The 'Once' Upon a Dream Engagement of Biz and Bill
The pieces were falling gently into place - a puzzle assembling in favor of a beautiful love story about to reveal itself under the bright lights of NYC. Bill had just met with the diamond designer and was on his way to the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater. A memorable engagement was in the works. Elizabeth (Biz) had no idea that Bill would be proposing three weeks later on the "Once" stage.
We had planned this amazing weekend, but I told myself – this is just another outstanding weekend together – no indication what-so-ever. I was clueless.
“Once”, a 2006 indie-movie masterpiece starring Ireland’s folk rock star Glen Hansard of The Frames was a centerpiece for the blossoming of their love. It was a movie they watched lovingly together, sharing bottles of wine and even tears.
Friends first, the two met working together at the Wallkill Boys and Girls Club. Bill, executive director at the time and Biz fresh out of college – were laying groundwork as a successful team building the organization up from a small grassroots operation. "I always noticed her; how could you not?" Fast forward 4 years to the couple in residence in Middletown, NY - where Biz grew up. She now works for Inspire and Bill just accepted a position as VP of Membership at the Orange County Chamber of Commerce. A perfect working dynamic, a seamless fit which Bill frames perfectly when he says, "Honestly, we connect on virtually every level."
The two pulled up in front of the Benjamin Hotel on a Friday afternoon. Champagne awaited them in their junior suite. They gazed out from the terrace before heading off to a Mets game – the artisan hand-crafted ring burning a hole in Bill’s jean pocket.
They woke up in their paradise on Saturday morning to Mimosas and sun bathing. Downstairs, Bill would run into an old college friend walking out of Duane Reade. “I believe that life is a lot more than what we see. I got the wrong Half and Half and ended up bumping into one of my best friends who lives in California - I was struck. Here’s Biz upstairs, totally unaware of this big thing that’s about to happen." The forecast said rain, but it was sunny and warm. At noon they trailed off into Rockefeller Center and had some fun roaming the streets of Manhattan arm-in-arm. After stopping home briefly to change and pick out a restaurant for dinner nerves begin to kick in for Bill. He started running the words he might say through his head- trying not to let on. Thankfully, Biz was swept away by the romantic weekend, and didn't pick up on it.
When they arrived at the theater, Bill slipped the ring into the stage manager's hand. After a very special back-stage tour they headed for their seats. “Once” takes place at a pub in Dublin – the whole set is a bar. Before the show, the public is invited up on stage for a drink. The actors are on stage warming up…setting the mood.
Bill—taking the lead—moves them towards the stage for a round in pretend Dublin.
The stage manager maneuvers the ring box into place.
“…so, now we're standing at this bar on the set, I said to the bartender – "Do you have any merchandise for sale?" (He was in on it, too!). So, he pulls out the box and hands it over. She took one look and she started welling up.
It hit her all at ONCE.
Imagine trying to sit through the performance after that? But, they do - occasionally scrolling through their phones in the dark to update family and friends on facebook. At curtain call the cast comes out and announces, 'we had our first ever proposal,' and the whole theater erupts in thunderous applause. They walked out with a poster signed by the entire—very smitten— Once cast.
"We felt like a million dollars coming out of there."
After a very romantic rickshaw ride home, a rendezvous as newly-promised – they were 6 steps from the hotel when the sky opened up in a downpour. They make their way upstairs to chocolate covered strawberries and champagne.
A toast...to love.
A 2013 wedding is being planned.