AJ and Nick

Asbury Park, New Jersey



Photography | Tom Russo Photography | @tomrussophotography

Location | The Asbury Park Boardwalk | @theasburyparkboardwalk

Location | Asbury Park Convention Hall

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you two first meet?

We met during the holiday season of 2016 on a spur of the moment first date. We met online (thanks Tinder!) about two weeks prior to actually meeting each other face to face. For those two weeks, we talked about everything and anything you can imagine – just trying to figure out exactly who we were and what we wanted out of this “relationship” moving forward. At the time, Nick lived in Philly and AJ lived in central New Jersey (or Northern – whatever you think exists) so the probability of a long-distance relationship was slim, but we gave it a shot anyway.


The weekend of Thanksgiving, Nick invited AJ over for an impromptu movie night at his mom’s while he was home in Staten Island for a few days. OK – probably not the smartest idea going over to your Tinder date’s mom’s house for the first time, but we did it anyway. AJ met Nick’s mom and stepdad and we had an amazing night. We did nothing but talk and throw on some background movie to just fill the void. I think we actually talked so much that by the time we started to watch a movie, it was after midnight. We didn’t wrap up our “first date” until about 3:00 AM. From there – the rest is history!


What makes your relationship special? Tell us some things that you both value in your time together. What makes your relationship unique?

We are very grounded in those comfortable moments spent at home. Don’t get us wrong, we love going out, spending time with friends and family and all that entails, but at the end of the day, we love making comfort food and watching a great movie or the latest and greatest on Netflix! As far as our lives go, we both constantly push each other to think outside the box at work and in ways to succeed. There’s never a moment where we wouldn’t automatically try to help the other achieve the goals we set our mind too. It has always been a staple of our relationship and every year we find new ways to help the other get to where we envision ourselves.


We love to travel. After only a few weeks of dating, we went on a trip with some friends to Washington DC and since then, we have been on at least 20 trips in 4 years. It’s an opportunity for us to relax, unwind and forget our responsibilities and we always have an amazing time. Nick has been to more countries than anyone could imagine, so A.J. enjoys the excitement that Nick likes to share when it comes to learning about other cultures and ways of life!

How did you know your partner was the one? When did you first know this in your relationship?

For us, we really knew that our relationship was the endgame when we went on our first trip to Mexico – Cancun. It was a spontaneous trip we took after dating for a few months, but it was still one of our most favorite trips. We had a lot of great dinners with lots of wine that gave us the opportunity to just talk and learn things we hadn’t learned yet. We were in our most relaxed and comfortable state just having fun. When we got home, there was a conversation that the two of us had that we just knew this was it.


Give us all the details about the proposal. How and where did it happen? Was it a surprise? What was the planning process?

Nick proposed to AJ in Copenhagen Denmark on September 24, 2019. To backtrack, Nick had been planning the proposal since June of that same year. He took his mom’s engagement interlock band to a jeweler that month and had a new ring made for A.J. from the diamonds in her band. We were scheduled to go on a mini-Eurotrip in September into October that would cover Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich and Amsterdam. Nick had a sentimental connection to Copenhagen because it’s where he studied abroad, one of his favorite places in the world and it’s where he came out – so he knew that is exactly where he wanted to ask AJ to marry him.


We had been in Copenhagen for about 2 days and Nick set the scene perfectly – Nick had already shown AJ most of Copenhagen, but he wanted to take AJ to the Church of Our Savior to see the entire city in one shot. After climbing to the top of the church (after a little panic from A.J.’s fear of heights that Nick didn’t know about), Nick pointed out each part of Copenhagen from above and why it meant so much to him. He then proceeded to explain that this would be the most special place in the city on top of all of them because we were together. Nick then got down on one knee and asked AJ to marry him! We spent the rest of the trip on cloud 9. To this day, it was the best day of our lives!


We’re all about the bling… Tell us all about that ring!

Nick had AJ’s engagement ring custom made by Buono Jewelers in Staten Island. The ring is made with 1 carat of baguette diamonds in a 14K white gold setting. The diamonds have a sentimental meaning to both of us because they are a part of Nick’s mom’s wedding ring. Nick repurposed the diamonds and it holds a special meaning now for our entire family.


What are you most excited about when it comes to your wedding planning?

We are most excited about having everyone we love in one place celebrating our relationship together. Every thought that we have had about our wedding has been with the intention of the people we are sharing this entire moment with. For us, that is a significant piece of our union – the people that have supported us and have always fought for our love!