John & Ella – September 2023

John & Ella's Wedding, September 2023
John & Ella's Wedding, September 2023

How did you meet?

Ella is originally from Chesterfield, NH and John is from Oxford, CT, but we both lived in the Boston area for the last 10+ years and currently live in Medford, MA with our dog, Smokey, and our cat, Watermelon.

John & Ella's Wedding, September 2023

How long have you been together?

We met on Hinge, one of the online dating apps. John first messaged Ella in mid-September 2017 but it took until the end of October for them to actually go on their first date. Our first date was on the last Sunday in October at a bar in Harvard Square — and it was raining so incredibly hard. Ella’s main thought as she walked from her car to the bar was, “This better be a good first date or I’ve ruined these shoes for nothing.” Thankfully, it was a good first date that resulted in several more dates in November and December!

John went to a wedding in California in mid-December with all of his college friends and spent the whole weekend talking about Ella. The feelings proved to be mutual, as Ella picked him up at the airport upon his arrival back to Boston. All of this culminated with John and Ella making their relationship official on New Year’s Eve 2017 (although we don’t care much for the NYE anniversary, so we’ve always celebrated our first date — October 29th — as our anniversary).

Tell us your engagement story!

John had been under explicit instructions to not propose until after Ella finished her Masters degree program. (Ella was working full-time and studying for her Masters in public health through evening classes over a three-year period from September 2019 to September 2022.) Friends and family were aware of these instructions and were very excited that John and Ella had multiple trips planned in the fall of 2022, including a trip to San Francisco in late August and a trip to Paris in mid-October.

The San Francisco trip came and went without a proposal, as did the trip to Paris. John already had the ring purchased before these trips, but was waiting until one particular day to pop the question. Specifically, on the five-year anniversary of our first date in Boston. After walking to the museum, John and Ella took a seat on one of the ledges in the interior courtyard of the museum. John took Ella by the hand, got down on one knee, and proposed.

After a quick stop home to call our families, we went out for a drink at the same bar where we had their first date. John booked the exact table where we sat too! After a drink, we went to one of their favorite restaurants in Union Square, around the corner from where John had been living when we first started dating. John coordinated flowers to be waiting at the table upon our arrival. It was a magical evening and well worth the wait.

What is one of your favorite things to do as a couple?

We love going to the Union Square farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. It’s a great way to start the weekend, seeing the vendors we’ve gotten to know over the years — and get some great produce while supporting local farms.

John & Ella's Wedding, September 2023

What made you fall in love with The Gardens and choose it for your wedding day?

Ella loves gardening and quizzing John on the names of flowers when they’re on walks together. One of the first things we did when we bought our house a couple of years ago was to tear up the grass in the front yard and plant a garden instead. We first saw The Gardens in mid-December, when the grounds were totally covered in snow, but Lisa M. showed us photos on her iPad and helped us envision what the grounds look like in-season. We knew right away that this was the venue for our special day and, somehow, the Saturday of Labor Day weekend was available, so we jumped at the opportunity!

John & Ella's Wedding, September 2023

What was your favorite place to take photos around The Gardens?

Oh, this is a tough question! We chose to do their first look in Nettie’s Garden because we really loved the space. Some of our favorite photos ended up in the Rose Garden — we took photos there during cocktail hour when the sun was starting to set and the light was fantastic. Overall though, Nettie’s Garden is our favorite.

What was the best part of your wedding day?

Acknowledging this is cliché, but it really was an amazing to have all the people you care about and love all in one place at the same time. That being said, ‘probably our favorite part of the day was surprising our guests with the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream truck. Leading up to the wedding day, we managed to keep it a secret from all of our guests. It was so fun seeing everyone’s reactions when they saw the truck pull up — and to see how much joy it brought everyone.

John & Ella's Wedding, September 2023

"Where flowers bloom, so does love."