It was a setup, the meeting in the coffee shop that day. Only Joshua didn't see it coming. In fact, he had no idea. It had been a difficult few weeks for him, he had recently lost a close relative and wasn't much in the mood for social gatherings. He had agreed to meet his friend and his friend's girlfriend for coffee. That was going to be the total number of people in attendance, as far as he knew. And that was just fine with him. He could be himself with them, he could relax. That's exactly what he needed. Or, at least that's what he thought he needed.
He was sitting at a table in the coffee shop with his friend when Alice walked in. She was with Joshua's friend's girlfriend and joined them at their table. He knew pretty much right away what was happening. This was a set up. His friend knew that Joshua wasn't even thinking much about dating right now, but he had invited Alice along anyway. If Joshua's surprise and/or apprehension about a set up was displayed on his face, it didn't prevent Alice from flashing her usual bright smile at him. That caught Joshua's attention. That smile set the tone. The four of them sat and talked, with Joshua not saying much right away. He wasn't quite in a lets-get-to-know-each-other kind of mood. But as Alice talked, his mood started to change. Alice knew what Joshua was going through and was understanding and sweet. She talked to him, asked him about what he was interested in. She got him to smile. He got her to laugh. And when Alice laughed, Joshua felt a weight being lifted.
As Alice and Joshua discovered they had a bunch of things in common, it became pretty clear why the set up had been arranged. Why they had thought he needed to meet Alice. Because she gave him a reason to smile. He could be himself around her. He could relax. She was exactly what he needed. Sometimes a true friend knows you even better than you know yourself. Sometimes they know exactly what you need, and they bring it to you when you least expect it.
It was a crowded party in a small New York City apartment. Music was playing, drinks were flowing, the room was abuzz with small talk and laughter. In an instant all of that seemed to fade away when the eyes of two strangers met across the room. Stu had no idea who that gorgeous woman with the long blonde hair and incredible smile was, but he did know that he had to at least learn her name. She was so beautiful, he almost hesitated before going to talk to her. But then he didn't. When Emma spotted the tall stranger with the thick black hair and honest eyes leaning on a wall across the way, she almost looked away out of shyness. But then she didn't. Emma met his gaze and smiled. Stu made his way across the room and introduced himself. It was as though something stronger than themselves was pushing them to step outside their comfort zones, to take a chance. Because there was clearly a reason they happened to be at the same place at the same time that evening. This was NYC, after all. Chance encounters do happen, of course, but they rarely lead to something meaningful. And it was clear from that first glance, that this was something special.
Emma says she knew that Stu was the one for her after their very first trip together. They flew from NYC to the West Coast, not far from where she had grown up in Oregon, to drive up the California coast. From Big Sur to Sonoma, it was just the two of them, side-by-side in a rental car and miles of coastline stretched out before them. The trip could have tested their relationship, hours in a car together could have been too much. But it was exactly the opposite. It strengthened them. During that trip, Emma looked at Stu and knew, with a certainty, that this is exactly what she wanted. To go on adventures with this handsome man she had met at a party one night. To build a life together with this man that had become the first person she wanted to talk to when she had any news - good or bad. To spend every day with the man who had made her life infinitely better, simply by being a part of it.
To give an idea of just how sweetly romantic Stu is in general, on the day that he planned to propose Emma had no idea that it was about to happen. Even though Stu had packed a picnic lunch (complete with lobster rolls) and suggested that they sit on Hudson Pier to enjoy their lunch, take in the view of lower Manhattan and the Hudson River and just be. While that might have been an indication that something was up for other ladies, for Emma, this wasn't unusual. Because romantic picnics on the pier? That was just something they did. Like on a regular basis. So it probably comes as no surprise that when Stu popped the question on the pier that day Emma said yes as quickly as she could. She had known Stu was the one back on that trip on the California coast. In the time that followed, he had just reinforced her decision. He made her fall even more in love with him with each passing day.
Since the night of that crowded party in that small New York City apartment, they both knew deep down there was something about that stranger across the room. And not a day has gone by that she hasn't been grateful that she smiled at that handsome man with the dark hair and that he is so glad he introduced himself to the beautiful blonde with the bright smile. It was a chance meeting. It has lead to something wonderful. And this is just the beginning.
Emma & Stu, thank you for showing us some of your favorite spots in NYC, for braving the cold and look fabulous while doing it, and for introducing us to your sweet story. We can't wait till your wedding next month.
It's an old adage that anything worth having is also worth the hard work it might take to get it. For Bobby, getting Jessica to agree to go out was definitely work. But it was also definitely worth it.
They met at Manhattan College when they were both students and happened to share a few of the same friends. Their paths crossed, but after that first meeting, Jessica wasn't interested. In fact, she wasn't sure how much she liked Bobby in general. But that was just because she didn't know him yet. And as far as Bobby was concerned, that was an easy fix. So he set out getting to know her and found ways for her to get to know him better in the process. Pretty soon, he had changed her mind. Jess realized that not only did she like Bobby, but she also really enjoyed spending time with him. He made her laugh and just being around him felt right.
If you ask Bobby today how he got her to change her mind all those years ago, he has a one-word answer, "Persistence." Jess looks at him and laughs, then she says that he wore her down as she looks up at him and gently touches his arm. In that one small exchange, you can see exactly why Bobby worked so hard. You can see why Jess changed her mind.
Because what they have together is definitely worth all the persistence. It is worth all the hard work. Because the kind of love they have found in one another isn't something that's just handed to you. But it's always worth it.
Jess & Bobby, thank you so much for spending the day and braving the cold & SNOW in Central Park. It was totally worth it! :) Can't wait for your wedding, it's going to be fantastic!
It was a spark that was lit years ago. Over a decade ago, actually, when Kelly and John met as kids. She was the pretty girl who happened to be the best friend of his cousin. He was the funny boy who made her laugh when they all hung out together. There was something about him, she noticed. He was different than the other boys she knew. They liked each other, even then. Even at an age when you are tentative to admit your feelings, when the very idea of even talking to the opposite sex just might be enough to make you break out into a sweat - he asked her out on a date. That first "date" wasn't particularly romantic - ten year olds don't exactly specialize in romance, after all. But they both still remember it. There weren't many more dates, mostly they talked on the phone. The spark had seemed to fizzle out.
Flash forward to twelve years later when their paths cross again. They happen to be at the same restaurant at the same time. Kelly spots John from across the room. She's drawn to him, heading over to say hello. His smile is so familiar. He remembers her laugh. They talk, they reminiscence. In some ways, it's like they picked right up where they had left off. Their next first date was decidedly different than the first one was. This time, their romance wouldn't be so short-lived. The spark had been reignited.
On a cold Christmas Eve last year, John invited Kelly to join him for a walk outside. She was hesitant because staying inside the warm house sounded so much more appealing, but she eventually gave in. Hand-in-hand he walked her to a special spot he had selected. She wouldn't feel so cold anymore. There, he had built a fire just for her. But it was more than just a fire, more than the collection of candles surrounding them. It was the cumulation of more than a decade of circling one another's lives. The spark that had been lit so many years before had brought them to this place in time, led them to find one another again when the timing was right. With their song playing in the background, John got down on one knee and asked Kelly to be his wife. She gave the same answer she had given so many years before when he first asked her out. It was first yes that had set them out on this path. The one she gave that night by the fire, that yes will lead them onto their next path together - the one they take together as husband and wife.
A gathering of two families brought them together for the first time. Lisa's sister Heather was dating a new guy named Kenny and was serious enough about him to invite his family to meet her own. It was a casual introduction, Kenny's family came to watch Heather play in a softball game. Lisa was just 17 years old at the time and like most teenagers she was more dedicated to hanging out with her friends than meeting her sister's potential new family. But there was one of Kenny's family members that Lisa did notice. His name was Josh and he was Kenny's cousin. Handsome and funny with an infectious laugh and a bright smile meeting Josh is the main thing Lisa remembers from that day.
But being 17 years old, Lisa wasn't really looking for a serious relationship back then. After all, at 17 you don't even really know what you might want in a relationship. But you do definitely know what you like. And, in Josh, Lisa saw something that she liked. Josh doesn't remember that first introduction quite so vividly, but Lisa definitely caught his eye in the many other family gatherings in the years that followed.
Several years later, when Lisa and Josh were both in college (two hours away from one another) Heather and Kenny decided to play matchmaker. This was most likely prompted by years of observing Lisa and Josh's attraction to one another. A trip to an amusement park up by Josh's school in Massachusetts was the excuse to bring them all together. Heather and Kenny just happened to have four tickets and invited Lisa and Josh along with them. That day, Lisa and Josh really got to know each other for the first time. They talked, they laughed and they both felt an instant connection that was undeniable. The next day, after gushing to all her friends about how amazing Josh was, Lisa discovered that she had left her makeup bag behind at Josh's school. He immediately volunteered to make the two hour drive to her school the next weekend so he could see her again. The second time hanging out was just as natural and easy as the first and neither one of them could deny what they were feeling. They knew they were meant to be together. Josh made that drive to Lisa's college many more times in the year that followed, never wanting too much time to go by without seeing her face. And in the six years since, they have been never been apart for long.
Next summer, a gathering of two families will bring them together once again. This time it will be to witness spark that was lit nearly ten years before. This time, Lisa and Josh will be at the center of it all. This time they will be married.