Kristen and Dave

How We Met

Dave and I met at Red Rock Saloon in downtown Milwaukee the weekend prior to Halloween in 2012. My friends and I were determined to be “sophisticated” young 20-somethings and spend our night acting accordingly – without partaking in the usual Halloween festivities. Later on that night, we ended up visiting some friends at Red Rock Saloon where, naturally, we were the only two not dressed up in costume. While indulging in many adult beverages, Dave approached me to try and introduce me to his roommate at the time. As his roommate was clearly uninterested, Dave and I continued chatting about all things “life” – or so I’m told. After a while, and his roommate being incredibly patient, Dave caught on that it was time to move along. He asked for my number, and I asked him if he “knew how to work one of these” – aka, my iPhone. Chuckling, he put his number into my phone. Afterward, Dave would say that there was a “line of people” continuing to talk to me, and he didn’t expect me to remember who he was.

Well, little did he know that I would text him at the end of the night asking if he was “the pimp that I met at the bar”. Turns out that he was trying to dress as a man from the 1920s, but either way – it was him. At that time he asked if he could see me again, and I told him he needed to be 100% sober to do so. The next afternoon he did just that – and the rest is history! (D) Kristen and I met Halloween weekend at a bar. At the time, I was working a lot and I hadn’t had a whole lot of time to go out and spend all the money I was making, and I was looking to blow off a little steam. My roommate and a life-long friend came out with us that night, and at every bar, we went to I was doing my very best to be his wingman. When we finally made our way to Red Rock Saloon, we grabbed some drinks and I saw Kristen – so I walked us over to talk with her, and I ended up talking with her more than my friend was.

After a while, I could tell my buddy was just politely waiting for me to wrap it up, so as part of my departure from our conversation, I asked if I could give her my number. She, to my surprise, just handed her phone to me and asked if I knew how to “use one of these.” So I put my name and number on her phone and that was that. Later that night, after bar close, I got a text from her asking if I was “the guy dressed like a pimp – that was not my costume, by the way. We started talking, and I asked if I could see her again. In true Kristen form, she decided to make the first contact then start playing hard to get. Typical. She told me I’d have a better chance of convincing her once I was sober, so I waited until the next day and texted her asking for a date.

How He Asked

Kristen: The proposal happened on the fifth year anniversary of the day we had met – October 27th. While I thought, five years in, that he may propose in the near future, I did not think anything of it on that day. That Friday morning, Dave had left me a note reminding me that we had met five years earlier and how “lucky” he was that we had. While I am generally the one who is on top of remembering significant dates, it had honestly slipped my mind and I thought it was sweet of him to remember.

After that point, the entire day continued as always and he did not let on, in any way, that he was going to propose. I had even asked him, while at work, if he wanted to grab dinner and drinks to “celebrate” having met five years earlier – and he obliged, knowing full well that wasn’t going to happen. That afternoon, it being a Friday afternoon, I headed home pretty quick. When I walked in the door of our apartment, there was a piece of paper hanging from the ceiling, reiterating that we had met five years earlier.  Looking further into our apartment, all of the lights were on and there were additional items to “visit” – but Dave was nowhere to be found. As I continued walking into our kitchen, there were three groups of picture frames each talking about the first three years of our relationship. Beyond that, there was a vase of a half-dozen roses and another “blurb” about the fourth year of our relationship.

Up to this point, my only thought was, “Wow! Dave is being thoughtful for once!” Then I approached the bedroom door, which talked about our fifth year together. By this time, I thought it was strange that Dave had yet to greet me and, when I opened the door, I thought maybe a proposal was waiting for me. When I walked in, Dave was on one knee. (And apparently, I came home just a bit “too early” as he had hardly just gotten his pants on and was trying to shove things under the bed to get them out of sight. At least this is what he tells me.) The first words out of my mouth were, “Who are you?” and “What is this?” I remember him saying my full name and then presenting me with the ring, along with a quote he had engraved on a metal sign – one that he had used in our relationship before.

That evening, Dave made dinner reservations at one of our most favorite restaurants in Brookfield – Coopers Hawk, We opted not to tell anyone about our engagement (although we did run into distant friends of mine at the restaurant) that night and just enjoy the new “bliss” together. It was a quiet and intimate night together, and I couldn’t have imagined something better!

Dave: Well, to start, you should know that I had NO FREAKING IDEA how to propose to this woman. None. It didn’t help that, at one point, she helped with the engagement of one of her best friends, and after seeing what all went into that.. I literally told her she was going to have to propose to herself and just tell me where to be when it happened. And I suppose it’s kind of a big deal, so just bringing it up all, “Hey do you want to get coffee this morning? Oh, and do you want to marry me?” probably wouldn’t go over so well, so I had to have something at least a little special. But I hate the clichés. I didn’t want to propose around a holiday, or her birthday, or on a trip somewhere. And most of all, I didn’t want it to be public. I’m actually a fairly private person when it comes to things that are that personal, and I just couldn’t see myself getting down on one knee anywhere where someone else could watch our moments play themselves out. So I had to come up with an idea for something intimate, thoughtful, and ultimately a surprise.

I didn’t want her knowing it was going to happen either, so I did my best in the weeks and months beforehand to lay the groundwork that, “It was probably never going to happen. Maybe we should start having kids first, and then after a while maybe we could find the time to get married.” I decided a fall engagement was a good time of year since that was when we first met, and I then decided on making the engagement date the anniversary of our first meeting. And, in keeping with my efforts to keep it a surprise, I told no one when I bought the ring.

Not my best friend, not my sister, not my parents. No one. The hardest part – after finding out through a series of circumstantial events with the jeweler that Kristen has the fingers of a common snowman, and that her ring would have to be special ordered – was finding a way to go get her father’s blessing. They live in Burlington. We do not. So, when she wanted to make a stopover at their house while we were passing through on a visit to some of her friends, about two weeks before we got engaged.. everything else just got easier from there. I ended up special ordering a metal sign that I used in the proposal, got hold of the ring, and was more or less ready for the big day. The rest mostly went like Kristen says.

Special Thanks