We are a pair of semi-nerdy, semi-hipstery weirdos. We make our home in Raleigh, NC. Gretchen is a true native, having been born just a few miles from their current apartment. Jason, however, came to the area in high school when his parents settled the family in a particularly affluent suburb.
Jason makes his living preparing documents for a large clinical trials company. It's good money, but he intends to start out in a new and yet-to-be-determined field after the wedding.
Gretchen earns her keep by running a small allergy testing/allergy shots facility in a pediatrician's office. She has grown disturbingly comfortable with the terrified screams of children.
Gretchen was looking to go on dates. She liked people, and she liked free dinners. She reactivated her OkCupid account and started prowling around, sending messages to every guy she thought had a cute face and didn't sound like a moron. And then she saw Jason.
He was cute. Like, really cute. And he had proper spelling and sentence construction. And he seemed pretty weird, which meant he wasn't boring. She sent a message, quoting his profile back to him, which started like this:
"making a nice sandwich" That sounds so pleasant!
It started two days of conversation, which ended like this:
I just got home and it's five in the morning.
You're really awesome and we should go out sometime this week.
So they did. On an unassuming Wednesday, they got together for sushi, fancy hot chocolate, and skee-ball. And for the first time, they each laid eyes on the person they would marry.
May 20, 2011.
At 4:30 PM there was a knock at the door - roses for Gretchen! The card said, "OKC 3-1-09". At first totally bewildered, she soon figured it out. They met on OkCupid.com, and he first asked her out on 3-1-09. She called to say thank you, noting that 3-1-09 was the day they began dating. "Oh yeah?" he asked teasingly, "Is it? You should probably check that out." So she did. She logged onto OkCupid, and found the following message added to their first conversation from two years before:
I got home at around 5 in the morning after a night out with friends.
Having spent the past day messaging you back and forth on here, I said, “You're really awesome and we should go out sometime this week.”
Sending you that message was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
I’ve got something for you, but you’re going to have to find me to get it. Now, I know you like games, so I’ve left you some clues to help guide you.
Your first clue is waiting for you where we first met. Tell them you have a reservation.
Good luck, darling. I love you and can’t wait to see you.
Gretchen's heart started pounding happily as she realized what this game was likely leading up to. She put her shoes on, grabbed her keys, and raced out the door! Two hours later, they were calling our parents. Here's how the hunt went down from start to finish:
GRETCHEN'S HOUSE: Flowers arrive with a card bearing the first clue.
OKCUPID: Asks her to go to the place they first met, which was sushi and pan-Asian place just down the road.
RESTAURANT: She tells the hostess she has a reservation and receives an envelope containing a picture. It resembles a doodle Gretchen made a few years ago of herself and Jason as monsters. Jason loved it so much that he had kept it on his fridge.
HIS REFRIGERATOR: She finds her monster picture in the center of all his other magnets, which are arranged into a heart. Inside the fridge is a plate of linguini topped with the faces of David Bowie and Rosanna Arquette (Jason and Gretchen watched their movie "The Linguini Incident" on their third date).
HER MOVIE COLLECTION: Pulling the cassette from the box, she finds three little twigs tied up with ribbon. They come from a picture frame Jason and Gretchen made together which frames a piece of art he gave her.
BACK OF THE PICTURE FRAME: A passage from "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", which he bought for her birthday to complete her collection, that refers to a magical map.
PAGE 192: Stuffed inside the book is a hand-drawn map of the lake where they love to feed the ducks in nice weather. Just off the wooded greenway trail, there is a large red X.
THE END OF THE MAP: Gretchen finds Jason waiting for her.
They were standing on a beautiful, secluded backyard garden terrace. She asked if the owners knew he was there, and he assured her they did. Jason took Gretchen's hands in his, both so nervous they could barely look at each other. He simply said, "I love you so much. And you are PERFECT for me." Then he went to one knee, asked her to marry him, and as she said yes slipped the ring onto her finger. They cried and laughed for a while together before Gretchen asked, "Now what?" Jason opened his backpack - it was full of hamburger buns! He said, "Now we go feed the ducks."