Tara and Joe

How we met

It was a cold January night at the Thirsty Penguin in Oakville. Joe & his teammates had recently dominated their Wednesday night game and were upstairs enjoying their usual post-game rewards. Tara had just watched her friends play and was patiently waiting for them when across the room, she spotted Joe. The two locked eyes couldn’t look away for more than a second or two. Love at first sight? Maybe… Instant sparks? Definitely!

In the moment, Tara was a little too shy to walk up and just start talking, after all, he was sitting with 8 or more other testosterone infused guys, which can be slightly intimidating. When her friends finally arrived to meet her, the electricity between her and the “smokin’ hot guy in the sweater-vest” was undeniable, so a messenger was sent, to deliver confirmation of the growing electrical storm, along with Tara’s personal contact details. She was back moments later and the only real intelligence she returned with was a name… Joe.

Not 10 minutes later, Tara’s phone lit up – The voice on the other end said, “Hi, it’s Joe.” He was quite literally a man on a mission and clearly did not want to waste any time. Their first conversation flowed naturally, in fact, it was effortless. Further evidence that something truly special was unfolding, given the somewhat awkward circumstances. Moments later, their first date was set (2-days later). Their first date was definitely a more romantic setting and the adventure began. The Silver Spoon in Oakville is always a great spot for some delicious Viet-Thai cuisine, except perhaps for those less adventurous in their culinary explorations. Tara may not have recognized a single dish on that menu, but the conversation flowed so effortlessly that none of it seemed to matter and neither one of them wanted it to end. Once the staff brought out the vacuum and began shutting off lights, they realized they were the only ones left in the restaurant, so they made a short trip across the street and continued their date with a night-cap at The Keg before calling it a night.

Things continued moving quickly, with the second date literally two days later and not long after, Tara had moved into Joe’s bachelor pad, they adopted their dog Bear and began planning the rest of their lives together.

how he asked

Joe and Tara’s engagement story has all the hallmarks of a great love story. Romance, heart pounding anxiety, tear-jerking emotion, United States Customs delays and of course, paralyzing fear. Tara had been selected for a trip to Hollywood Beach Florida, as part of her company’s 2014 service excellence awards; a very important trip, honoring the best of the best from her company each year. With Joe as her stow-away, they were headed to sunny Florida for 5-days. What Tara didn’t know, was that Joe had spent the previous 6-months custom designing the ring of her dreams and planning for the perfect moment to ask for her hand in marriage.

You see, Joe had weathered the storm of not-so-subtle hints, incessant nagging and seemingly endless episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress”, that continue to haunt his dreams to this day. Tara had finally relented, put the wedding magazines away and began focusing on other important aspects of their future together. The plan was coming together perfectly. Unfortunately, plans like these rarely play out as perfectly as they had been planned and are often laden with unforeseen obstacles. Even with all the planning and attention to detail, the ring had not been completed in time for Joe to carry with him to Florida however, his jeweler assured him there were only finishing touches left to complete and the ring would be overnighted to the hotel for his arrival… After multiple very anxious calls with FedEx and U.S. Customs, the ring finally arrived on day-two of the trip and was tucked away in one of the hotel’s safety deposit boxes.

On their second last day in Florida, Joe planned a day-trip to South Beach Miami, so with the ring smuggled out of the hotel in an empty Starbucks cup, they jumped in a cab and were on Ocean Drive within the hour. Somewhere along the way, Joe managed to stash the ring in the beach bag, which would later explain his unusual obsession with that bag throughout the day. Lunch, shopping, several hours at the beach, even an awkward wardrobe change at Starbucks and Joe guarded that bag like a dog’s favorite bone. As day turned to night, Tara’s growing hunger began turning to “hanger”, as her patience started to fade with Joe’s fixation on finding the perfect dinner venue.

The place, as it turned out, was Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill, at The Standard Spa & Hotel. They sat on the water’s edge, on a beautifully clear night, for what was an amazing dinning experience overlooking Biscayne Bay. Between, dinner and desert, Tara saw that Joe had found his way from the men’s room to the bar, where she saw him chatting with the bartender and what appeared to be possibly the restaurant manager. She watched as he chatted, took in a few minutes of the Miami Heat playoff game, being played just across the bay, and threw back what he later told her was a shot of tequila… Most people might have suspected something at that point, but all of this seemed to be fairly normal behavior for Joe, so Tara thought nothing of it.

Even with the brief and most certainly awkward speech given shortly after his return to the table, Tara still didn’t suspect Joe was up to anything out of the ordinary. It wasn’t until Joe was actually down on one knee, asking the love of his life to spend forever with him, that it all became real. Tara was so overcome with emotion, she was barely able to speak… When she finally did, she said Yes! And they were lucky enough to have another couple sitting near them capture some of the sweet moments on camera. Miami will always hold a special place in their hearts and a future reservation at Lido is a sure bet.

Special Thanks