Emily and Mark met at work in January 2016. Emily had just started a new job at The Muse, and Mark had already been there for a couple of years. Emily vividly remembers walking into the office and finding her seat, waiting to see who this”'Mark” was that would be sitting next to her. She started sweating when she first saw Mark and realized this guy would be her seat neighbor. Emily said, “He sat down and introduced himself, and I was so impressed with the confidence and kindness he radiated. He has the most infectious smile and I think I blacked out in that moment when he smiled at me. I immediately knew it would be hard to focus while sitting in that seat!” AWWW!
Over the course of a few months, they realized that they had a lot of things in common that brought them closer - like the fact that they were both from upstate (with specific connections to Central and Western NY), both had old(er) Chocolate Labs as family pets, their Moms shared a birthday, amongst many other things. Emily got so excited each and every time she got to talk to her “work crush!”
Emily says, “If I could go back in time and tell this version of myself that some day we'd be engaged, I think I would have fainted.” LOL! It wasn't until April that she realized the feelings were mutual, and they finally took the leap from “office crush” to “secret couple!” There's never a good way to start dating a coworker, because you want to cherish your early moments and keep them as discreet as possible in order to not welcome judgement or gossip. So, they had to keep their dates quiet for quite some time.
For their first date, they snuck out of the office at different times and walked a few blocks to Madison Square Eats where they shared drinks and dumplings. Then they walked to Posto in East Village and shared a pizza and wine. Since then, they've been together for almost 4 years. Their first trip as a couple was to the FireFly Music Festival. Sharing a tent, listening to festival music all day, and not having real bathrooms for 3 days is a great early compatibility test!
Mark is so thoughtful and always comes up with the best gifts and surprises for Emily. For her first birthday in their relationship, he surprised her with a trip to see her favorite internet celebrity, Fiona the Hippo, who resides at the Cincinnati Zoo. Fiona actually plays a part in their engagement... goes to show how thoughtful Mark really is. Another big highlight in their relationship would have to be getting their dog, Olive, who has brought them immeasurable joy and great memories in the 2.5 years that they’ve had her.
The original proposal plan was to surprise Emily the Friday before they left for Tulum on vacation. Mark was going to do it when she got home from work by putting a note on their dog. This was to be followed by meeting 50 of their closest friends at a bar nearby. The next day, they’d plan to visit Mark’s uncle's house where he was going to surprise Emily again with both of their families. Then they would enjoy their trip to Mexico.
Instead, they had to cancel everything due to Covid-19. Mark says, “It was definitely stressful for me to watch everything get cancelled one by one. Initially, I was planning to wait to propose until everything went back to normal, but not knowing what might happen in the future, I decided to push forward with the proposal but knew I'd need a new plan. I had to do all of my new planning within our 900 square foot apartment and Emily only a few steps away at any given moment.”
His new plan came into fruition when Emily bought a puzzle like many others as a way to entertain herself while social distancing. Mark noticed that the puzzle depicted two chairs on a beach in the sunset. This reminded him of what their Mexico trip was supposed to represent, so it gave him an idea: he decided to hide one puzzle piece that was essentially the middle part of the puzzle that completed the sunset and knew he’d use that final puzzle piece as a rouse for the proposal. Mark also worked all week to sabotage the puzzle LOL (whether that be slowing her down or speeding her up) so she would finish on that same Friday, which would allow him to include their families in the actual proposal and catch it on video.
So, when Emily went on her routine walk with the dog at 5 PM, Mark moved into action. He set up a few cameras and a video conference through Zoom so their family could watch live. Then, when she got back, he put a note near the entrance to their apartment encouraging her to finish the puzzle. The end of the note read “I know we can’t go to Mexico, but if you finish this puzzle, we will have two chairs on a beach, which I’m realizing is all we really need”. Mark said, “When she was done reading, I got on one knee and gave her the final piece (she thought I was playing a joke on her and hit me!). When she finished the puzzle, the ring was placed right where the final piece needed to go. I then popped the question and she said YES! After a quick embrace, I surprised her with our family on Zoom as well as a congratulations from her favorite internet celebrity, Fiona the Hippo.” They got it all on camera and made a video of it as well, and then they celebrated all weekend quarantine-style. Watch the full video below! We’re not crying!!
Emily was extremely surprised. She had no idea it was coming and was totally overwhelmed. Who would during quarantine!? She absolutely loved the ring. She had dropped subtle hints for quite some time and saved her favorite ring images from The Clear Cut on her Instagram, so Mark had clues.
As for their wedding, their first thought is to look at Mexico, one of their favorite places, for the celebration. Congrats you two!! We are SO happy for you!!