant and it happened to be the first snowfall of the season. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was something special. After a few dates that followed, which included Jazz concerts in Cedarburg, paint and wine nights, A Christmas Carol at the Rep, I was feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to have met such a wonderful person. The past two years have been filled with fun trips, lots of running, a ton of change and maybe one or two trips to the frozen yogurt place! :)
How He Asked
A week before the proposal, Matt sent me an event invitation for some public event being held at Atwater Beach (my favorite park) on the 23rd. It was a sunrise breakfast featuring bakery from my favorite place Blooming Lotus (best allergy friendly bakery EVER). After I told him I thought it sounded weird and SUPER early (6:30 am!!) I agreed to go. The night before, my older sister Veronica was coming downtown to stay with me and have a girls night (something we arranged weeks before). At the last minute one of my younger sisters Sophie decided to come along too. Not suspecting that it had anything to do with the next morning, we made dinner, chatted and painted our nails. They then decided to pick apart the outfit had planned for the next morning’s picnic and changed it completely. Since Matt is an assistant coach for high school football during the fall, he had a game that night. Little did I know that he had gone the morning before to the beach to scope out the spot and do final preparations after his game that night.
Matt was going to be picking me up the next morning at 6:15 am. My sisters and I got up bright and early so I could get ready and they could be ready to leave when he arrived. Because I may be a bit of a control freak, I decided to pack a picnic breakfast jusssst in case this event wasn’t all it seemed to be…. (insert Matt rolling his eyes). Matt arrived promptly at 6:15 am (NEVER HAPPENS), I grabbed the picnic basket and ran down the stairs. I started to feel that something was up when I noticed he had shaved his beard!! Seriously, he had been growing one for over 2 months! We headed over to the park, got out and headed down to the beach. If you have ever been to Atwater Park, they have an ungodly amount of stairs leading you down from the park to the beach. There I was in heels (thanks girls) with a pretty heavy picnic basket (my own doing…) heading down about 6 flights of steep steps that were covered in sand. Trying not to slip and die, I was taking my time going down the stairs when looking up I noticed a man at the bottom taking photos of us. The invitation said there would be a photographer taking photos of the event so at first I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until the man was literally only taking photos of us and pretty much anyone else who was at this park was in workout clothes, that I really started to wonder. When we got to the bottom of the stairs I noticed a small table set up at the end of the boardwalk. This is when things started to click. The table was set for two with beautiful place settings, champagne glasses, a lantern with flowers, pumpkins and mum bushes at the bottom. Setting my basket off to the side (at least I was prepared…..) we sat down and Matt read me a letter he had wrote. The letter explained how that day had significance in our lives as a couple and in our faith, and was pretty much the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. At the end of the letter, he told me there was something for me in the basket set up next to our table (not my basket…the other one… ). Inside the basket was a note telling me to turn around and when I did, there he was, down on one knee with the ring. At this point our nerves were at an all time high, but he proposed, I said yes and he gave me the most incredible ring in the world.
Just when I thought the surprises were done, that was only the beginning. Matt’s brother and girlfriend Jim and Helen were in town and we had been planning to have dinner that night with them and his parents at their house. Matt’s mom Julie and I were planning to go to a play later that night from some free tickets I had received. As we walk in the door I saw the back of my dad’s head and turned back at Matt confused. We walked around the corner to a room full of family and friends for a surprise engagement party, some of which had traveled from over an hour away. It had all been part of this grand plan Matt had been drawing up for over 2 months. We spent the rest of the night reliving the moments from earlier in the day and dodging questions about if we had a date set already (can’t believe you get that question so fast but you do!).
We couldn’t thank everyone who helped out enough, from Jim and Julie (Matt’s parents), Jim and Helen, Dominic (Matt’s friend) and the photographer who had all been up crazy early that morning setting everything up at the park, to my sister who helped Matt with the ring the last two months and finally to all our family and friends who came and celebrated with us that night.
We are so thrilled to begin the planning of our wedding and start of our lives together! As I said to my dad on the phone that morning, now the fun begins…. :)