Like a lot of couples, we were first introduced to each other in college. We have a mutual friend that had us both over for a get-together while we were both attending the University of Central Florida in 2006. There was an instant connection, though at the time we did not know how deep that connection would be, or how far it would take us.
Within 6 months of our introduction, Joey decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Not knowing what the future had in store for us, Joey left for boot camp on May 14 2006. Although we thought of each other often (which we learned in later conversations, but unknown to each other at the time) we did not see or even speak to each other for 4 years. During this time, Joey spent 18 of the 48 months overseas fighting the Global War on Terrorism, while Emily continued pursuing her degree in Behavioral and Social Science and working full time to pay her own way through college.
Ironically (or maybe it was fate) Joey’s discharge date from active duty was 2 weeks prior to Emily’s graduation from UCF. The same mutual friend that introduced us was in the same graduating class as Emily and threw a graduation party in which we both attended and were re-united after 4 years apart, in May of 2010. Of course the sparks were flying again, but it wasn’t until December 2010 that another mutual friend was getting married. Emily worked up the courage to call Joey and ask him to be her formal date for the wedding (she says she had to work up the courage, but she pretty much told me that I was going to the wedding with her!). Ever since that day we started dating and have been inseparable. For the first 9 months of the relationship, Emily was living in Orlando and Joey was living in Venice. This did not stop Joey from driving back and forth several times a week to be with her, sometimes making 2 trips from Venice to Orlando in a single day. Emily moved to Venice so we could be closer together while Joey attends school at USF Sarasota Manatee.
Then came the weekend of May 27,2012. We planned a trip for a mini vacation to Naples to relax and get away from the daily grind. The focus of our trip was relaxation and doing what we enjoy, which is checking out the area and seeing the local arts and restaurants they have to offer. We attended the Naples Philharmonic and visited a few museums. We then went to a beautiful dinner and finished off the evening with a quilt and a sunset on Naples Beach. Then Joey worked up the courage to propose to Emily at Sunset, making him the happiest man in the world!
We hope to have the arts incorporated into our wedding, as it was in our engagement. This opportunity with Sarasota Pops Orchestra is the perfect way, a dream come true. We hope you all feel the same way, and will help us make this beautiful outcome a reality for us!