August 15, 2002 started off as any other ordinary workday for Matthew in Tampa Florida.
Our first date was set up for 8:30 that night, meeting her at her parent's house. Yes, meeting her parents on the first date! They wouldn't have it any other way. Elissa was living in Atlanta but frequently visited her parents in St Petersburg where she was raised. We contacted each other two months earlier and communicated by email and thought one day we could meet. After schedule conflicts, busy workdays, and building frustration on both our parts, we were able to get together. We felt comfortable with each other as soon as Elissa answered the door. Surprisingly meeting the parents went well also. It started off as good any either of us could have hoped.
The first date was perfect. We got to know a lot about each other and knew that there was a special connection from the start. Elissa had plans to return to Atlanta two days later. That turned into Sunday then into Monday and then Wednesday when Matthew coincidentally was leaving for California. The next 10 days apart were unbearable. We got together again in Atlanta, and the feelings grew much stronger. We think it was at that time we knew that we couldn't be apart.
After that weekend in Atlanta, we wouldn't be seeing each other for the next 2 days, which was when Elissa would be returning to Florida for the High Holidays. At this point we both knew that this was something major. And life-changing.
After Matthew left Atlanta, things were going to be getting official: Matthew arranged to have lunch with Elissa's Father to ask for her hand in marriage. From there, they both (Matthew and the Father) went in search of THE RING (!). An engagement ring was picked out, and Matthew officially proposed September 8, 2002...exactly 23 days after the first date.
Matthew and Elissa were married on May 24, 2003.
Elissa and Matthew