Neighbors: Romance born of a 'kick in the pants'
Adam and Erica Troyer are newlyweds, settling in to their new life together. They were married Aug. 8 in a beautiful outdoor wedding, with family and friends happily looking on. Especially happy, no doubt, were the couple's moms.That's because th...
Adam and Erica Troyer are newlyweds, settling in to their new life together.
They were married Aug. 8 in a beautiful outdoor wedding, with family and friends happily looking on.
Especially happy, no doubt, were the couple's moms.That's because they were the ones who nudged Adam and Erica together.
In fact, the couple admits, their romance actually began after the groom's mom gave her boy a "kick in the pants." Figuratively speaking, of course.
Moms at work
Erica's mom, Becky, and Adam's mom, Renae, were best friends when they were growing up in Warren, Minn. They stayed in contact when they went to college, got married and started having kids.
Adam was the first-born of Renae and Steve Troyer, Fargo, and Erica was the first-born of Becky and Tim Dennis, Waseca, Minn.
Adam and Erica didn't meet during their growing-up years; they only saw each other's picture on the yearly Christmas cards their families exchanged.
In 2012, Adam moved to Chicago to take a job. The following year, Erica moved there to attend the Illinois College of Optometry.
Aha! For their moms, the light came on. The romantic light.
Earlier, during a yearly get-together of high school girlfriends, they had begun to think about their two kids meeting. Now, they had an opening.
Erica didn't know anyone in Chicago when she moved there, so Renae and Becky came up with a brilliant idea: Adam could befriend Erica and show her the ropes in the big city.
So Renae gave her son Erica's phone number and said he should give her a call.
But Adam didn't make the move. In the next year, he never called Erica despite his mom's frequent pleas. He had many convincing reasons why he hadn't done so; one of them was he misplaced her number.
However, the couple says on their wedding website, Renae was "extremely persistent," and, through a few "harrowing series of events" the website doesn't spell out, Adam relented and called Erica, and they agreed to meet for lunch at a cafe called Wildberry in downtown Chicago.
A three-date rule
"I must admit I had fairly low expectations for our date," Erica writes on the website, "and I almost called to cancel at least twice.
"I didn't really know what Adam looked like, so when I showed up I remember being a little nervous because I didn't even know who I was looking for."
Adam, too, says, he "didn't have any expectations for our first lunch. I knew she would be nice and that we would probably have a good time, but that was about it."
Erica: "After we finished lunch, I left thinking he was really nice but that I would probably never see him again."
Adam: "I did enjoy our lunch and learned enough about Erica that I wanted to see her again."
Erica: "Much to my surprise, he called the next day wanting to hang out again."
Adam: "I have a three date rule where I try to go out with someone at least three times before deciding one way or the other - to give it a fair chance. So after three dates, I knew I wanted to continue seeing her, so I gave her a call and we had an awkward 'define the relationship' conversation. Following that we went out every weekend for the next several weeks and I began to fall in love with her."
Erica:"Over the next few months I fell completely in love with Adam."
Adam: "A few fun ways that I knew that I was falling in love with Erica: I started texting way more than I ever had before; I used more exclamation points in one month of communications with Erica than I had in the previous 28 years combined; and the biggest indicator: I joined Snapchat (a photo sharing app), though I waited until we were engaged to do that!"
The big question
So they became engaged, after Adam proposed in his own romantic way.
Each day for eight days he gave Erica a handwritten note recounting one of their dates, starting with the most recent one and going back to their first one. Included with each note were candy hearts with a letter on each one spelling out the phrase, "Will you, Erica Joy Dennis, marry me?"
What Adam's notes said "shall remain classified," he said. "But let's just say they always made Erica cry!"
Erica said she looked forward to those notes. "To say that each made me tear up a little is an understatement!"
When the final note and candy heart with a question mark on the back came up, Adam had Erica meet him at the exact spot at the Wildberry cafe where they'd first met. There he handed her the note. But it was a blank sheet of paper.
"I was more than a little confused," she says, "so I looked at Adam and asked what it meant. He responded, saying something to the effect that the blank letter represented all of the future unwritten love letters that he promised to write and some other wonderfully romantic things that I wish I could remember."
Then he dropped to his knee and asked her to marry him. "I was so shocked and excited that I don't think I actually said yes out loud, but rather just nodded my head," she says.
But she was to receive yet another surprise. Unknown to her, it had been pre-arranged for her three sisters and her best friend to drive from Minneapolis to Chicago to surprise her and be part of her and Adam's big day.
Thank you, moms!
Adam and Erica's pre-wedding website entry said that, "We can't wait to get married and start our life together in Chicago. And we are so looking forward to celebrating our wedding with all of our friends and family."
And they did, at their wedding at the Woods Chapel in Long Lake, Minn. It was a beautiful day; a day with, as their families proclaim, "a man of God marrying a woman of God."
The couple now is living in Chicago, where Adam is an actuary and Erica is in her third year of optometry school, and where perhaps once in a while they think again of what they'd written on their website: "May we have as strong and long lasting a marriage as our parents and grandparents before."
But they also may laugh as they recall how their pastor from their Baptist church in Chicago spoke, during his wedding message, of their mothers conspiring for their children to meet ... even though Renae insists "This was all God's plan and timing for them, not ours!"
No doubt she's right. But still, Adam and Erica couldn't resist adding this line to their wedding website: "We would especially like to thank our mothers for getting this all started. Because let's be honest: Adam needed the kick in the pants to initiate!"