Jon and Jenn met a day after ringing in the New Year in 2010. Jenn was out with a group of friends for one of their birthdays and Jon happened to be in Baltimore visiting friends for that one night. As fate would have it, they both wound up at the same place – a fine, karaoke establishment in Canton Square called Walt’s Inn. Both karaoke lovers, Jenn and Jon both did some singing that night, but it was Jenn who started the talking. After Jon finished singing a song (which we cannot remember to this day, but Jon speculates it was “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters) and was walking back to his friends, Jenn smiled and told him “Good job.” Who knew a deep, clever one-liner like that would spur a long-distance relationship, a cross-country move, and a marriage proposal?! Jon was wearing a full leg brace after tearing his ACL a few weeks prior and Jenn can’t ignore a guy in a leg brace… or maybe it was his beard. They got to talking and exchanged phone numbers before they left that night.
When they met, Jenn was living in Baltimore and Jon was living in Morgantown, WV. They were both attending graduate school – Jenn for Publications Design at the University of Baltimore and Jon for Geology at West Virginia University. Anyone that knows us can tell you that grad school equated to SEVERAL late nights of homework and studying. It was during those late nights that Jon and Jenn really started to get to know each other by chatting online. Soon, those online conversations turned into several-hours-long phone dates. And soon, they both knew they wanted to see each other again. Jon came back to Baltimore over the last weekend in April 2010, so they could go on their first official date. That visit led to a few more before Jon headed out west for his 5-week Geology Field Camp trip for school.
Shortly after Jon left for field camp, they both realized they didn’t want to date anyone else, so they made it official. And so began their long-distance relationship. For a year and a half, Jon and Jenn made the four-hour drive between Baltimore and Morgantown (or between LaPlata and Bernville) to see each other and spend time together doing all kinds of stuff – camping, hiking, traveling, going to weddings, football games, get-togethers. While the distance was difficult, they talked by phone every night they were apart and built a strong relationship together. As time went on, though, they knew they didn’t want to live apart much longer. So, they started to make plans for the future which would include a big move.
In November 2011, Jon and Jenn made a cross-country move to live together in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two big steps in one! They settled right in to living together and started enjoying all that Utah had to offer – skiing, biking, camping, hiking, backpacking, even off-roading! They also enjoyed exploring the new city trying out new restaurants, going to shows, etc. As their relationship grew stronger, they knew the next step would be coming soon.
In October 2012, they took a trip to Moab for Jenn’s birthday to do some hiking in Arches National Park. On Sunday morning, they woke up very early and did the hike to Delicate Arch for sunrise. They were the only people at the arch! For a site that is usually packed with tourists, it was a very unlikely and special circumstance to have it to themselves. They sat under the arch together watching the sun rise and in that incredibly romantic moment, Jon knew he couldn’t wait any longer.
On November 17, 2012, over a year after Jon and Jenn moved to Utah and almost three years since they’d met, Jon made plans for the two of them to go on a sleigh ride in a small, picturesque town called Midway, then to take a soak in a nearby natural hot spring that formed inside a crater. Jenn thought maybe they’d get engaged that night, but she wasn’t sure. (For those that don't know Jenn that well, she is very curious --some might call it nosy, but either way... she's kind of hard to surprise.) What she didn’t know was that Jon had been trying to create a golden opportunity to ask Jenn to marry him for almost three weeks. He'd picked the ring up a few Saturdays earlier and wanted to go for a hike the Sunday after, but of course Jenn had to watch the Redskins game. He suggested a hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon the next weekend, but Salt Lake City wound up getting a foot of snow which meant more like four feet in the canyon. He switched up and suggested they go do a less snowy hike to Ensign Peak, but Jenn being the old lady she is didn’t want to drive up the steep hill to where this trail started in the snow. So, when he booked the sleigh ride, Jon figured this would be it. Before leaving, he called Jenn’s dad to ask for his blessing. But when they got to Midway, they discovered the sleigh rides didn’t start running until after Thanksgiving (even though the company had let Jon make this reservation!). So Jon found himself in a little predicament.
They moved their time for the hot spring soak up, but still had about 30 minutes to kill, so they waited in the car. Jenn was disappointed about the sleigh ride and started to think maybe an engagement wouldn’t be happening that night. At this point, Jon figured that Jenn had suspicions about what might happen that evening. He asked her, “What’s wrong?” to which she replied, “Nothing.” But he knew her too well. He asked again until she finally said, “Nothing, it’s stupid. I just thought we might get engaged tonight,” laughing it off as a joke. Lo and behold, after several attempts to create the golden opportunity, the opportunity just presented itself. Seeing this as his only chance to surprise her, Jon said “You wanna marry me?" And Jenn said “Well, yeah.” And the next thing she knew, he was pulling a ring out of his pocket and asking her to marry him! Jenn felt bad that she may have spoiled the surprise, but in the end, it’s a very Jon & Jenn story and something they can look back and laugh about. She said yes, of course, and then they went for a relaxing soak in the hot spring followed by celebratory dinner and drinks in Park City. And the rest, as they say, is history.