From the Photographer

As we ventured down the Northeast extension, we were excited & nervous meeting Marina & John for the first time. We never have been to the actual city of Philadephia, but we mustered up the courage and met them for dinner at their favorite restaurant Cuba Libre. We all sat down & you were instantly transported to a new location. Great experience for everyone! The restaurant was kind enough to allow us to snap some moments. We later ventured into the down & captured their love. As always, we invite you to enjoy their story in their own words.

How they Met

We met online through a dating website called Zoosk. We messaged back and forth for a few days until we exchanged numbers and began talking. We lived 2 hours apart and didn’t meet for at least 2 weeks. But we started talking every day - texting throughout the day and for hours at night until the day we met. Our first date was at a Cuban restaurant in Philadelphia called Cubra Libre. We both felt that instant spark. We’ve been inseparable since! 

The Proposal

John: I planned to propose on the second anniversary of our first date at Cubra Libre in Philadelphia, which is where we had our first date. Everything was set - but we had a really bad snowstorm on the weekend that we were supposed to go down. I called a day prior to confirm if the restaurant was going to be open, as Philadelphia was also dealing with the snow. About 5 minutes before we were supposed to leave for Philly, the restaurant called me while Marina was sitting in the car waiting for me and told me that they were going to close due to the weather. I was so pissed. 

Marina: John got into the car and he was really irritated. He insisted that we still go to Philadelphia and perhaps find somewhere else to eat. I thought our lives were in danger and we should stay behind! John and I debated (quite passionately) back and forth about going since the roads were still quite snow-covered. We both came to the agreement that if the turnpike looked bad then we would just turn around. As we made it to the turnpike, we saw that it was clear and easily drivable. I called a few restaurants. we made reservations at Parc, a French restaurant we had both been to before and really liked! 

John: A waitress greeted us as we walked in and we were escorted to a back part of the restaurant. I pointed to a table by the window. The restaurant was pretty empty. The waitstaff occasionally passed through, as well as our waitress who took our drink and appetizer order. The conversation was lighthearted as we looked over the menu. Our waitress had taken our order and we were left again to banter back and forth. I tried to feel out the right time to pop the question. I had been hiding the ring in its box in the elastic part of my left sock! I was feeling around underneath the table and getting it ready for the right time moment as our food came and was set down before us. I thought that it was now going to have been when dinner was almost over. When we finished I began to broach the subject. 

Marina: I had NO idea it was coming. He started talking about how well we get along and how great things had been going. I still had no clue, because the conversations seemed so easy and nonchalant. So it took me completely by surprise when he popped the question “So… want to get married?” 

John: I deliberately made it so she didn’t see it coming. So her first response (before she said yes) was: “are you being serious right now?” I got down on one knee, and rephrased the question to “will you marry me?” 

Best Part of Being Engaged

The process is romantic and even though we've been together for over 2 years, it feels like we've started dating all over again. You're doing all these little firsts as a newly engaged couple. We bought a house together recently. we revisited our first steps during our engagement photo shoot. And then there's planning the wedding, where you revisit everything - how you met and why you're getting married. It feels like we are renewing vows!

Advice from the Couple

The challenge of planning a wedding is that you’re not an expert. It is probably your first time doing this (even if it weren't, you're still not an expert!). So you end up feeling like there are so many decisions you need to make - with a lot of options, huge ranges in prices, and a lot of research required, and it can feel overwhelming. So our advice is to get as much help and advice as you can. Read blogs, follow some wedding planners, get advice from your recently married friends, or hire a wedding planner if you can! 

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