From Amanda: What a fun day this was! Not only did we get to do one of my favorite things (exploring new downtown locations) but we had amazing weather and the best glowy light at the end! Stephanie and Josh were just so fun to hang out with and truly up for anything. I say go stand in a tree, they go stand in a tree. I make a sound of music reference and they start doing the Laendler. It really changes everything when the couple lets the photographer in. The possibilities are endless and as said before: SO MUCH FUN!!! Not only that, but these two are quite the wordsmiths! This entire blog post is written by them!!

Dips and Twists

“We met through a mutual friend, Mike Johnson, whom we have affectionately titled “The Gateway Friend”. Josh met Mike and did shows with him in undergrad at William & Mary. Steph met Mike and did shows with him at Georgetown Law. Mike invited Josh to see the closing night show of Curtains – which naturally led to an invite to the closing night party – where Josh and Steph met for the first time. A few weeks later, Josh moved to Alexandria for his new job in DC, and he asked Mike to invite a couple of his friends over for a house-warming party. Steph was one of the two people Mike brought over (because Mike is very discerning and selective and totally didn’t forget until the last minute). We hit it off immediately and became close friends in the ensuing months. We both joined the cast of the group’s spring show, The Mikado (the only show in which we’ve appeared together onstage), and we spent many hours driving back into Virginia together – chatting and growing close in our own little friendship bubble that we called “sacred space.” And then we were close friends for the next eight years. We were in shows together. We lived together (twice). We had annual traditions (decorating the apartment for the holidays & watching White Christmas, Fogo de Chao & the newest Star Wars movie in December for Josh’s birthday, marathoning LOTR or The Hobbit movies with themed-food)! Steph once surprised Josh with a trip to Universal Studios for Harry Potter World and Halloween Horror Nights featuring a Cabin in the Woods themed haunted house. Josh once surprised Steph with a big birthday surprise party that ended up being the day before she had back surgery. We planned and hosted parties, watched TV shows and movies together, and talked a LOT. In 2018, Steph moved to Seattle, and we didn’t keep in touch nearly as much. But when Steph came back east for a job interview in late 2019, Josh was thrilled to take her out for drinks and catch up, content to chat for hours. Steph realized how much she missed Josh – perhaps not just as a friend… After getting the job, Steph moved back in early 2020, eager to spend more time with Josh again. Then the pandemic hit. Josh spent March through July down at his folks’ in central Virginia, escaping his noisy apartment neighbors. Steph spent March through July not leaving her newly-purchased condo in Gaithersburg. We did not see each other for several months, although in May, we did have a video call together, along with Josh’s parents, about planning a Disney vacation (to which Steph was invited “as a friend”). After 30 minutes of chatting and stories, Josh noted that the group had not yet managed to make any of the important decisions on the agenda. Steph, however, was totally winning at her secret agenda of being liked by Josh’s parents. Josh finally returned to the DMV at the end of July, and we had plans to join a couple friends in August for vacation at a cabin in Cape Cod. Steph decided that a week of vacation that involved two eight-hour drives together was not the best time to pursue the secret agenda item “ask out Josh.” For Josh, who remained (mostly) oblivious, “it felt like I had my favorite person back after a while away.” It was a great vacation, and a couple weeks later, Steph asked Josh out. She had a whole script, but she only got through the question before Josh responded simply, and quickly, “Yes.”

Throw Out the Plan?!

It was Josh’s turn for a secret agenda. Spring of 2021 was busy and chaotic, so we were really looking forward to relaxing during our July vacation. In between visiting family and an annual beach trip with friends, we planned a couple days for ourselves in Charleston, South Carolina at a beautiful hotel that Steph had been to before and loved.

For Josh—it was the perfect setting to stage a proposal. However, we were at the tail end of a really long stressful home-buying experience, and Josh was being very careful to not mess up our finances while secretly purchasing an engagement ring. (He thoroughly freaked out our loan officer by leaving a voicemail saying, “I need to talk to you without Steph.”) As a result, Josh (who loves his plans) was left with a one-word proposal plan: CHARLESTON.

During the drive down to Charleston, Steph was pumped and ready for vacation, while Josh was tight-lipped and nervous, waiting for a second or third word of the plan to formulate. So when we got to the hotel, Josh decided that was it. He wasn’t going to waste a wonderful weekend stressing about “the plan.” He was going to propose right away. As soon as we checked in, Josh started psyching himself up in front of the bathroom mirror… only to get a knock on the door as Steph (unaware of Josh’s secret agenda) announced that maintenance was coming to fix the leaky air conditioning in our suite.

So Josh waited some more.

The Perfect Proposal

One maintenance visit later, while Steph stepped into the bathroom, Josh went through a Frasier-esque physical comedy routine: pulling the ring box out of its hiding spot in his luggage, putting it back, taking it out again, opening the box, shutting it, grabbing the second (family) ring box, opening it, putting it back, grabbing it again—and eventually stuffing both ring boxes in his pockets.

Moments later, Josh stopped Steph in the doorway as she entered the suite’s bedroom. She was confused. Then Josh got down on one knee, reached into his pocket, and pulled out the ring. Both surprised and delighted, Steph said yes! Then Josh reached into his pocket and pulled out the other ring. And Steph was confused again (but still delighted). With the proposal out of the way, we spent the whole weekend happily engaged, just the two of us, carefree, with good food, drink, and general pampering.

The One

Sometimes there is a defining moment, other times its a slow build, but eventually every couple can say how they knew the other was “the one.” That one person they can envision a forever future with.

Josh: I actually had a crush on Steph shortly after we became friends years ago; I just didn’t want to ruin this amazing one-of-a-kind friendship I’d found. But Steph has long been my favorite person. I’m the kind of person who’s extremely comfortable being on my own, but I discovered that Steph might be the only person in the world with whom it was better to be on our own together. When I found out her feelings had grown, I knew I’d be an idiot not to take this leap with her.

Steph: It took moving across the country (twice) and losing touch for me to realize that my life is just better with Josh in it. I’ve moved and lost touch with friends over the years, and I’ve always been pretty content to move on in life on my own. But losing touch with Josh was different. It didn’t feel like the usual friendships that may drift in or out of your life – important for a time. It was a fact of life – a steady constant. Being apart made me realize that my life didn’t just feel different or worse without Josh; it felt incomplete. So, for the first time, I “went back” for a friendship (and more).

Josh: Steph told me this realization on our first date, and it made me cry, which was unfair.

An November Wedding at Gramercy Mansion!

That’s right! I’ll be back at Good ole’ Gramercy this fall! AND I was there last year on this same date and the dreaminess was just over the top! With these two I can’t even imagine!!!

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