Today on the blog we’re introducing our latest gorgeous crop of 2020 / 2021 Real Jewish Brides! Please give a warm welcome to Maggie, who will be marrying Danny on 6th June 2021 at Stone House of St. Charles in St. Charles, Missouri.
THREE FACTS: (1) Danny proposed to Maggie on his birthday! (2) Maggie is in the process of converting to Judaism (3) Maggie is a member of STG Brides Club!
How We Met
Well this is your traditional love story, one that your parents could have potentially told. Mine is like my aunt’s, who constantly told me “you will find him when you least expect it.” She met her husband through his sister who she worked with. My fiancé hates how I tell the story of our meeting (no, just a few of the details – the fiancé).
The year is 2018, the month is August. I had decided to move back closer to my family in St. Louis, Missouri in July of 2018. Danny moved to St. Louis earlier in the week we met. The weekend before, I had gone on a trip with my friends from high school. On the way back my friend Abby tells me the next weekend she and her husband planned a trip to a local winery with one of her husband’s friends from work. I agreed to go in hopes of making new friends. Danny was staying with this friend, the friend invited Danny very last minute. Danny decided to go since he didn’t have anything else to do that day.
We go to lunch where I meet him briefly but don’t pay attention since there are 12 of us and we are at opposite ends of the table. Lunch is finally over, and we all begin to talk. He states that he just moved which is what caught my attention. We discover that we each studied math in college (meanwhile he is an engineer now and I am a hotel manager, not so useful for me) as well as comparing how long we had lived in St. Louis.
He of course mentions right away about his adorable 7-month-old niece who he tried to kidnap when he was moving. At one point I remember texting my friend Abby saying how Danny was my type. The whole day I constantly try to stay close to him and flirt with him. Finally, we got to the wine tasting section where we shared a table and even shared each other’s drinks! I knew I wanted to date him after I made a mention of my favorite movie The Princess Bride and he stared to quote the movie with me.
The day ends and he doesn’t even ask me for my number. As we were walking out my friend Kayla and her husband Cameron teased me about how close we were, I mentioned my disappointment with him not asking for my number. That’s when Cameron mentioned he had gotten Danny’s number. For the first time in my life I got the courage to tell him to send my number to Danny. Well he did and 30 seconds later I receive my first message from Danny.
Now Danny loves to argue that he knew I was flirting with him but did not want to ask for my number as he had made friends with my friend’s husbands (yep, I didn’t want to be creepy – the fiancé again). Either way we connected and had our first date on August 21, 2018. We went to dinner and then got edible cookie dough, we then sat outside the cookie dough place and talked for hours, past when the place closed.
It was a 6-hour date, our second date was 8 hours and our third was 7 hours. I remember coming home after our first date and freaking out to my dad about how I really liked this guy but was hesitant to continue dating him because he was Jewish.
Meeting the parents
When people ask me about my in-laws, I am always happy to say I love the family I am marrying into. When there is the more skeptical question of: ‘Does my dad like my fiancé?’, the answer is always, a little too much. Their relationship with each other developed very early on in our relationship. I am currently living at home for another few months, but my dad is in Michigan; when we first started dating my dad hadn’t moved to Michigan yet.
After about 5 dates, my dad insisted on meeting this guy I was dating, because I was living at home and wanted him to be able to come over, plus my brother had already met him so I obliged. We went out to dinner and it was a great first meeting but during dinner my dad asks Danny, “Hey will you help me move this weekend?” Danny, being unemployed because he only lived in St. Louis for about 3 weeks at this point, said yes to get some bonus dad points.
He expected it to be just packing up that car, which is easy enough to do, but then as the truck is fully packed, my dad asks, “So you are coming with me?” Danny being the good guy he is, said yes and off the two of them went, on a 9-hour drive, alone. About halfway through the drive I get a text from Danny stating “Everything is fine. This is definitely your boyfriend, not your dad who murdered him and kept his finger to unlock his phone.” A few minutes later my dad texts me “Everything is great, we are getting along just fine. He isn’t dead in a ditch on the side of the road in the middle of Illinois.”
As soon as I got these texts, I knew I was in trouble. The next day I drove out to Indianapolis to pick up Danny. My dad dropped him off at his parent’s place. I found out then that they did not plan those text messages at all, they were surprised when I questioned them about it.
My dad met my mother in law a few seconds before me. That weekend I met not only my mother and father in-law, but also my sister in-law, her husband, and my adorable niece who was 7 months old at the time. They were very nice, and I remember them making a very typical Jewish dinner that night including latkes in August. They didn’t seem to mind too much to me that I was not Jewish, however when my fiancé came home a couple weekends later his father and him got into an argument about how I was not Jewish and therefore our kids would not be Jewish.
Danny was raised Reform, so he argued that most Reform congregations accept patrilineal descent; his father was raised Conservative, so he did not agree with these ideas. When I was alone with his parents a year later and told them I had decided to convert, his father took me aside and told me how happy he was and that he thinks Danny would be happier if I were Jewish.
I will touch more on this when I write about converting to Judaism but for now just know Danny is supportive of my choice regardless of which religion I choose.
I would just like to add on here for all the future brides reading this that are planning their wedding without a parent, you are not alone. My mother passed away back in 2013 so she will never get the chance to meet my fiancé. She did however talk of my wedding day and future family all the time so I know what she would want, and I plan to honor her in many ways at my wedding. I will talk about this more in a future post.
The 14 months of Dating before the engagement
We started dating in August, so the first few months were filled with holidays. We got to explore Boo! At the Zoo at the St. Louis Zoo with my best friend (matron of honor) and my brother.
We went to Indianapolis to celebrate his mom’s birthday which happened to be the third day of Hanukkah that year, so I celebrated my first Hanukkah with his family. The more intimidating moment for me with holidays was Passover. I went to my first Passover in 2019 and it was a traditional Israeli Passover, so for this little Irish raised Catholic girl: extremely intimidating.
In January we went on a cruise together. It was our first real test of being together constantly for more than 2 days. We succeeded and we joked at the end of it “I guess we can get married now because we can stand to be together for a week straight.” We traveled together the rest of the year once a month, most were trips back to either Michigan or Indiana to go see family, however we also had a few more trips and weekend adventures.
We wandered off to nearby cities a few times like Kansas City, and Chicago to see friends. I met all his fraternity brothers at a wedding in Seattle where I got accepted right away by all the wives. We also made a trip back home for me to Orlando for him to meet my friends down there.
He even got along so well with my best guy friend down there that I almost felt like a third wheel when they met! Our final trip together as boyfriend and girlfriend was the trip to Connecticut for his birthday so I could meet his best friend. The trip was my gift to him, but he had something else in store for this trip.
Since about a month into our relationship Danny had always told me he was going to propose on his birthday. I always took it as him teasing me about it because I always responded as “why would you propose on your birthday? It makes it less special if it also becomes the day we got engaged.” He responded, “I’m going to get myself the best birthday present!” Well I gave him a timeframe on when he could propose so I would not start getting too paranoid about him breaking up with me from my fear of loss.
These restrictions told him he could propose after August 21,2019 (our anniversary) but before April 2020. He could not propose on a holiday or my birthday so that left out Christmas, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, my birthday (January 2), Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and Leap Day. We talked for months about what I wanted for my proposal. I mentioned I wanted to be on a beach at sunset, however Missouri does not have any beaches facing the sunset.
I also went between wanting a big to-do and very simple, just he and I. I also was having a really tough time deciding what type of ring I wanted. I was stuck between a scalloped halo with a diamond pave band and a basic solitaire diamond with a pave band which is what he wanted to get me. This led him to taking me ring shopping a few months before he proposed so he can see how much he wants to save up.
I fell in love instantly with a Christopher Design’s scalloped halo ring and I accidently got him to put a deposit on it when we were there. So, then I was just anxiously waiting and trying to find where he hid it in his apartment.
Now fast forward to October 4, its 5:30am and we are waiting to get onto our flight to Connecticut. I am a morning person and Danny is very much not, so I do that annoying thing excited people do to sleepy people where every 30 seconds I tap him three times on the shoulder and say, “guess what?” So, my first statement was “we are going to Connecticut.” Then “It’s in my favorite place in the country.” Then “We are going to see your best friend.” Then “You get to meet his new baby and see his daughter again.” Granted all of these he didn’t need much thought for, so he just said “Yes” to every statement.
So then I test him: “We are getting engaged tomorrow” his response was “Yes wait oh crap dang it” he sulked about it the rest of the day. So, the next day on his birthday he plans a trip to the beach. His plans don’t go as planned. I notice him and his best friend frantically trying to find a place on the beach near a lighthouse (fiancé here. Planned on proposing at this beautiful lighthouse, recently renovated, with a cute little pier to walk out on. We show up and there’s a 12’ tall privacy fence with ‘NO TRESPASSING’ signs all over it).
Finally, we find a spot and he walk me out to the water’s edge and proposes. I do my happy dance as expected and then we go out for my favorite food, wood fired pizza.
VENDORS BOOKED SO FAR
We waited a few months to start really planning for our wedding since we are having a long engagement. We knew before even starting to plan we wanted June 6, 2021. We picked that date 3 months into our relationship by accident. We had the first wedding talk back then and I had said I always wanted to be married June 6, 2020 (June 6 for my grandparent’s anniversary) but that wasn’t possible for us.
He then found out June 6, 2021 was a Sunday and stated that “Jewish weddings are usually on Sunday.” I was sold and that was our date from then on to forever. Our first thing we booked was our venue. We toured 3 different venues that met his want for outdoor but my want for elegance. We ultimately decided on Stone House of St. Charles in St. Charles, MO. We decided at that point that we would wait till the new year to book anything else.
Next on the list was photographer, I had been following so many in the area for almost a year, so I had an idea of who I wanted. Well when I got the price point from my favorite photographer it was my photographer and videographer budget for just photos. I then decided we would look for a new photographer at the many wedding shows we attended in January. At the third wedding show we attended; the first booth was the amazing Abbie Takes Pictures. I had come across her once on Instagram and remember thinking her pictures were amazing but out of my price range.
When Danny saw her booth he was in love, this was who he wanted. After talking to her for a while we both agreed that this was our wedding photographer. Later that week we met with her and after many laughs and the telling of many stories we booked our photographer. She recommended a videographer she works with often and we decided to book Naomi of Sparked Media.
What Marriage Means to Us
I asked this question to my fiancé and his response was super long and extensive while mine was just short and simple as I am not great at describing my feelings out loud. He stated that marriage to him means respecting each other, compromise, and sharing. It’s where you put someone before yourself for everything but without having to sacrifice who you are. It’s about sharing everything and talking about everything but still being an individual.
It’s a promise to always be better and knowing you are not always your best. It is about compromise with jobs, house, cars, vacations and never giving an inch when it comes to love, family, happiness and health. Marriage is about accepting who they are now and who they will become in the future. It is about keeping that promise of accepting everything that comes your way and making the effort to keep the relationship alive.
I added that marriage is all these things but it’s also having a constant partner for everything, so you never have to go through anything alone. It’s about having someone to share not only your feelings and fears but your experiences and adventures. Marriage is finding someone who you want to raise a family with and wouldn’t mind your kids being like them.
Well that’s us as a couple. He’s a nerdy goofball and I’m a huge planner. We work together and I couldn’t be happier to become his wife. Please stay tuned for future posts about planning a wedding without a parent and my conversion to Judaism. There also might be some travel stories here and there if the world ever goes back to normal. Thanks for reading!
Click here to read all Maggie’s planning posts to date
Maggie & Danny’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
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