Jennelle and Joni
Our Love Story
When I met Joni she was managing an art gallery in Santa Ana, California. I remember in the first few weeks of knowing her, I used to come bother her at the gallery all the time and try to help her carry paintings and easels around. Eventually we stopped fooling around and I asked her out on a real live date. I picked her up in my shiny white VW and took her to a Dia De Los Muertos painting exhibit and we stayed up talking all night long.
When people ask us how we got together, Joni always says, “I don’t think either of us really took it too seriously in the beginning,” but she doesn’t realize that I was completely hooked by the end of our first date! Joni has an intoxicating energy that I don’t want to live without.
A few weeks later I left her little cream colored flowers and a note on her doorstep. We’ve been pretty much inseparable since then.
Now we own our own cocktail catering business up in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. We call ourselves Mint and Mirth (www.mintandmirth.com), and our job is insanely fun because we get to help other happy couples celebrate their big days with delicious handcrafted drinks!
I’ve had a huge crush on Joni ever since our first date four years ago. I had been looking at rings for ages! Joni’s an artist and a classy redhead with a unique vintage aesthetic, so I knew that both the proposal and the ring had to be JUST right. I finally got lucky at Gilt, a local shop with a beautifully-curated collection of vintage jewelry. The staff helped me paw through until I found a stunning 1940’s piece with five little diamonds. I kept coming back to visit it over some months as I was saving up, praying that it wouldn’t sell…and I made all of Joni’s friends go over and look before I bought it! :) Always good to get a second opinion.
June is a really happy month here in Portland, full of long days, road trips, and summer love. I picked a day in mid-June so it would definitely not be rainy. Then I picked the perfect spot: Cathedral Park in St. John’s. We take a lot of hikes and picnics, and whenever I ask Joni where she wants to go, she usually chooses Cathedral Park. I figured it would be the perfect place to propose.
I found a great ally in Anthony of IIIXVI Photography, who agreed to a super secret ninja spy plan: he would pretend to be taking pictures of his friend in the park, but would be near enough to us that he could secretly shoot beyond his accomplice and get the actual photos of us and of the proposal! Since Joni had never met him before, she didn’t know what he looked like, and wouldn’t recognize him or figure anything out. We were so excited about our plan.
The day finally came and guess what? IT WAS POURING!!!!!
Oregon weather can be really fickle, so I just crossed my fingers and had a little faith and told Joni to put on her favorite dress. I brought a rattan picnic basket, an old floral sheet, our trusty Radio Flyer, some blankets, and Joni’s favorite little green chair.
When we got to the park it miraculously stopped raining and we found a nice little dry area underneath the St. John’s Bridge. Right at that moment, the clouds parted and the sun came pouring through! I think it was a sign. All the while Anthony and a “model” were slowly working their way around us, with him pretending to be taking pictures of her, but actually taking pictures of US! :)
When the moment felt right, I got down and said what was in my heart. She said yes!
I should have known something was up when I saw that Jennelle had scheduled us for a seven-hour picnic in the middle of a work day! :D She said she just wanted to take a nice, relaxing day off in Cathedral Park, a sprawling meadow beneath my favorite bridge in the world, the St. John’s Bridge. It’s an architectural heritage site, a gorgeous Gothic steel suspension bridge, with lush green foliage all around and an easy walk down to the Willamette River below.
It was still a bit rainy when we got there, but we set up nice and had a little charcuterie plate with some brie on crackers and figgy jam for lunch. Jen also made us some exquisite grapefruit gin-and-tonics. Then after a few minutes she got up and gave a little speech. Then she reached in her jacket and pulled out a tiny box and got down on one knee all in one smooth motion before I could even figure out what was happening!!!!! Aaaahhhh!
The nice couple who had been taking pictures together on the other side of the park suddenly appeared in front of us and started snapping photos! It was all a setup! I was laughing so hard, I just couldn’t believe she had pulled all this off.
Jen is kind to everyone, strong as an ox, abundantly supportive of my quirky hobbies, and hilariously funny!!! I would trust her with my life. She also has perfect forearms. So I said yes. :)
Getting engaged is anticlimactic, like most grand things. I’m glad that we had the whole day blocked out. After she proposed I didn’t want to do anything except lie on the picnic blanket and smell the air and hold her hand.
Photography: Anthony of IIIXVI Photography, https://www.facebook.com/IIIXVIphotography
Ceremony Location: Cathedral Park in St. John’s, Portland, Oregon
Cocktails: Mint + Mirth, www.mintandmirth.com
Dress: Three Penny Mercantile, https://www.facebook.com/ThreePennyMercantilePDX
Ring: Gilt Vintage & Artisan Jewelry https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gilt-Vintage-Artisan-Jewelry/105008872885201