I was so nervous!
For our first date, James got tickets for the Holiday Greens Show at the Hart-Cluett Mansion in Troy, NY (an annual event, where the local garden club decorates the Mansion for Christmas). It was hard for me to imagine that there were still men out there who would suggest an actual 'date' for a first date, rather than meeting for a quick drink or at the very most - dinner.
Before even meeting me, James understood how much I loved the holidays and gardens! Who was this guy!? He made me nervous and excited at the same time.
We met outside of Elixir, a cute bar that serves prosecco on tap, and walked down the fairy-lit street to the mansion. Inside the mansion was the most fantastical display of holiday plants. Every room and hallway was filled with evergreen trees, flowers, and Christmas decorations that were lit with the gentle glow of fairy lights and candles. It was quite the romantic atmosphere...
Once the stroll finished, we went upstairs to see their Historic Button exhibit (haha) --- so, it seemed pretty clear at that point that we were interested in each other. Without previous commitment, we decided to extend our first date by having dinner at the Illium cafe, followed by a few drinks in the Wine Bar across the street.
The date only ended once James had to admit that he was exhausted. But, I wasn't worried as there was no question in my mind that our second date would come soon.
Especially after everything he did!
It was a perfect Christmas date.
Now, we aim to visit the Hart-Cluett Mansion every holiday season as we begin to create our own traditions. The pictures below are from 2019 when we celebrated our first anniversary.
As we all know, Kristin is a difficult person to surprise. She's a wonderful person who is also very observant and inquisitive. Once we spent months together in quarantine and I was still looking forward to the next minute together, I knew she was the one. Planning in 2020 and 2021 is already next to impossible, and Kristin is a very spontaneous person, so I had my work cut out for me.
I spent months online shopping for her ring in secret, with some help from her little sis. I knew the best time to ask her would be around our anniversary, but I had to stay flexible. With tentative plans to do something special constantly changing, I had a great idea.
We went on our normal walk, and grabbed our usual bagel and coffee. Despite the cold January weather and uneven icy walking path, I stopped her on the wooden bridge, got down on one cold knee, and asked her be mine forever. "Do you know why I love these walks? Because we talk about our future. But I don't want to just talk about our future anymore. Will you be mine forever?" I'll never forget her response as long as I live.... "What?!"
Now for those of you that have seen "The Princess Bride" you know that "as you wish" means something much more. And when I put that ring on her finger, and she said "What?!" again, I knew what she was really saying. We didn't get to finish our walk, because once I referred to her as my fiancé, she thought it would be best if we sat in the car for a while. It was on that drive home that she officially said yes!
I'm so excited to share our love with you all at our wedding, and make our idea for our future together a reality!