Joe and I had known each other for several years.  We met skydiving at Massachusetts Sport Parachute Club in Turner's Falls, MA, now Jumptown in Orange, MA.  I had made my first jump 2 years previous while still in college, so I was now rigging - packing student main canopies and reserves.  I helped teach him how to pack his main.  Years later he told me that he had thought I was cute when I was teaching him.

Over the next several years we made jumps together, hung out at the drop zone, went to some boogies (large skydiving events) together, but always within a group of people.  One of us was always involved in a relationship, although neither one of us seriously considered each other for a significant other.  Our friend, Tania, had once tried to get us together during a short period when we were both "free", but my feeling was "Nah, that's JOE.  I mean, Joe?  Nah!"   He was just a friend to me and I couldn't see it happening.

On day he called me up and asked if I wanted to go out for a drink.  He lived in Arlington, MA and I lived 10 minutes away in Medford.  It was a Sunday night and I had to work the next day, but he had just ended a relationship and sounded like he needed to talk.  So we hung out for the night, and I attribute that night to deepening our friendship.

Over the next year, we got to be better friends, but I still wasn't interested in him at all as anything but a friend.  I was in a relationship and just didn't think about it ending.  Joe and I took scuba diving lessons together, which was pretty hard for me, but being my scuba buddy, he encouraged me and I eventually got certified.

When the relationship I was in ended, the next few months were fairly tumultuous.  I watched as my kitten got killed by a car, I got a smelly roommate who was involved in an extramarital affair with a newlywed friend of mine and got sucked into THAT mess, and I started dating a jerk.  All this time, Joe had dated people on and off, but nothing serious.  We would talk on the phone a lot now, and getting a lot closer.  Occasionally, my sister or one of my friends and I would be talking about relationships and they'd say "Well, what about Joe?  He's available, isn't he?"  and my reply would be "JOE??!?  But, he's JOE!  I mean, y'know, my buddy!  No, I don't THINK so!"  Little did I know...

Finally, I took charge of my life again.  I kicked out my roommate, my sister moved in with me, I broke up with the jerk, and shortly afterwards told Joe that I liked him.  (Okay, so I'd had a few drinks before I did, cut me some slack).  Thankfully he returned the sentiment with a kiss, and from then on we were a couple.  A year and a half later we moved in with each other in a small apartment in downtown Boston, and less than a year after that, he proposed.  Then we got married.

Oh, you want to hear about the proposal?  Oh, okay.  Well, after 3 months of dating him, I knew I wanted to marry him.  It took him a couple more years to actually do it, but I didn't know when it was going to happen.  I just waited for him to do it (well, I DID ask him to marry me, but he kind of laughed it off.  Oh well.  :-)  ).  Anyways, he asked me to dinner one night (March 21, 1998) to a special place, even though he wouldn't tell me where it was.  Let me just say now that I am SO suspicious of things, it's VERY difficult to surprise me.  So I, of course, guessed the restaurant where we were going.  I had also seen a parking ticket he had gotten that day, and the address was right near the store I said I would like any ring from.  Hmmmm.  My wheels are spinning, I'm getting excited, this is gonna be it!

We got to the place and hung out at the bar, and I hit the ladies room to talk myself down.  "Okay Joanne, you do this every time.  This is NOT going to be the night.  You think it is, but it's not, because it never it is.  So just chill!  Don't get your hopes up!"  Fine, I'm okay now.  I walk back to the bar, where Joe takes both of my hands...BOTH of my hands?  He never does this!  Okay, just chill, no big deal, we're just talking.  What?  WHAT did he just say?  "Will you marry me?"  I couldn't believe this was really happening, so my response was "Are you kidding?" as in, is this a joke (albeit, a not very funny joke).  I don't totally remember much after that, probably because I started crying, but I do remember saying yes, then he took out the ring, which was just beautiful!  It was a wonderful night!

Planning the Wedding

We decided to get married that summer.  We had talked about going on a cross country trip for a long time, and I thought this would be a great honeymoon, and a great time of year to do that.  The timing was just right for everything, but it only gave us 4 months to plan it!  This really cut down on my time to research venues, bands or DJ's, etc.  Unfortunately, I don't know ANYONE in the wedding industry, so there goes one idea to save money.

What we did was figure out right away what we really wanted to have there, what we could cut out, and what we could do on the inexpensive side, especially if we could do it ourselves.  We wanted to have a medieval/renaissance type of wedding, but didn't think we could get all the guests to buy into wearing costumes, especially semi-heavy ones, to our wedding in July.  But we really wanted to dress like that, so I got to wear a custom made dress that was EXACTLY as I had always pictured my wedding gown to be.

I wish that I had had a little more time to plan things out, but with the help of family, friends, and my husband-to-be, we got everything done with very personal touches.