You know how Jim and Pam from The Office are basically the best on-screen couple and history, but when it comes to actually falling in love at work, it's like, impossible? Let me introduce you to Calvin and Christina! They're essentially the real-life version of Jim and Pam and their love story is one for the books (or TV screens :) ) Christina met Calvin on her first day of work and grew closer to him as they developed a friendship over their office chat. Read our interview with the bride below to learn more about their sweet story, and watch their gorgeous film by True Artists Studio below.
The Love Story:
It was a cold, grey day in February 2013, according to Calvin, “there was some kind of precipitation” that day. He was on the phone cold calling (loudly) when Christina walked in for her first day of work at TQL. Calvin was immediately attracted to her “for obvious reasons.” One of their first interactions came a few days later. Christina was training under a broker Calvin had also trained under. Calvin tried to be smooth by offering his help to Christina if she had any questions. This comment may or may not have been made while Christina was wearing a pair of bright red pants. Calvin could not focus that entire day, because of these “damn pants.” Meanwhile, Christina was trying to focus on learning the new job and trying not to be distracted by the handsome guy sitting across from her with the booming, manly voice. Christina didn’t ask Calvin for help with the account; however, they did begin to message using the company’s instant messenger. What they soon discovered, was that they preferred greatly to message each other rather than work. They came up with many inside jokes, involving cats, memes, and one vent per day – aka the “VOD”. As their electronic friendship grew, there was a strange tension between Calvin and Christina. They communicated very well via the messenger, but when they would have to interact in person, it was very awkward. It’s like they didn’t know how to speak to each other without a keyboard.
As the months passed, they both found success in this very demanding and stressful role. Mostly while speaking to each other very little, but messaging every single day (all day). Their successes led to them each being promoted into the same leadership role where they were forced to be in physical meetings with each other. While verbal communication was still awkward for them, they enjoyed being in the same room together. This led them to organize “emergency prospecting captain meetings” where they did very little work or prospecting, and mostly just hung out in a conference room. Their friendship deepened and conversations that used to primarily revolve around work and jokes, began to become more personal. If you asked Christina and Calvin at this point what they thought of the other, they would say that they were just really good friends….but what they knew was that this was a different kind of friendship. A deeper one. After 2 years (and many late trucks), Christina decided to leave TQL. While she was ready to move on, she wondered whether she would ever get to talk to Calvin again. Calvin was shocked by her decision to leave but he understood her reasons for leaving. They didn’t speak much for the next 6 months except for an occasional text or email. After what felt like a long time of not communicating with a “good friend”, Calvin reached out to Christina and they began their electronic communication all over again. Text after text…Christina kept Calvin awake into the wee hours of the morning. Calvin’s previous schedule and rhythm was thrown out of whack by his night owl “friend”. They continued to text and text only for SIX WEEKS. Finally, they decided to go out. They were nervous and neither was sure if this was a date or two friends reconnecting. As Christina says, they were “taking each other’s temperature.” Magically, their previous awkwardness was gone. They talked, laughed hard, and even danced. This was the most fun either had had in a very long time and it was officially a date. They continued to date, going on all kinds of fun adventures together including Oktoberfests, Dayton breweries, football games, and ski trips. Because they already had a strong friendship, their relationship flourished and grew deeper.
Calvin knew after 6 months that Christina was who he wanted to marry. He began to reach out to her friends and family and started looking at rings. After meeting with Christina’s best friends and his twin sister, Calvin bought the ring and set the date, Calvin would propose to Christina on April 16th, 2016.
That morning Calvin made plans to go to breakfast with Christina at their favorite restaurant. She loves to be outdoors so breakfast was followed by a hike to a beautiful waterfall in Cedarville. Christina kept repeating that “this is the best day ever”….meanwhile Calvin was thinking/screaming to himself “SHE KNOWS!!” He maintained composure and kept a straight face as they hiked. They took a wrong turn and got lost in the woods for an hour, and Christina was intermittently sprinting away from and swatting at bees, despite Calvin reminding her (again) that they are more likely to sting her if she freaks out. This didn’t stop her from doing so (she still does it to this day), and fortunately for Calvin, probably served as a good distraction from any hints of a proposal. Christina didn’t mind getting lost with Calvin, anytime with him was time well spent, and it was still “the best day ever”. They finally found the waterfall and stopped to take in the scenery and take what would be their final pictures as “boyfriend and girlfriend.” On the way home, Calvin told Christina he made plans for dinner. He advised her to dress for a restaurant that is “fancy, but also in the grass”, and that we had to go at 4:30pm. She was very excited for the “best day ever” to continue…but extremely confused about the dress code, and the fact that he said we needed to leave so early, but she didn’t question it. Calvin was texting Christina as they were getting ready for their dinner date, asking her what he should wear. She thought it was really sweet that he was so concerned about dressing nice for their date, again thinking nothing of it. Calvin picked up Christina and was celebrating inside when he saw her in one of his favorite dresses on her – for Calvin this dress was on par with the infamous red pants. Somewhat confusingly, Calvin told Christina that they had some time to kill before dinner and that he wanted to make a pit stop at Carillon Park to look at the bells, where he had never been before – but knew it was one of Christina’s favorite places. They walked up the hill, looked at the plaque in front of the bells and laughed at the fact that the first thing they noted about the plaque was the weight of the bells and “how they would fit on a truck.” They then approached a door at the base of the bells with a beautiful poem. Calvin read the poem out loud, hugged Christina tightly, and the bells rang – Christina thought it couldn’t have been a more perfect moment. Calvin then grabbed Christina’s shoulders and “placed” her in the sunlight. Christina’s initial confusion by that quickly transitioned to her being stunned when Calvin got down on one knee. There is still conflict over what exactly Calvin said on his knee, but thankfully, she said yes… Calvin pointed to their left to the photographer who had taken photos of the entire thing from the moment they got out of the car at the park (suddenly the “placing” in the sunlight made sense). Christina also found out it wasn’t Calvin’s first time at the bells – he had been there scoping it out, between ring shopping with his sister and Christina’s best friends, asking for her father’s, mother’s, and grandmother’s blessing, and organizing the next surprise. Christina, still in shock, excitedly said she needed to tell everyone. Little did she know, Calvin and his family had organized a beautiful surprise dinner with their families there to celebrate their engagement. Christina loved that Calvin planned every detail, and included the people that mattered the most to them. She then realized she needed to tell their friends. Calvin was one step ahead and took her to the Dayton Beer Company, one of the places they went on their very first date where they celebrated with their friends and family together. It was the best day ever.
**The way you and Calvin met is seriously the best -- do you remember the moment you both knew it was definitely more than an office crush?**The first inkling we both had that it might be more than an office crush was when I left the company we both worked for. Although we had not communicated this with each other at the time, I was so sad that I might not ever get to see or speak to Calvin again, and Calvin was feeling a similar pain. I kept finding myself thinking "There is NO way that Calvin was just a random coworker that I crossed paths with. Our friendship was special. HE is special...there has to be more." I hoped there was more, and it trusted that if it was meant to be we would find each other again. It was definitely confirmed on our first official date that this was way more than an office crush. I like to say we were "taking each other's temperature" because neither of us were sure if it was a date or just friends catching up. We had so much fun, and it felt so natural. We talked and laughed nonstop and even danced. It was perfect.
**We have to know, when you coined your engagement day the "best day ever," did you have any idea that was the day Calvin would propose?**Funny story alert! Calvin and I had discussed marriage pretty early on and knew we both wanted to be married to each other. It felt amazing and so comforting to know we were on the same page about that. So rewind a couple weeks before his proposal...to April Fool's Day. We were watching a prank show on TV and I was thinking about how confusing it would be to be proposed to on April Fool's day (what if it wasn't serious?!). Jokingly, I brought up proposals a couple times and I told him that when he proposes, to make sure it's not on April Fool's day. He was visibly uncomfortable and said "Where's all this proposal stuff coming from?"....Needless to say I wanted to crawl under a rock and live there forever. Were we not on the same page? I texted my friends immediately letting them know that I that I had just freaked Calvin out and that when, or if, he proposes, it won't be for a VERY long time. I was joking, but maybe I came on too strong? I over-analyzed it to death...my friend's were strangely calm about it. I couldn't understand why they did not think it was a big deal that I had just FREAKED out my potential future husband. I decided I would just "play it cool" about marriage moving forward. Little did I know at that time, he already had the ring, my friends and family were in on it, he had an elaborate plan for the proposal just 2 weeks later, and in that moment he was internally panicking that I knew. When Calvin got down on one knee and opened a box with a ring, I was completely shocked! I truly felt like I was dreaming and that it might not actually be happening. I quickly realized it was in fact real and was obviously so happy. Calvin sometimes feels bad about his stone-cold "Where's this proposal stuff coming from?" remark, he said it was physically difficult keeping this big secret from me, and that it just came out in a panic...but we laugh so much about it to this day and it made the surprise that much better.
How did you find your wedding videographer and what made you choose them?True Artists Studio came highly recommended from our photographer Ashley, at Ashley Mauro Photography. She told us to contact Shane directly, and that they had worked together often and had even been featured in a major Cincinnati magazine together for their awesome collaborations. Their article was on display in her studio when we met with her, which was awesome. What made us ultimately choose True Artists Studio was how we felt after meeting with Shane. He was just one of the nicest, most refreshing people we had worked with throughout our wedding planning journey. He was extremely professional, but also hilarious. It felt like he became a friend instantly, which was so comforting. Besides his obvious talent, what made his work even more amazing was that from day one he cared about truly knowing me and Calvin, and our story. We had an absolute blast with him and his team on our wedding day. Shane's presence was so much fun, and he and our photographer made the BEST team. We are so happy we used True Artists Studio and grateful for their hard work!
**What was the most unexpected part of your wedding day?**Surprisingly, and thankfully, how perfect and smooth the entire day was. Of course I knew it would be the best day of our lives, but I've heard so many horror stories of vendors gone MIA, hair and makeup issues, dress problems, etc. You almost brace yourself for something to go wrong, even if it's minor. There is not one thing I can think of that didn't go exactly as planned, and everything actually turned out even better than we had imagined. Looking back, I am so grateful that we took our time and did our research with each decision we made throughout planning, especially choosing quality vendors, because I truly think it is what allowed us to focus on each other and our loved ones and enjoy our day.
**What was your favorite part of your wedding journey?**My favorite part of our wedding journey was feeling all the love and support of our family and friends. We are so fortunate to be surrounded by such an amazing group of people. Without them, our wedding would not have been what it was. The joy was tangible that day, or "Kefi" as we Greeks would call it, which refers to joy, passion, high spirits, or overwhelming positive emotion. During the last song at our reception, I burst into happy tears because I did not want it to end, and I just couldn't believe that it all came together so perfectly. The whole day revolved around the love Calvin and I have for each other, and the love we have for the people who mean the most to us.
**What's your #1 piece of advice for future brides?**My advice for brides is to take it to heart when EVERY single person tells you to take it all in on your wedding day because you will be blink and it will be over! It will truly be the best, and the fastest day of your life. It feels like a whirlwind, and like all of these little things are happening around you and you can't focus on it all at once, so it's really important to make a constant effort to be present. I remember several moments throughout the day during which I got quiet, relaxed, and tried to take in and remember all the details around me. One thing Calvin and I also vowed to do on our wedding day was to enjoy each other. We wanted to make sure we never "lost" each other at our reception. As the bride and groom you are being pulled in many directions, and of course things happen but there are so many times we have been to weddings where we had heard either the bride or groom being asked "Where is the bride/groom?!" and their response would be along the lines of, "I'm not sure, I haven't seen them in awhile!" We knew that this day was about our love and celebrating our marriage, so you can be sure that we wanted to celebrate it *together!*Calvin and I had so much fun. We danced our faces off, laughed, cried happy tears, and we got to experience all of that together. My favorite compliment that we received from many of our guests, over and over, was that our wedding was so much fun because the true love between me and Calvin was so palpable, that it filled the entire room and created pure, raw, KEFI. ?
**Anything else our viewers should know?**We had the wedding of our dreams, and none of it could have been achieved without our parents. We are so fortunate for the constant love and support they show us.