Marisa and Alex's Sunrise Proposal on the Brooklyn Bridge

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How We Met

Our love story began in the summer of 2010, when I walked in to a restaurant called Elmo in Chelsea (NYC), inquiring about a “summer job”. Alex was a bartender there, and I was hired as a hostess. Needless to say, that “summer job” became a whole lot more than just a place to work. I immediately had a crush on the “artsy, scruffy, musician-type” bartender, and he says that the moment I first walked in to the restaurant, he said to himself “Whoa. Who is that girl. I need to know everything about her.” ( his words ;-) ) That first week of working together we were casually flirting, asking co-workers each about the other, playing coy, and secretly hoping we were scheduled the same shifts.

One night, after a long shift working together (where we presumably ignored all customers around us in our young-love daze), the manager came up to us and just said it like it was: “Ok Alex, you clearly like Marisa. Marisa, you clearly like Alex. Go on a date. Right now. He’ll pay.” We all laughed and giggled at his forward statement, but then Alex turned to me and said, “Let’s go on that date. Come on.” We popped into a local East Village bar by my apartment at the time, drank spicy beers, and sat around talking for probably 4+ hours.

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That night was the beginning of Marisa and Alex. Together every day since for the past 6 years. We’ve travelled the world, stayed coworkers (still both @ the restaurant!), filmed commercials together (I’m an actress and Alex is a photographer and actor), moved apartments twice, become each other’s best friend, partner, biggest supporter, and inspiration…and thats truly just the tip of the iceberg. I cannot believe how lucky we are to have found each other this world. Our love story is my very favorite one to tell.

How He Asked

As an actress (me) and a photographer (him) living in NYC, being asked to take part in a professional photo shoot is nothing truly out of the ordinary for us. We’ve booked jobs together in the past where we’ve played “couple in love”, “kissing couple”, or even “couple getting engaged”. Truly. We’ve acted it all. So when Alex brought up an idea his photographer friend had for a sunrise Brooklyn Bridge photo shoot, I didn’t really think twice about it. I just thought it would be great to shoot with his friend Johnny, and have some nice sunrise pics of the two of us for our portfolio.

So bright and early Saturday morning, we headed from our Williamsburg apartment to the stairway entrance at the Brooklyn Bridge.

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It was still dark out! Johnny met us there, gave us some preliminary “shot ideas” he had in mind, and we started shooting. (Side note: Spike Lee was there shooting a commercial right next to us! He was basically an integral part of our engagement. Thanks, Spike!) After 15-20 minutes of posing, Alex stepped away and told Johnny to snap a few of just me.

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I later found out that’s because this was the cue for Alex to go over to his bag, set up his own camera with hidden video recording, and grab the ring box. Johnny and him had this all planned out for weeks! When he returned, Johnny placed us in position for the light to be hitting my face just right; the sun was just beginning to rise bright and orange, and it was the most incredibly beautiful thing. Just as I was remarking to Alex to “turn around! You have to see this incredible sunrise boo!”,

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he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “I actually have something I’ve been wanting to ask you for a long time now, Marisa.” I was trying to play it so cool, I’m pretty sure I just shook my head slightly and said, “What?”. All I remember next is my best friend smiling with tears in his eyes, the bright orange sun rising behind him, and him reaching in his back pocket while assuring me, “This is it boo. This is really happening.” He dropped down to one knee, I began to profusely ugly cry, and there I was in the middle of the bridge screaming “YES, YES, SO MUCH YES!!!”

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My favorite person in the world just asked me to marry him.

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After the initial shock of the proposal on the bridge wore down, we made our way to the park and waterfront below, and continued the photoshoot with Johnny. I love how the boys had this planned out the entire time: proposal pics and engagement pics all at once! Genius! While this was going on, I was desperately trying to get in touch with my family and best friends… but my parents live in California where it was approximately 4am their time… so when they weren’t answering their phones I assumed it was because they were still sleeping.

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Turns out, surprise #2 for the day was still in store. After we finished snapping pics, thanking and hugging Johnny, and grabbing a coffee from a nearby cafe, we made our way back to our apartment, and when I walked in the door, there stood my parents, brother, best friend (from Chicago!), and his family in our living room waiting to congratulate us. I just about dropped to the floor in a puddle of my own tears. A few minutes after that, our bedroom door opens and a parade of 20 of our very best friends (dogs too!) came running out to bombard us with all the love and hugs and kisses and champagne in the world. We had the best day celebrating with everyone, and I still feel like I’m floating above it all.

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Thank you, Alex, for making my wildest dreams come true. This day was the biggest and best shock and surprise of my life. I love you forever, boo!!