Lauren and Samuel

How We Met

Well, we were supposed to meet at a wedding…Sam and I are from neighboring towns, he went to pre-school with my oldest brother, we worked as lifeguards at the same pool (he left the year I started), yet we had never officially met. In June 2015, I went to a bridal shower for my long-time friend Elyse and I posted a picture of us on Instagram. Sam saw the picture and immediately texted Elyse asking who I was and if I was single. He continued his Facebook stalking me, and I worked on my dental school applications and thought nothing of him.

A few months later, there was a Friday night dinner before the Sunday wedding. Sam was away for work, but somehow I ended up sitting between my parents and his parents. I talked with them the whole night, they told me about their “wonderful Jewish son” and his mom even said, “I’d love for Sam to marry a nice Jewish girl, who knows, maybe it could be you!” Our parents were on a mission to get us to meet at the wedding. Sam’s parents went home that night and called Sam to let him know they met “an amazing girl who will be at the wedding.” Sam wanted nothing to do with anyone that his parents had picked out for him.

Anyway, he already had eyes on the maid of honor and “the girl from the Instagram picture” (not realizing I was the same girl who his parents were talking about). The wedding day comes around, and at one point during cocktail hour I see my mom talking with him and she is GLARING at me to come over and talk to Sam. I wanted nothing to do with it. I was applying to dental school and not sure where I was going to end up in a few months, so I wasn’t really looking for a boyfriend. If he wanted to meet me, it was up to him. Meanwhile, he didn’t even realize he was talking to MY mom, he only knew her as my brother’s mom!

The night goes on, Sam drinks a little too much and gets a little too sweaty. He tries to get into the class picture of a school he didn’t even go to, so I yelled at him to get out of the picture – the only words we ended up speaking that night. Come to the end of the night, Sam sees me hug his parents goodbye and finally realizes that the girl from Instagram was the girl his parents wanted him to meet all along. So the next day I get a notification that I have a Facebook message from Sam. It was basically a love letter asking if I’d give him another chance since he didn’t get to introduce himself to me at the wedding, and we went out for dinner a week later.

How He Asked

I’ve never backed down from the challenge of a good jigsaw puzzle. Throughout our relationship, Sam has gotten me a few personalized ones with photos of us for different occasions (think 500 days of being together and a heart-shaped valentines day puzzle). He got me a beautiful wooden 1,000 piece puzzle of us as a birthday/1,000 day anniversary present (I have an app that counts how long we’ve been together and I happen to see that the day after my birthday was 1,000 days together). He gave it to me a while before my birthday and I slowly worked on it, since for some reason he really wanted me to get it done by my birthday. A few weeks into working on the puzzle, I was ready to throw in the towel. All the pieces looked the same, and I just didn’t think I could get it done. Sam encouraged (nagged) me to persevere.

When I finally finished it, I saw I had managed to lose a piece. I made Sam help me look for it, tearing apart our apartment, moving the couch and scrounging under the carpet but we couldn’t find it. After all that work putting 999 pieces together, I was so mad about that missing piece and I figured it had to have gotten vacuumed up never to be seen again. Sam decided he’d try to email the puzzle company and maybe they’d be able to send us a replacement piece (I thought he was idiotic and they’d never do that but I let him try). He told me he wrote to them, and that he thought they MIGHT have put something in the mail. He couldn’t be sure it would be the right piece, but he’s always the optimist. Days passed and no puzzle piece came in the mail (no surprise).

We were getting ready for a big birthday dinner with both our families and my grandparents even flew in from New Jersey to spend my birthday weekend with me. Sam asked if I could be ready in time for a drink on our roof deck since it was a nice night – this was a normal thing for us to do, so I thought nothing of it. We were enjoying a glass of wine on the roof and Sam realized he forgot to tell me that he got an envelope from the puzzle company! He hands me a stamped, battered envelope that looks like its traveled from China, and all I said was, “why didn’t you just open it and put the piece in!?” He hands me the letter inside and it was stationery from the company and the first two lines are about how they’re so sorry we lost a piece, that they’re more than happy to replace it, and that the piece is enclosed in a smaller envelope in the letter – great! I told Sam it’s in the smaller envelope he was holding, let’s go finish the puzzle!

Well, it wasn’t the missing puzzle piece in the envelope. Sam got down on one knee (actually two knees because he has hip problems) and read the entirety of the letter (that was actually from him and not a puzzle company) about the last 1,000 days together. He even coordinated with our neighbor to have our friend who is a photographer sneak in from their apartment and onto the neighboring roof deck to take amazing pictures. After a lot of smiles, and of course some ugly happy tears, we took some pictures on the roof and went inside. Sam told me to look inside the puzzle box where I found the ring box with the missing piece of the puzzle (that he had taken months ago) and a date stick (we have a date jar full of different ideas written on popsicle sticks) with “say yes” written on it.

We went to the restaurant to meet our families (mine didn’t know this was happening tonight!) and had the best night celebrating with them. I was so surprised when he asked, I had absolutely no idea it would happen that night, and I just couldn’t be happier. The amount of time and effort Sam put into planning every little detail amazes me and I still can’t believe I get to call him my fiancé.

Special Thanks

Craig Byer | 
Photographer