Since their first date on May 19, 2008 Christine and Jeffrey knew that their "newly formed" relationship would definitely lead to marriage.
Jeffrey: "You know what this means, right?"
Christine: "What does it mean?"
Jeffrey: "We are getting married."
Christine: I knew what he meant. From that moment, I started planning the wedding, who wouldn't?"
We didn't talk about getting engaged. The night we had dinner with Christine's parents in Brigantine, her Dad stated at the dinner table, "Jeffrey just asked for Christine's hand in marriage and I give this marriage my blessing." We were both surprised by this statement. Christine was surprised because it was very out of the blue. Jeffrey was surprised because he did his best to keep his entire engagement plan off the radar. Jeffrey assured her that he was merely getting permission so that when he eventually asked, all the i's were dotted and t's were crossed. Thankfully she totally bought it, disaster averted, secrecy maintained.
A week later Jeffrey and Christine were off to our "Villanova reality tour," that we had planned the month before. We were planning on going to Villanova, Windermere Apartments (where Christine had lived after graduating), and possibly stop at the Willows Park (where we had met in 2000). We also planned on meeting Chrissy to have dinner in Phoenixville, PA where a new friend of ours worked.
The day was planned and Christine had an idea to pack a picnic lunch that she thought we would eat at Villanova. After our first visits of the day - Wawa and Windermere in Wayne - we were going to head over to Villanova for our lunch when Jeffrey suddenly realized that it was a school day and it would be busy finding a place to eat. He had an idea to eat our lunch at the Willows.
That sounded fine with Christine, and she was happy to have an alternative to what would be a very crowded Villanova. So, we went to the Willows in Radnor, the place of our first meeting. What a beautiful place to have as part of our history. The weather was just right - sunny, bright, warm. We ate our lunch, she made a fancy spread of chicken salad with grapes and pecans, tortelini salad, cheese and crackers, Wawa iced tea, and red velvet cake for dessert. Christine remembers thinking (she will admit this now), as we sat at our picnic table in our deserted park, what a perfect day it would be for Jeffrey to propose - but she never in a million years would have guessed he was going to.
Jeffrey was thinking how perfect it all was that he was able to get them to the Willows Park, exactly where he wanted to propose. Not only did he suggest a month ago to have a "Villanova reality tour" because he wanted to propose at the Willows, he ordered and purchased the ring so he would have it for this perfect moment.
After our lunch Jeffrey then suggested a walk around the grounds. The Willows Mansion has beautiful grounds as you can see by the pictures. We ended up finding a bench under a willow tree that was on its own little island. We went to sit at the bench and enjoy the view of the fountains in the lake. Jeffrey's heart was beating much faster than normal. Luckily he maintained his normal calm facade, but Christine didn't notice, she was still totally unaware of what Jeffrey knew was about to happen.
We decided to take a few pictures to document our trip. The bridge was a perfect camera stand for the automatic timer. Jeffrey suggested we get some video so Christine set the camera up and started recording. Just as Christine was about to shut the camera off, Jeffrey said, there is one more thing that we should record and got down on his knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring Christine had ever seen and asked Christine to marry him.
Christine: "I was blown away."
We stayed like that for at least two minutes. We waited months to watch the video and have only watched it once. We both felt that Christine was in shock and so happy. Of course she said yes and even said those cheesy lines from that jewlery commercial, "I love this man, I love this man, I love this man."
Christine: "I would have to say it might be the only time in my life that I was rendered speechless."
We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting and talking on what Christine started to call, "Proposal Island." Then we called our Moms and brothers and sisters and texted everyone else. It is pretty exhausting contacting everyone you know. As we were leaving the park to go to Villanova there was a man walking a toddler and Christine asked him to take our picture and he was the first person she told him of our good news. We're not ever sure if he cared :-)
We met Chrissy at Villanova, took some more pictures and then headed to Phoenixville where we had champagne and dinner at the Black Lab Bistro. The service was wonderful because we were taken care of by our friend Charles. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day.
Christine: "When I think back on September 5th, I still can't believe that Jeffrey was able to surprise me like that."
Jeffrey: "I had been planning that day for at least a solid month and been thinking about it for even longer."
Since the engagement we have had the ring cleaned at the jewler's twice and Christine even got to meet the wonderful woman who helped and sold Jeffrey her perfect princess cut ring.
Christine: "I am the luckiest and most blessed woman in the world to have such a romantic and sensitive man and also a very large diamond that I proudly plan on wearing on my left ring finger for ever."
Jeffrey: "I'm so glad to be marrying the most thoughtful, beautiful, caring, loving woman in the world and I can't wait to spend the rest of our lives together"