Story submitted by Alyssa Newman
How We Met:
Our story started on December 17, 2014. Alyssa was a waitress at Ichiban Restaurant in Mt. Lookout, who had reluctantly picked up a shift after a long day of classes at UC. Marcus was taking his best friend (& now best man!) James to dinner to talk him through his upcoming proposal to his girlfriend, Kylee. They planned to eat dinner at another restaurant in the area, but due to long wait times, they ended up at Ichiban... and guess who their waitress was? Alyssa and Marcus didn't hit it off right away (she brought him a can of beer without a glass, and was so busy that she hardly had time to check on their table!), but he did leave his phone number on his receipt. Alyssa was impressed with his courage and wanted to redeem her horrible performance as a waitress that evening, so she sent him a text that night (Marcus still has the screen shot of it in his phone).
The Dating Phase:
A few days after Alyssa and Marcus met, they went on their first date, consisting of dinner at Moerlein Lager House, a walk along the riverbanks & the Purple People Bridge, and an impromptu trip to 50 West Brewery...longest first date of both of their lives! They realized pretty shortly after that it would be their last first date ever. They bonded over their love of dogs (Daisy and Oakley bonded too, much to Oakley's dismay), the development of their faith at Crossroads Church, and their ability to find adventure in any situation. They even overcame their extreme fandom for differing NFL teams- go Colts! Although their relationship progressed quickly, they still kept things old-school in some regards. Alyssa and Marcus began writing notes to each other every day since the start of their relationship- love notes, notes to say hi, notes on coffee cups- sort of an homage to the first note Marcus left on the Ichiban receipt that brought them together. These notes became a staple of their relationship- and they even dedicated notebooks to write notes in to each other. Alyssa's notebook even had role in chapter 3... but more on that later. To say that this chapter of their story could have 500 pages is an understatement- they made each moment together an adventure, and it became evident that their story would never end.
Marcus was planning to propose to Alyssa just a few short months into their relationship! He knew after their first date that he would be making a rather large purchase in the near future. Sure enough- after an impromptu trip to Genesis Diamonds in May (after her first day of work at Cintas), Marcus pulled the trigger and purchased a (PERFECT) ring. How he hid this from her for so long - he didn't propose until October! - is a mystery to Alyssa...even her friends and family knew and never spilled the beans.
The proposal was perfect in every way. October 17th was their 10 month anniversary- as well as Sweetest Day, but they weren't so concerned with that part- so Marcus told Alyssa he wanted to take her out. He was very insistent that he pick her up at 6:30, and wouldn't tell her where they were going. As she got into the car with Marcus, she felt nervous and excited- and this feeling only escalated when they pulled up to Moerlein Lager House, the same site of their first date. They said they would never go back to Moerlein unless it was a very special occasion- since they wanted to preserve how perfect their first date was. They walked into the restaurant, and the waitress took them to their table- the same table they sat at during their first date! (Marcus had called ahead many times to ensure this). Marcus was very nervous and anxious at this point...he kept checking his watch and bringing up memories from the past 10 months. Alyssa caught on, but kept her cool since she didn't want to get her hopes up!
Dinner ended, and Alyssa asked where they would go next. Marcus tried to keep calm as he drove them across the river to the top of Devou Park, the same place where he had asked Alyssa to be his girlfriend 10 months prior. Alyssa was shaking with excitement, but again, didn't want to get her hopes up! They pulled into the parking lot, and Marcus waved and said hi to the park ranger, since apparently he had gotten a permit from him in order for them to be in the park after dark. They parked and Alyssa could make out an arbor with lights and candles surrounding it near the same bench they sat on 10 months ago. She asked, "Is this for us? Did you do this?" Marcus got nervous and responded, "Uh, what? No.... no, that's not for us. We're allowed to be up here though!"
As they walked down the path to the overlook benches, Alyssa could tell that there were A&M cutouts on the arbor- Marcus had done this!!! She was jittery inside, and Marcus was anxious... as he started to tell Alyssa that the past 10 months have been the best of his life. Alyssa gazed at the arbor, which was decorated with twinkling lights, pictures of their time together, candles, and flower petals. As she turned around, Marcus was down on one knee! In her notebook, he had written: Alyssa Katherine Grace Newman, will you marry me? -Marcus Daniel Muffet .... I love you and I always will. She screamed yes and jumped into his arms. Pretty soon, a camera started flashing, and she realized Marcus had hired a photographer to capture the entire thing!
Their friends Mike and Kasey, who had set up the entire arbor while they were at dinner, popped out with champaign, and they all celebrated (even the park ranger). After shooting some pictures, Alyssa staring at her ring in disbelief, and hugs, Marcus showed Alyssa some videos he had filmed of himself visiting significant sites in their relationship. This was the most special part of the proposal to Alyssa. He went to her previous house in Clifton, where he picked her up for their first date, his old apartment, CCM (where they took classes together), and her dad's grave. Since he was never able to ask Alyssa's dad for permission to marry her, he went to his grave to pray and ask to spend the rest of his life with his daughter. He got shivers up and down his entire spine, and knows without a doubt that Mr. Newman agreed. Marcus captured this all on video, and Alyssa cried for a good ten minutes at the realization that her father would never get to meet her future husband. She soon came to the conclusion that her dad would be with them in spirit for their entire lives- that's even why they set their date for April 16, his birthday.
As if that wasn't enough, Marcus took Alyssa to Keystone for celebratory drinks after leaving the park. They walked in, and Marcus led Alyssa upstairs- where she found some of her best friends, her family, and Marcus's parents! They had all been waiting there to celebrate Marcus and Alyssa's engagement. They popped champaign, took pictures, and got to know each other (this was the first time Marcus & Alyssa's families had met). The night was perfect in every way, and still feels like a dream.