We first met in 2006, while both so young. A summer romance turned into a long distance relationship that became even further distance during my semester in Italy. We parted ways for a little while but were reunited after I graduated with my master’s degree, and had our first date near where we grew up—a lovely state park called Bear Mountain. Despite the rain, it was enough to get us back together. We have been together since—three years now, and Joe still lives in Philadelphia and I in New York—but our love knows no distance and the day finally came where I had to make it known that we were meant to be together forever. This is the story of how I proposed ….

The big day finally arrived, June 29. Lots of nerves and fresh off an interview in Philly, I went to work that Friday morning with a million things going through my head. I took a half day and Joe was working from home at my apartment (he was having a super stressful week and kind of grumpy). Having a hard time focusing myself, I left in the afternoon and ran some errands on my way home.

All along, I had told Joe that I had a surprise in store for him, but had made no mention of what it was to be yet. He was certainly getting anxious and curious about it and was very surprised (and stubborn) about getting a little dressed up, especially cause it was in the mid-90s that day! He kept pestering me about it to the point he even jokingly asked “Oh my God, are you going to propose to me!?” and being my cool, smooth self I nonchalantly responded “No, you’re silly!” and brushed it off.

As the afternoon passed, I started to secretly prepare the appetizers I bought from the market. Cheeses and hummus went into a new picnic basket, as well as a chilled bottle of wine we brought home from Napa. I also gathered my overnight bag, which was secretly packed and hiding in my closet. Taking the car, I picked up the dinner that I pre-ordered from a classy restaurant in town and then made my last stop at a cute cupcake bakery in town. I bought four delicious-looking cupcakes and one empty single serve-sized cupcake box … yup, for the ring!

With all the goodies in the trunk, I picked up Joe and started driving upstate. He was very curiously calculating our destination possibilities as we drove north. I tried to keep him guessing all the way up there, but it was when we pulled up to the park that made it clear—fireworks at Bear Mountain. He was happy, and then surprised again when I told the parking attendant we were going to be guests for the night. Confused by all the fuss, Joe followed along as we checked into the inn. We get the food from the car and head over to a quiet spot, overlooking the lake, the soon to be setting sun, and the peace of the park.

We drank the wine and ate our snacks. Course by course we became more and more full. The food was good and the wine took the edge off. He continued to be confused about the choice of attire and my “Taylor Swift music video” atmosphere, but finally after an hour, he had relaxed and was enjoying the shade. Right on time with my plan, at about 8 p.m., as the sun was setting behind the mountain, I asked Joe if he wanted dessert. Knowing he would never refuse a cupcake, I opened the box and showed him the four yummy cupcakes I had picked out. But before he could dig in, I told him I had one special dessert he had to eat first, and that it was just for him …

I grabbed the single-serve cupcake box and sat up close, right next to him. With lots of pauses and crazy butterfly nerves, I told him that I love him and how much the past years have been amazing with him a part of my life, and then I froze as I opened the box. Inside, sat the ring box and Joe’s face immediately filled with surprise! I pulled the box out and opened it, and asked him to marry me. Stunned, he said yes!

Then I got out a matching ring I had stashed and we both put the rings on our right hands. As the shock started to fade, I reveal to Joe that I had hired a photographer who had been secretly taking our picture for the last half hour! We then had the chance to go around the park and take photos to document the day. Taking advantage of the park’s beauty (and dabbing the sweat from our faces), we snapped plenty of pictures!

As the sun dipped below the horizon and the photographer left, we found my friends who had been saving us a spot to watch the fireworks. Finally catching our breath, we got to relax and just enjoy the moment. With Champagne and cupcakes, we watched as the sky was filled with a great show. After the finale, we headed up to our room at the inn, still in shock and excitement!

We plan to get married in our hometown in the Hudson Valley in 2014.


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