Nicole and Dominick

Nicole & Dom 1

How We Met

We both started college at the same university in Virginia, but didn’t actually meet for another 3,600 miles and three years later. Fall of our senior year, in 2012, we happened to meet spending the semester studying abroad at the University of Oxford in the UK. We were house-mates! Our program coordinator assigned us to the same three-story, 7-member flat with students from our university and another school in California. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him, walking into our house with his cousin, who happened to be working in London at the time. I had my stereotypes about this tall, dark and handsome Italian Jersey boy, but within a few weeks I was smitten. We each had tough challenges those first few months that we supported each other through– hurricane Sandy blew through his home that October and I started having some mental health issues creep up not too long after we arrived. He’s my rock, and I’d be lost without him.

Mid-term, we went to a ball hosted by the University. It was raining, and cold, and the hem of my dress got covered in mud 2” deep, but we had a blast. We were dancing together to a slow song under a tent outside, and I realized, in that moment, that I wanted to be with him always.

That December, after term ended, I surprised him with a trip to Scotland for his birthday. We moved in together as soon as we graduated in the spring of 2013, despite my friend’s well-meaning concerns over the short time we’d been together. But here we are, over four years later, still in that same apartment!

Nicole & Dom 2 Oxford Ball

How He Asked

He proposed the day before my birthday, which also happened to be the day before Easter. Little did I know he had been planning this moment for months– and had roped in some of my best friends to help!

Under the guise of celebrating my birthday, Dom told me we would go out into DC– explore the Cherry Blossoms, go out for a nice dinner. My girlfriends had organized a birthday brunch that morning, where we would just-so-happen to be getting our nails done. I had an inkling– I never get my nails done– but my friend said she needed to do hers for a wedding the following weekend, so I talked myself out of it. I even confessed my suspicions to them over mimosas, but they had me convinced I was crazy!

Fast forward to the late afternoon, and we’re in an Uber heading towards the Jefferson Memorial. It’s PACKED with tourists, so dense you could barely move through the crowds! The traffic was so bad that we jumped out of the car before even reaching our destination. He was rushing me through the swarms of people, past the Cherry Blossoms, and I was so confused– why rush if we’re just here to explore– but I ran with it, because, you know, I trust him and his ways.

Eventually we walked into a clearing at the base of the Jefferson Memorial and he whipped off his jacket. It was rather chilly, actually, so again, I’m confused. We stop in the middle. “Hold on, my mom is calling me,” he said. He went to answer his phone, but instead of answering it, I saw him dial. He picked up, looked towards the top of the memorial, and obviously made eye contact with someone before nodding and hanging up after only saying “okay.” Of course I followed his gaze– it’s only natural– and picked my dad out of the crowd, standing there on the steps.

I immediately lost all the chill that I had. Suddenly he was on his knees and suddenly there was a ring. I was so surprised and so overwhelmed and there were so many tears I don’t think I even got the word “yes” out of my mouth.

As we walked up the steps, I finally noticed everyone else. My mom and my dad from Maryland. My aunts and uncles from Pennsylvania. His parents and cousins and best friends from New Jersey. He coordinated with two of my friends in secret to bring another 18 of our closest friends together, who were all cheering for us. I’m so grateful to everyone we love who was a part of this special moment with us– despite their own holiday and travel plans. I’m most impressed with his two friends who traveled from New Jersey– they couldn’t beat the traffic coming into DC from the hotel and instead RAN through Arlington, over the Key Bridge, past Georgetown and to the Jefferson Memorial– almost 3.5 miles– with barely 5 minutes to spare just to be there. Talk about commitment! My heart is so full I can barely hold it all in.

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Nicole & Dom proposal

Special Thanks

Trevor DeSaussure
Photography