Jessica and Nicholas
How We Met
Niko and I met at a party in 2009 during the first week of freshman year at Ramapo College. He was in the back playing music for everyone while I mostly stuck with my friends in the other room. We eventually crossed paths and said hello to each other, but he had a girlfriend at the time so I thought he would turn out to be just another person I met in college. I would see him from time to time but it wasn’t until the spring semester of sophomore year that our groups of friends merged together and I started seeing Niko more often. It also happened to be that he was no longer with the girlfriend he had when we met freshman year. We would flirt and tease each other, but at that point, we were both seeing other people.
It wasn’t until my birthday in April, in the middle of a surprise party my friends threw for me, that Niko whispered into my ear that he thought I was one of the most beautiful women he’s ever seen, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and walked away. Soon after that, he gave me some completely impartial advice (yeah right) that the guy I was seeing at the time wasn’t right for me. Very soon after I broke things off with the other person, started exclusively seeing Niko, and haven’t looked back since.
How He Asked
Niko and I love to travel. I’ve always had getting married on the brain, but as Niko and I traveled more and more to places like Greece, New Orleans, London, and Croatia, the idea of getting married started taking a back seat to traveling the world together. The topic of marriage came up here and there throughout the years, but Niko always said that the time wasn’t right. His main concern was money. He wanted to be able to still travel as much as we wanted but also be able to afford the wedding of my dreams. Towards the end of 2016, we started getting the travel itch again and planned a trip to Thailand. Planning and saving for a two-week trip backpacking across Thailand during New Years starts to add up to be a bit of an expense but we were both very excited and were able to make it work.
We began our journey the day after Christmas 2017. We traveled for 24 hours straight and arrived, exhausted, in Bangkok. We spent a few days there before heading to Koh Phi Phi for New Year’s Eve. This had quickly become our most amazing trip yet. We decided that New Years Day, while everyone was still sleeping off their hangovers from the night before, we would wake up first thing in the morning and rent a long tail boat and driver to take us beach hopping.
Our first stop was Maya Bay, where “The Beach” with Leonardo DiCaprio was filmed. It was the most gorgeous place I had ever seen but we quickly noticed that the beach was getting filled with waves of other tourists. Even though it was extremely hot, Niko didn’t want to go swimming. He claimed he wasn’t feeling too well from partying the night before and wanted to see if there were any other places that were less crowded. We got back into the boat and asked Lae (our boat driver) to take us anywhere he wanted. We didn’t start the day with any plans and trusted that wherever he took us would be beautiful.
We pulled around to the other side of the island which opened up to this tiny cove with only a handful of boats scattered nearby. Most were anchored off shore snorkeling but there was one boat stopped on the small beach with a couple sunbathing. This beach wasn’t even a tenth of the size of the beach we just left, but the seclusion and privacy made it even more breathtaking.
Niko loves making videos of all of our trips so when he asked me to stand in the water while he set up the camera I thought nothing of it. It took him about 10 minutes to get his camera all set up (which he was hilariously failing at). As he was trying to get the camera to stay standing the only other people on the beach packed up, got in their boat, and left. I began to tell him to forget about it, that we could do the video another time, but he just kept saying that he really liked this shot. To be honest, I couldn’t argue with him on that. Between the bluest water I’ve ever seen, cloudless sky, and enormous cliffs on either side, you really couldn’t ask for a better picture.
He finally got his camera to stay and joined me in the water. So there we were, standing alone on this amazing beach. No one around except me, my best friend, and our boat driver (who was in his own world on the boat and not paying much notice to us). It was then that Niko turned to me and said, “well, there won’t be a more perfect moment than this.” He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small Bluetooth speaker. I was confused until he broke the speaker open to reveal a ring box hidden inside. My immediate response was just, “shut up!” as he began to kneel down while smiling and saying, “This is happening!”
The moment couldn’t have been more perfect. I honestly couldn’t believe what was happening. I didn’t think we would be getting engaged for another couple of years, never mind on an island in Thailand! Afterwards, we walked back up onto the beach and were able to sit and talk alone for about 15 minutes before any other people showed up – it was as if they were waiting for us to have our moment! He told me that he’d been wanting to propose for two years now but knew he wanted to propose on one of our trips to incorporate our love of traveling together.
He worked with a custom jeweler to design every single detail and create the most beautiful engagement ring I have ever seen from scratch. He was able to pretend for 2 years that he wasn’t interested in getting married so soon and wouldn’t know the first thing about proposals and rings when, in reality, he had already planned everything perfectly. From finding out exactly what I would want in an engagement ring and asking my father’s permission, to somehow hiding an engagement ring while backpacking in a foreign country and saving money to afford both the trip and the ring without me knowing. He even made me a video of our lives together for the past 7 years!
The rest of our time in Thailand was a beautiful blur. I got to experience half the trip with my boyfriend and half the trip with my fiancé.