How did you meet?
Josh and I first met on Friday, June 23, 2017. We had lunch at Sweet Waters Steakhouse in my hometown of Westfield, NJ. I remember walking around the corner and seeing him outside of the restaurant. Even from afar, my first reaction was: “Wow! This guy is attractive.” He hugged me and we sat down at a table outside. It was a grey and muggy afternoon. Covered by an awning, with the rain drizzling all around us, we began talking. Our conversation flowed so naturally. I felt like I had known Josh my entire life, yet, it was only our first meeting. He ordered French onion soup and a Caesar Salad. I ordered a grilled chicken salad. Some of the first things I learned about Josh that day were: He’s a slow eater! And a great conversationalist. Time was flying. I realized my meter was running low, so I left the table to add some coins. As I walked back to the parking lot, I realized that I didn’t want our date to end. I wanted to keep talking to Josh and getting to know him. He radiated so much positive energy and our lifestyles aligned, perfectly. We were both teachers, who loved animals, art, Rutgers, food and traveling the world.We finished our coffee amid more laugher and conversation. Then, I hugged Josh goodbye. He said: “I’d love to do this again sometime. Let me know if you’re ever out in Morristown.” I smiled and nodded my head. “Okay.” On my drive home, I already missed Josh. About 24 hours later, I got a text that made my heart light up. Josh said I was one of the coolest girls he’s met in a while, and that he’d love to see me again. And thus, began the love story both of us had been waiting to write, for our entire lives.
Over the summer of 2017, Josh and I grew even closer. Shortly after our first date, I went on a family trip to Aruba. Josh and I texted and FaceTimed everyday. When I returned home, I brought him back a ceramic windmill, and we spent as much time together as we possibly could. Our earlier dates included seeing “Wonder Woman,” getting Mexican food at Tinga and having frozen yogurt on a park bench. I showed Josh around my hometown, introducing him to my mom and dogs. Josh also gave me a tour of Morristown. We hiked around Fort Nonsense, traversed suburban streets with colonial homes and gardens, frequented local eateries, swam at The Kellogg Club and saw “Blues Traveler” live at the Mayo Performing Arts center in Morristown. I caught lead-singer, John Popper’s, harmonica that still resides on our fireplace mantle.
Between our dating life, and getting to know each other’s families and friends, I was busy traveling to Europe. My first trip was to Manchester and London, with my best friend, Marlene. Josh came to my “bon voyage” party at my mom’s house the night before I left. We had a home-cooked meal and watched “The Bachelorette” in my basement. Josh blended in, so naturally, with my friends and family; I was beyond proud to introduce him to everyone as my boyfriend.
I embarked for the airport the following afternoon. After I landed in Manchester, Josh and I maintained our long conversations every day of my trip. He wanted to hear about my adventures and see how I was feeling. On the last leg of our journey to London, he even “met” Marlene a few times, via blurry FaceTime video-chats in the Wifi-less basement of our airbnb. When I landed in Newark airport, guess who was there to pick me up? Yes. My future husband. Although it was still early on in our relationship, I already saw husband-like qualities in Josh. His genuine caring for me, heart of gold and winning personality were just some of the many traits I absolutely loved about him.
After I returned from England, Josh and I continued seeing one another as often as we could. I went to his school and helped him finish painting a mural. We had a whimsical and artsy breakfast of avocado toast and chocolate cashew tarts at The Artist Baker in Morristown. We visited New Hope and Lambertville (where I lost an earring and Josh lost his goggles). The pinnacle of our summer was the trip we took together to Rockport, Maine. We left at 4:45 a.m. to begin a 10-hour drive, listening to books on audible and alternating playlists from one another’s phones. I remember feeding Josh honey-pecan-baklava protein bars and spoonfuls of Dannon yogurt. We snacked and laughed the whole drive up. And we scarfed down two lobster rolls, French fries and coleslaw when we finally arrived at our destination. Those 10 days in Maine with Josh’s family were so memorable and beautiful. Josh showed me all of his favorite places, as he had vacationed there with his family since his childhood.
Food highlights include: lobster rolls for lunch, scones and blueberry pie, steak-frites, pancakes and Thai cuisine. Adventure highlights include: hiking Mount Battie, visiting local art museums, seeing a photography lecture at the Rockport opera house, kayaking around the harbor and a weekend excursion to Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park. Sentimental highlights include: throwing a frisbee in the backyard with Josh’s parents, and watching movies every night while drinking Rioja red wine.
We ended our Maine trip with three nights in Boston, which were equally amazing! Josh showed me around the city, and we stayed at his favorite b&b, The Newbury Guest House. We enjoyed exploring, eating traditional Spanish tapas at Tapeo and seeing the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum.
At the end of August, I went on my final trip to Ireland, with my close college friend, Laura. Before I left, Josh came over and we all had lunch together. On the airplane, Laura told me how compatible Josh and I are together. She said that we are both so happy and compliment one another well, as we are nice, funny and easy going. Amidst turbulence (and Laura guiding me through deep yoga breaths), she told me to mark her words – that I was going to marry this man. Upon returning home from the Emerald Isle, Josh picked Laura and I up from Newark airport. Jet-lagged, and bearing a woolen sweater for Josh in my carry-on luggage, I hugged him. My heart set afire. The love I felt was undeniable and growing.
We finished off the summer on a high note, seeing Counting Crows & Matchbox 20 at the PNC arts center. We also took a day trip to the jersey shore. Then, before we knew it, September emerged. Our academic years began, and shortly afterwards, on October 13, 2017 – I moved into Josh’s apartment, where we currently reside, happily.
How did you get engaged?
I woke up on Saturday, December 2, 2017 with a heart so bright, that I had to wear my neon pink sweater to match the feeling. A week ago, Josh and I looked at engagement rings together. He purchased the most beautiful one I could have ever imagined. After trying it on once, I couldn’t wait to wear it forever! So, did I know this engagement was coming? Yes. But, did I know exactly how Josh was going to propose? Not quite. He mentioned wanting to go into the city to see two art shows at the MET. I knew he planned to make the proposal memorable, possibly popping the question in New York. So, we hopped the 10:23 a.m. train from Morristown. Before we left, I tried to get the ring off my finger with soap, Windex and cold water. It only seemed logical for Josh to propose with the ring in its rightful box. I had worn it the previous evening to my work holiday party (and already told the soon-to-be-publicized news to a few colleagues). Alas, the ring was not budging – so we left our apartment and went to the train station. Spoiler alert: I was proposed to, already wearing my engagement ring – a story for the grandkids! It was about 10:21 a.m. The train was coming, and the ticket line was too long for us to keep waiting. So we boarded, ticketless. A friendly conductor suggested downloading an app called mytix, and we were set for our roundtrip within minutes.
When we got off the train at Penn Station, we took a cab to the MET Breuer. Our driver told us that President Trump was in the city, which (partially) explained the excessive traffic. The holiday season, alone, was the other culprit. When we left the car, a policeman told us we had missed Trump’s motorcade procession by seconds! Our afternoon adventure continued with lunch at the museum’s fancy café, Flora. We both ordered the egg and cheese sandwich with tomato chutney and pickled green tomatoes. “Would you like some bread and butter while you wait?” I almost interrupted the waiter with my exuberant “YES.” Another server came to clear our bread plates. When he asked if he could get us anything else, or perhaps dessert, I replied: “Just the food. Whenever it’s ready.” Josh laughed. I was so hungry!
After lunch, we checked out the Edvard Munch display, which was awesome. I marveled at his dark, unique style. We then proceeded to the larger MET museum, where there was an exclusive David Hockney exhibit. We walked around for a bit. It appeared as if Josh was scoping out potential proposal places. The museum was pretty crowded, and after passing through exhibits of Egyptian hieroglyphs, sculptures and the Temple of Dendur, we went back outside. Josh took my hand and led me in the direction of Central Park.
On the walk there, I saw Josh tear up and breathe more heavily. I stopped to kiss him and say that I loved him. It was about 3:00 p.m. and the weather was beautiful. It was unseasonably warm for early December – about 50 degrees, with vibrant leaves still coloring the famous park. Josh asked a friendly couple which way the pond was, with the view of Belvedere castle. “This is it. The castle is right back that way,” the woman said, pointing straight. My heart began to race. It must be coming, I thought to myself.
We proceeded towards the pond and Josh had me sit down on a rock. It was quiet and peaceful. He got down on one knee. As Josh began to speak, I realized that I couldn’t feel my hands – in the best way possible. They were tingly. My most beautiful dream was finally becoming a reality. And I had imagined it since I was a little girl – fantasizing about my prince, and praying so hard for him to find me, sweep me off my feet, promising to love me, unconditionally and endlessly.
December 2nd will always equate to the day that I was blessed with everything I ever wanted. Josh was asking me to spend the rest of my life with him, using beautiful comparisons to ourselves and the stars, the universe and how lucky we were to have found each other. He promised he would never love anyone else, and that I would be the last person he ever kissed. As I absorbed all of these words, and watched the tears in Josh’s eyes, I couldn’t help but start crying, myself. There I was: next to the greatest man in the world, who would soon be my husband…who I have waited for – patiently and longingly – for 25 years. He held up the empty ring box. Pointing to the ring, already residing on my finger, Josh told me that it symbolized his forever love. I will now wear this beautiful emblem on my finger, until the last day of my life. It is a constant reminder of the day Josh proposed; a day I will never forget – a day that could not have been any more perfect.
Details of the day!
Our wedding took place on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Spring Lake, NJ. The bridesmaids wore cloudy blue, off-the-shoulder dresses and my Maid of Honor (and younger sister, Alana) wore a halter dress in the same color. Josh wore a dark blue Hugo boss suit with a cloudy blue tie to match the bridal party. Our groomsmen wore white button-down collared shirts with a light blue boutonniere and light khaki pants. Our theme was: a classic, laid-back jersey shore beach wedding! Our table centerpieces were turquoise burlap wreaths and candles filled with sand and seashells. To be creative, we chose table names relating to the beach (some including: sunrise, sunset, waves, surfer, dolphin and anchor). Our guestbook was shipped from the Ukraine and included a rustic wooden cover, blue string, and real shells in the shape of an anchor. The ceremony itself took place at the Huisman Gazebo, overlooking Silver Lake in Belmar, NJ. We had a beautiful flower arch and a long white aisle runner, adorned with shells and pebbles. Bridesmaids carried bouquets of white roses, embellished with cloudy blue ribbons, as violin covers of our favorite songs played gently in the background. After our ceremony, I swapped my veil for a flower crown, which created an even more relaxed and and nature-centric vibe.
Why did you choose your venue?
We chose The Breakers on the Ocean because we knew we wanted a beach wedding, and Spring Lake is one of our favorite places on the Jersey Shore. The venue itself is cozy and classy, and it provides lovely views of the ocean! Also, having our cocktail hour on the porch overlooking the beach was a definite highlight for ourselves and our guests.
What was on your menu?
Our cocktail hour included:
Miniature crab cakes
Sexy fries served in paper cone (sprinkled with Italian white truffle oil & Sicilian sea salt)
Shrimp salad on a Melba round
Crudités: A variety of fresh cut garden vegetables & dipping sauces
Cheese Board: A fine assortment of imported, local & artisanal cheeses to include brie, cheddar, smoked Gouda, Boursin, Swiss & havarti dill garnished with fresh seasonal berries served with crackers.
Fresh Fruit Display: A fine assortment of fresh seasonal fruit and berries
Our reception included:
Breakers Signature Salad
Seasonal appetizer – chilled gazpacho
Classic chicken francaise
Poached Atlantic salmon with whole grain mustard dill sauce or lemon butter sauce
Slow Roasted Prime Rib of Beef, au jus
Vegetarian – stuffed mushroom
For dessert, we selected a yellow cake with buttercream frosting, and chocolate fudge/fresh fruit filling (strawberry and banana). It was absolutely delicious. The embellishments of edible sea grass and white-chocolate shells were both artistic and decadent. One of our guests raved that it was the best cake they had ever tasted!
All about your gown!
My gown was a mermaid style. It was perfect for a beach wedding! The second I tried it on, I knew it was “the one” because I felt like a princess. It was absolutely stunning and fit like a glove! It’s funny because it was not the dress I expected to buy, initially. I went in with something totally different in mind!
What was your favorite moment?
My favorite moment was walking down the aisle, accompanied by my mom, and seeing Josh crying from afar. It was so emotional and sent chills down my spine.
One detail you couldn’t live without?
Two details that really stood out for us were: writing our own personal vows to each other and having Josh’s father, Michael, officiate our wedding ceremony.
Did anything go wrong?
Nothing went wrong! We were blessed with the most beautiful and perfect wedding day imaginable.
First dance song?
Our first dance song was “Crash into Me” by the Dave Matthews Band.
Any advice for future brides?
My advice for other brides would be to relax and enjoy every second of their big day, because it all flies by quicker than you could even imagine!
Where did you honeymoon?
Our honeymoon will be in Mykonos and Santorini, Greece!