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Inspiration » Proposal Story » Joy Proposal Story: Ethan & Shaun

Joy Proposal Story: Ethan & Shaun

by Cali Pitchel

How did the two of you meet?

We first met online (through during the summer of 2011. (Shaun actually reached out me.) We ended up talking online for about a month or so before we decided to actually meet in person on August 27, 2011 – the day Hurricane Irene hit Philadelphia! I showed up to our first date with face paint and the look on his face was priceless! (I had been out shopping in downtown Philadelphia prior to our date and stopped by a face painting kiosk.)

We ended up going to Dave & Buster’s, a place we return to every year for our anniversary, followed by a horror movie (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark). You could hear the howling winds and torrential downpour hitting the roof the theater the entire time, but it made us want to be even closer to each other.

How long have you been together?

We have been together since August 27, 2011. For the first year and a half, we were seeing each other on a pretty regular basis (about three times a week) and in May 2013, we moved in together in our current condo and have been there ever since.

Give us the proposal details! When? Where? How?

Every summer, we take a week or two-week vacation somewhere special and unique. In 2014, we took a vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL and in 2015, we took an amusement park road trip out to the Midwest. (Shaun is a huge roller coaster aficionado.) For 2016, we took a two-week trip to California from San Diego to San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway. On August 14, we stopped at Rocky Point and with a beautiful view of the California cliffs and the Pacific Ocean in the background, Shaun invited me over to the edge of a cliff and proposed. I found out later that he had been planning this for months since he was planning every step of our trip!

The wedding brings to a close the part of our relationship where we are getting to know each other (although that still continues on some level throughout the marriage) and begins the part where we start to build a life together.

What has been your favorite experience planning the wedding?

Definitely the honeymoon! We are taking a two-week Mediterranean cruise in late July 2017 and we can hardly contain ourselves. I have never been to Southern Europe and Shaun has never been overseas so it’s an exciting chance for both of us to experience something new together.

How do you stay sane under the pressures of wedding planning?

In two ways: First, we decided early on that we were going to have a simple wedding that didn’t require us to sweat the small stuff and second, that we would divide up the responsibilities as much as possible. To the first point, I am a full-time doctoral student while Shaun is a full-time teacher so we are on a limited income. As a result, we decided to keep to a simple ceremony followed by a cocktail reception and dinner at a favorite restaurant of our choice (Chima Brazilian Steakhouse in downtown Philadelphia).

We chose the venue because we thought it would be a unique dining experience for our guests and because they have an all inclusive service (bar, setup/cleanup, dinner and deserts, etc.) Neither one of us are big dancers so we decided to skip that part altogether. To the second point, because I am a full-time student, I have some time to help Shaun with the wedding planning. So far, I’ve planned out the honeymoon, built our wedding website and have been keeping track of our budget.

Shaun & Ethan Photo #1

How did you hear about Joy?

As with many things, it started with a Google search for free wedding websites. I then followed up by reading about reviews of the most popular sites including Joy. After exploring the Joy website and visiting a couple of sample wedding profiles, I knew I had found the right one!


What is your favorite part of using Joy for your wedding?

I love the amazingly easy-to-use and intuitive interface about Joy. I was looking for a website that allowed me to do online RSVPs for easier management and with Joy I discovered features I didn’t even realize I needed (such as hiding certain features of the site to invited guests with a code). I also love the layout of the site (it’s all on a single page) and that each section has an accompanying photograph – it makes it wonderfully personal and unique!

What piece of advice would you give couples to ensure that they use Joy to its fullest potential?

I would encourage couples to first explore other wedding websites on Joy so they have an idea about what Joy can do for them. They might find as we did that while the Joy website looks sleek and simple on the outside (which is a good thing because you don’t want to burden your guests with unnecessary clutter), the interface is very customizable and allows you to make the website your own.

At Joy we believe that even though a wedding lasts a day, joy lasts forever. What does that mean to you?

To us, the wedding is the end of one phase of the relationship and the start of a new phase. In many ways, the wedding brings to a close the part of our relationship where we are getting to know each other (although that still continues on some level throughout the marriage) and begins the part where we start to build a life together. We have already started thinking about buying a home and adopting children as soon as I finish school in the next couple of years.

Shaun & Ethan Photo #5

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