By the time the wedding rolls around, Jeff and Jen will have been together for over 6 years! How time FLIES!!
It all began when the two were crazy concert bootleg collectors who initially met through an online e-mail list for similar people with the same crazy addiction. They kept in touch via e-mail and online chat until December 2002 when they decided to make the relationship official!
Jen picked up Jeff at LAX on his way home from a grueling fall semester at Michigan State University (GO SPARTANS!) and the rest is history!
I kinda had a feeling...
When I first met Jeff online, I was struck by his attention to detail. And his taste in music. Obviously, I knew we'd at least make awesome friends. But when we really started talking back in the Summer of 2002, I had a really good feeling about him. We'd talk for hours on the phone while he was away at school in Michigan, and nothing ever felt forced. Thank goodness I had a job like I did back then--it allowed us to get to know each other COMPLETELY online! And when I met Jeff in person at LAX that December, everything felt right. I remember when Jeff left for school at the end of that winter break...I was heartbroken. But when we both figured out that we were both in it for the longhaul, I felt better.
Jeff completes me. He has qualities that I only WISH I had. He puts his heart into everything, and I can't imagine my life without him.
"..and i'll let your smile just off and carry me."
When I first met Jen online, I was definitely after one thing - MUSIC! I knew we shared a liking of one band, since that was the reason we initially communicated. Time went on and she had been kind enough to help me out with collecting some more bootlegs. As we began talking more frequently since the summer of 2002, I also began having a strong feeling Jen and I would make great friends.
However, I soon began making more and more time for her alongside all that was going on during my time at Michigan State University. As my studies continued, our relationship began to grow and the best thing that could have happened did - we became very close friends.
There was still something inside me that knew I should take that chance. Besides, the odds were in our favor! So, when I met Jen at LAX that December we made it official. One look. One thought. I knew it was the best chance I had taken! Of course, most people never know the other is 'the one' right away, BUT I did know I had a great friend and a blossoming relationship on my hands.
For over six years now, we've been through many ups and downs together and I wouldn't have it any other way. Through it all, though, one thing has remained constant - the feeling I get every time I see her or think of her.
Jen's infectiously upbeat personality and never-ending smile instantly attracted me and is something I wish I could replicate 24/7 within myself. That smile, that look, literally just off and carries me.
She is my other half. She is my better half. In essence, she's shown me how to 'live'. Therefore, I feel extremely lucky for the time we've shared so far...and i fervently await the rest of what life has in store for us.
I don't want to imagine life without her.
The Proposal: Jen's Story
It's a real possibility I may meet you in my dreams
After being together for 4.5 years, I'd figured it was maybe time that we'd get engaged. I've never been the kind of girl that had her wedding planned her entire life, so I never really envisioned how a proposal would go for me.
Back in April of 2006, we'd gone up to Pasadena to visit Jeff's cousins, Dolores and Richard. It was an odd visit, and eventually, Jeff left to go run "errands" with Richard, and I left to go run "errands" with Dolores. We'd made our way to a cute little store in downtown Pasadena, where Dolores asked for my opinions on a variety of jewelry, SOME of which included diamond rings. I got butterflies in my stomach, thinking something might be happening soon.
Obviously, that brings us to July. I'd pretty much forgotten about that day back in April, and Jeff and I were following Pearl Jam on their West Coast tour for their new album. We'd just been to the concert in Las Vegas, and found ourselves in San Diego for the second show of our tour. Everything was going GREAT. We grabbed an early dinner at this little restaurant next to our disgusting hotel, and I remember inhaling a gigantic sub sandwich. We get to the show at San Diego State University's Cox Arena, get our poster, and get inside. The show begins, and it's pretty much perfect. Pearl Jam opens up with their song, Oceans, and the show begins. During the encore, they played Long Road, then lead into Come Back, and that's when it happened. He leaned in and whispered to me that it will never get any better than this...and proposed. I remember crying when I realized what was happening, but I was SO excited when Jeff got on his knee. Of course...he didn't have the ring. But the people around us caught wind of what was going on and congratulated us.
So yeah--No ring. After the show, we went outside and sat down, and I ...Well, I thought Jeff was kidding. I asked him, and he told me of what he went through to try to get the band onboard with his plan...but honestly, it was PERFECT. I can't think of a better, more personalized way he could've done it.
We left San Diego the next morning, had lunch on the pier at San Clemente, and then got home, where he proposed all over again, THIS time, with the ring! And then I thought back to that day back in April, and freaked OUT when I saw that it was the one I'd said I liked in the shop with Dolores...
How could I say no?
The Proposal: Jeff's Story
"..the currents will shift, like me towards you."
After being together for 4.5 years, I'd figured it was maybe time that we'd get engaged.
I began to see that through 4.5 years, Jen and I had grown as a couple and weathered many a sprinkle (if not storm). The notion that there could be a long future between us continued to live on in my head as it compiled.
I figured the one force that brought us together in the first place would obviously play a major role when planning our wedding. This force – music – was naturally the road to take when devising a plan to propose to Jen. I can’t BELIEVE I’m saying this, but, if the rock group Bush was still in existence I would have seriously considered waiting until the next tour to propose…NOT! Seriously, I would have considered. BUT, I figured that a band both of us enjoyed, had a past with each of us and could very well continue forth in the future. I always wanted to hear “our” song. Some envision wedding dresses or cakes, one thing I’ve always envisioned is hearing “that” song live in concert.
Jen and I went to Pasadena around April 2006 to visit my cousin Dolores and her husband Richard to set the plan in motion. Now, since I had never proposed before I was a little bit nervous asking not only questions but for help from them. I kinda wanted to pull it off myself, but, in all fairness, when trying to put together a semi-elaborate proposal you can leave the trepidation at the front door (for all you future husbands out there). Dolores and Richard helped with aplomb and although I was weary Jen may have realized why we went there, I give thanks to them both for making it a success!
Eventually, I left to go run "errands" with Richard and Jen took a leisurely drive with Dolores on her trips about town. This is a somewhat usual thing despite the fact that it didn’t hit me until later that Jen didn’t KNOW it was usual. So, as Richard and I completed actual errands, Jen and Dolores eventually made their way over to a cute little store in downtown Pasadena on Green Street called Lany’s Antique Jewelry where Dolores asked for Jen’s opinions on a variety of suspects for 'others'. Jen later told me she got butterflies in just thinking something might be 'popped' soon. LOL. Little did she know there would be, just not THAT soon. The plan worked. Yet the wait began.
During this time, it was put to task that I would 1) get Pearl Jam to play “Oceans” from their first album, 'Ten' and 2) get the band to dedicate the song to Jen right before I pulled out the ring, went down on one knee and proposed. It would be magical, right?
To propose, I thought since what brought us together in the first place, music, could be the cornerstone of our engagement. For those that know us, we both live to hear music every single day - so I thought a favorite band of ours could suffice to set the stage for a proposal. Radiohead wasn’t touring or even in the studio. Wilco wasn't touring the west coast. Bright Eyes was off somewhere singing to the despondent masses. BUT, Pearl Jam were about to disembark on a tour to support an album that spoke to me about ‘us’. I adore them, plus Jen had come to be re-introduced through me and love them too.
The stage was set and I somehow stumbled my way through asking Mr. Helwich’s permission to marry his daughter. That was the easy part I guess.
So, the ring was procured, the band chosen and the permission given. It was still especially hard on me trying to put together the wherewithal to get a well-known rock band to perform a song DEDICATED to your future fiancé. My only hope was that they’d be touched by the gesture? Perhaps have pity? LOL.
This album and tour seemed to invigorate the boys. New songs brought out a passion I hadn’t seen in a while. Set lists were quite varied, overall and provided for many memories, most of all the reactions from each and every crowd. This
would be a shorter west coast jaunt for me in a long time. Four shows scheduled to set the tone and one chance to get it right. I had requested they play the song during their first night in Los Angeles. It had been well over a decade since they even
played “Oceans” on the west coast, so I had a feeling it would be brought out this tour..only wishing that the stars aligned that night on 07.10.2006. The stars definitely aligned, although on 07.07.2006 at San Diego State
University’s Cox Arena. I was trumped! I was so sure of them playing it the next show in town that I left the ring at the house back in Orange.
I crumbled inside when I heard Ed count off the “1..2..3..4..”. I knew what it was. I had no ring. And the moment passed. Moments passed throughout what would sincerely become the best show I’ve seen them play. The set was brilliant. The audience was brilliant. The stories told were amazing. What I realized was that the stars aligned that whole damn night and before I lost the opportunity I better propose! During the encore, they began with the most heartfelt and passionate version of “Long Road” I’ve experienced.
In tears, the moment enveloped me as they then lead into “Come Back”, one of the finest songs in their repertoire (IMO). That's when it happened. It hit me like a brick. A sensation ran through me as I leaned in and whispered to Jen that it will never get any better than this..that you need to grab hold of those dear to you and not let go...I got on one knee and finally proposed. Of course...I didn't have the ring. We let the crowd clear out and left the venue before proceeding to sit on the steps outside the arena. I was literally exhausted. What happened next was pure comedy.
She asked me if I was kidding. LOL.
All that time, effort and expectation had lifted in a matter of moments. And she asks me if I was kidding.
I told her everything I tried (whether it succeeded or not) to make it memorable and hoped that it would at least make an amusing anecdote at parties.
After having lunch by the pier in San Clemente we continued on the drive home. Once there, I played “Oceans” on the cd player and ‘proposed’ THIS time with the ring.
Despite the forecast, I trust that we’ll always make beautiful music together. BUT…what I know is…how could I say no to a life without her?