Clear Cut Couples: CJ and Carli

CJ and Carli met in high school, in their freshman year English class. Carli said, “His last name is only two letters different from mine (Rizzo/Riccio), so he sat behind me in almost every class that year, and every year after that. He was just funny — he always made me laugh, to the point where we would actually get in trouble from teachers for turning around to talk to each other.” They were best friends in high school, until he finally told her how he felt on their first “date." AWW!


Their first “date” was on New Years Eve 2012. They were both bored with nothing to do, so they made reservations to go to dinner together. Later that night, CJ told Carli how he felt about her, and they’ve been together ever since then — when they were 16 year old kids! They have been together for over 8 years! 


They both went to UConn, and spent their years surrounded by friends who have become family and made some amazing memories. They went to Boston on a whim one weekend when they were in college, even though they definitely didn’t have the money to do it. While they were there, they fell in love with the city. Carli made CJ come with her to find the bench in Boston Public Garden from their favorite movie, Good Will Hunting. They try to go back to Boston at least once a year. They have celebrated 21st birthdays there, gone to see their favorite artist (John Mayer), and spent spring breaks there. They always stop by that bench, too. They eat lunch there, or just hang out in the garden and enjoy the views.


They moved in together after Carli’s first year of law school, and got a dog, which is something they had dreamed about doing since they were back in high school. She’s a German Shepherd named Olive. She’s a “nutbag,” but she completes their little family.


CJ told Carli that they were going on a trip to Boston, one of their favorite places. On their way there, they made a pit stop at UConn just to take a trip down memory lane (literally). They even got breakfast at one of their favorite places that they used to go to on Saturday mornings. Their first night there, they went to the New England Aquarium to look at some penguins, and then to one of the best seafood places they’ve ever been to (The Barking Crab).


The next day, it was snowing. Even so, CJ told her that they could still go shopping on Newbury Street, but that they should stop by the Good Will Hunting Bench first — just like they always do when they go to Boston. So, they ate breakfast at a hole-in-the-wall cafe, and then headed out to the Public Garden. She noticed him texting someone a lot, which he usually doesn’t ever do. He kept telling her it was just work stuff, but she knew something was up. They walked through the Garden, pointing out dogs and talking, and then they got to the bench. CJ proposed right there, at a spot that has a lot of memories for the two of them.


After he proposed, Carli’s sister came out from behind a nearby tree. She lives in Florida, but CJ flew her out to be the photographer for the proposal! Two of their best friends were also hiding across the pond, taking pictures on an old film camera that CJ bought specifically for the proposal, because he loves film pictures so much.


Carli said, “It was honestly the best proposal ever. My favorite person proposed to me in a place that was so special to us, and he included some of the most important people in our lives.” When they were randomly taking a trip to Boston, Carli had a feeling something was up. She didn’t know CJ’s exact plans, and definitely didn’t know he’d propose at the bench! “I told him I would give him major brownie points for the sentimental location, on top of everything else.”


CJ and Carli went to The Clear Cut in December 2020 to look at diamonds and design the ring. They met with Olivia, who made the process super easy and enjoyable! CJ had tried to do everything remotely (and secretly), but he knows that Carli is *particular* and in the end, he wanted to make sure he did everything right. They do everything together, so picking out a diamond just seemed obvious to them. “He planned that perfect proposal all by himself — and he was ridiculously nervous in the weeks leading up to it. He pulled it off pretty well, I’d say!”


Right now, they are not sure about their wedding plans! They do want to have a smaller wedding, with just their family and close friends — those people who have supported them and their relationship throughout the years. Congrats you two! We are SO happy for you!