We always joke about how cliche our story is when asked how we met... A wedding. My best friend married his cousin.
We met in Albany, NY in November 2006 at Krystyn and Bob LaBate's wedding, Dominick was a groomsman, I was a bridesmaid. Each being without dates, we spent most of the evening together dancing and getting to know one another. Dominick will tell you I 'stalked' him... I say otherwise ;)
Unfortunately I had to go home to St. Louis early the next morning. Unable to deny the connection we seemed to have, we spent the next month communicating through email and the occaisional phone call. Finally in January 2007, I returned to Albany to visit to see if this was the real deal. We had an incredible few days, then I had to leave for my life in St. Louis again. Both realizing that this was something special, we spent the next 5 months flying back and forth until I decided to quit my job, sell my house, pack up the dogs and move back to Albany. Best decision I ever made...
So thank you Krystyn and Bob for getting married... it's all your fault ;)
I have known for a long time that Carolyn was the woman that I wanted to marry, I just wasn’t sure how I was going to do it. I had thought about going to the city and proposing as the snow fell in Central Park, “finding” the diamond while digging in the sand at a beach, or asking her to marry me in Napa Valley surrounded by vineyards. Though these were all good ideas, none of them ever worked out.
When the opportunity came for me to travel with Carolyn to St Louis, I knew that this would be the perfect time for two reasons 1) I could ask her father, John, for his blessing face to face, "mano e mano" and 2) Carolyn and her mother Sue are very close and if there is ever a time when a mother and daughter should be be together, its definitely at the time of her engagement. So my mind was made up as to when I was going to do it, but I wasn’t sure how... that is until I was driving to work on Tuesday morning and we were leaving the next day at 6am (my mother always called me a procrastinator). Then it hit me, Carolyn has always been fond of things that trigger memories, so I knew that I wanted to make her a scrapbook that she would always be able to look at and remember the night we got engaged. So I pulled into AC Moore, loaded up bags of scrapbooking materials and locked myself in my office at the restaurant until it was done. And when it was, I started to get choked up and knew that the next 36 hours would be tough.
So here it is Wednesday morning and we are in line at Albany International Airport... my heart is beating out of my chest with angst that the ring may trigger the metal detectors and we will have to tell everyone that we got engaged halfway through airport security barefoot and beltless, while the people behind us start “the slow clap”. I made it through with no problem and we were off to St Louis. Carolyn wanted to cook a dinner for her parents that night and I knew I wanted to wait until it was just the two of us. So we spent the afternoon preparing a delicious meal at Chez Yodis. What was it? I thought you would never ask.
Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with Vodka Crème Fraiche on a Sesame Cracker
U4 Shrimp Cocktail with wasabi cocktail sauce
Caprese Salad with 25 yr Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
Grilled Ribeye of Beef with Cipollini, wild Mushroom ,Gorgonzola Gratin
Kolak Pisang (Indonesian Bananas Foster)
Torii Mor Pinot Noir 2006
Pichler Gruner Veltliner 2007
So we enjoyed the dinner and Carolyn went off to meet with friends while I stayed back at the house with John and Sue. This was it, now or never, "do or die". Well maybe not die, but I was starting to feel the heat. The moment came when John was carrying some ham radio equipment downstairs, so I grabbed a box and followed him down. I had a whole speech planned about how much I cared for Carolyn and how I couldn’t wait to start a family with her and how happy I have been since I met her. What came out was more like… "IluvyurdaughttercanIhaveyourblessingforherhandinmarriage". To which John said yes and then opened up a bottle of Stoli Elit that I had given him a year and a half earlier when I first met him, and we had a shot, and then another one.
Okay, phase one complete. Now I was off to pick up Carolyn and on the way back we started to talk about our future wedding and how I would like to wait until fall to get engaged because I would have more money (sneaky, I know).
We get back to her parents house, and I ran into her bedroom while she was elsewhere in the house. I cue up “our song”, pull a bottle of Perrier Jouet from the fridge, which I surreptitiously hid in the afternoon, put the scrapbook on the bed, and tried not to hyperventilate. (inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.....)
She came in and asked “what’s this?” pointing to the scrap book. “I made you something, open it” I said.
She began to flip the pages forward looking at memories from our first 2 years together, holidays, vacations, parties and of course Yankees games, until the book had no more pictures. “One more page” I said, and on that page was a fake diamond ring with a note that said “Baby, will you spend the rest of your life filling this book with me?” I dropped to a knee, pulled the ring out of my pocket and mumbled, “BabypleasemarrymeIloveyou” and then I began to sob like a 12 year old girl at a Hannah Montana concert, as did my newly blinged out fiancee. I’m pretty sure she said yes ;-)
And as they say, the rest is history!