Jess: We went to the same university and met via a mutual friend over winter break our sophomore year. We had a class together that following semester and Zack asked me out pretty much immediately. The rest is history!
As a couple, what are your interests/hobbies?
Going to concerts, hiking, attending conventions, traveling, ice skating, exercising, gaming, and crafts! When did you know your partner was “the one” and you wanted to get married? We both knew we wanted to be together as soon as we first met. As far as realizing we found "the one," that happened a few years into our relationship. We had overcome great personal losses and hurdles together in our time as a couple and it became clear that we made an excellent team and fostered each other's growth and happiness.
What is one of your favorite things about your partner?
Zack: her passion for her interests and that she's shared them with me over the years. Jess: he gives me the space and support to be completely myself, and accepts every part of me.
What was your proposal like (was the ring a surprise or was it collaborative)?
Jess: Zack made reservations at Simms Steakhouse in Lakewood for our 9-year anniversary. We were seated at a private table with a beautiful nighttime view of the city through the windows. I suspected he was going to propose that night, but wasn't entirely sure. He had flowers brought to the table as soon as we arrived and that's when I thought "okay, yeah, I think this is happening." I remember having the craziest butterflies! We enjoyed our dinner and at the end, he had actually written down his proposal and began to read it to me. I started crying like two seconds in (of happiness!). It was all really sweet and touched upon all the milestones, happy moments, challenges we've overcome, and inside jokes we've had over the years. He knew I wouldn't want a spectacle so this conversation was kept very intimate. He eventually got down on one knee, gave me the ring, and I gave him the goobery-est smile through my tears and said yes.
Tell us about your wedding (if it has happened yet).
We knew we wanted something small and intimate for the ceremony. We didn't want to break the bank and deal with the stress of planning a big wedding at a venue. So, we rented out an adorable mountain lodge in Blackhawk, Colorado, invited a small group of our closest friends, and had our ceremony in a beautiful wooded area on public land, with a breathtaking view of the mountains. A few months later, we held a reception party back in the Pittsburgh area (where we are from) and celebrated with a much larger group of friends and family.
Why did you decide to work with Balefire?
We are both big fans of non-traditional jewelry and very critical of large-scale jewelry companies specializing in diamonds. We really wanted to support local business and we found the selection at Balefire as well as the goldsmiths there to be exceptional. After we visited the store and spoke with the team there, we were absolutely sold on their customer service, artistry, and the types of rings they are able to create.
What advice would you give to other couples shopping for wedding or engagement rings?
Don't listen to the old, antiquated rule of spending x amount of your salary on a ring. Go with your gut and what YOU want. Remember to ask about durability if you plan on having a gemstone. If you don't know, ask for help. Go local if possible!
photos of the couple by officiallyotto.com