Laurie and Josh

image (21)How we met: I had been dying to try this popular restaurant in Tampa called Pane Rustica, which happened to be walking distance to my apartment. My mother Bonnie came in town for a girl’s night and we decided to check it out. We had a seat at the bar while we waited for our table and I noticed this very handsome bartender with a ridiculously cute smile. He poured us some fabulous wine selections and was so friendly and helpful to me and my mom. We kept chatting with him and we both really enjoyed his charismatic and charming personality, enough that when our table was called my mom suggested we just eat at the bar instead, quoting “he’s really fun, let’s just stay here!” After a few more glasses of wine, more chit-chatting, and more time spent watching that bartender’s adorable smile, Bonnie made the comment, “Laurie that bartender is flirting with you!” Maybe she was right, as our drinks for the night were ‘on the house’.

After that night, I started making frequent appearances at Pane Rustica, loving the fact it was walking distance to my apartment and of course getting to see the cute bartender. I began bringing in my girlfriends to meet Josh and “check him out” for their opinions. It’s pretty much impossible not to adore Josh when you meet him, which they all agreed. After many nights of chatting & flirting, he asked for my phone number. Josh loves to tell this next part of the story that I ‘blew him off a million times’ but my version of this story is that I needed to play hard to get (as I thought who knows if this sexy bartender does the same charming act for all his female customers??).

Needless to say, I finally decided after months of watching him on the other side of the bar, to go on a real date. Is it cheesy to say the rest is history? Because after the first date I was pretty much hooked. After a romantic night out with an amazing gourmet dinner, I was truly enamored with his southern gentleman charm, and we finished the night laughing together after I first exposed Josh to several of my family’s homemade horror movies on YouTube. We just clicked.

Josh used to always called me ‘my lady’ in this British accent from some Game of Thrones character. After dating a couple months, I remember him asking me ‘can I officially call you my lady?’ And my response was: I already am. Months later when I knew we both felt so strongly about one another, my favorite cute quote from him was “I think I like you more than just like you.” And ultimately the L-bomb was dropped shortly after. We moved in together in March 2014 and I have loved every day of it.

How he asked: The month of December is always hectic, with all the holiday parties, my birthday, Hannukah, Christmas, and this year my 10 year high school reunion. Josh had asked me months ago to take one night out of our busy schedule to take me for a surprise birthday date, December 19. Of course there was a little voice in the back of my head questioning if that would be “the night,” but as the days got closer I just for whatever reason was convinced it truly was for a birthday celebration. We started the night going to our favorite speakeasy restaurant Ciro’s. We had a few cocktails, it was fun and romantic, but again just thought it was part of the birthday festivity. After we finished, a cab picked us up and I noticed Josh had a whole picnic basket packed with a blanket. I thought “Oh fun! A picnic somewhere!” But the cab drove us downtown near the marina. When we got out I realized Josh had rented a private electronic boat, which I had always wanted to do. The boat was awesome, a huge table & couch with pillows, an overhead cover with little lights all around us, and it was just the two of us.

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Captain Josh set sail, turned on Frank Sinatra music (my fav) and unloaded all his goodies from the picnic basket.

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He had a huge selection of cheese, chocolate, & snacks and a bottle of wine from our favorite winery we visited in Napa.

It was SO romantic, our own little private cruise around the Hillsborough River, enough that I even said “Wow Josh! This is the most romantic date I’ve ever been on!”

After about 30 minutes, Josh told me he had one more surprise and immediately was down on one knee with this gorgeous ring. It was the perfect ring I had always dreamed of. Unfortunately I only heard the first sentence of his speech “Laurie, since the day I first met you I know…” and from the excitement, crying, and shock I blacked out the rest. It was the happiest moment ever for me.

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We cruised around the next half hour, just enjoying the moment, with him holding me in his arms with the biggest smile ever saying “you’re my fiancé now, baby!”

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After we finished the boat ride, Josh said the final surprise was a room booked for us at the Westin hotel, luckily walking distance from our boat. As we entered the hotel , my excitement was overwhelming and I told Josh I needed to to call my mom and best friend Erica ASAP, but before I could, I looked ahead and the whole hotel bar was full of our parents, family, tons of friends, and even Erica holding up her iPhone with my brother waving to me in California on Facetime.

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It was the BEST surprise ever and it was so amazing to share that unbelievable moment with others who mean so much to me too. Thank you to all my family and friends for coming out to make the night even more memorable, and you thank Josh for loving me and making it the most special and romantic proposal I could ever dream of.

I finally found a man who makes me the happiest I have ever been, someone with my same sense of humor, someone who truly listens to me, who is always up for an adventure, who is so romantic and thoughtful, who has the same outlook on life, who fits in so well with all my friends and family, and who I am always thinking about when he’s not around me. I can’t wait to become Mrs. Waldron.