THE BEGINNING Who would have thought an online dating app like Hinge would bring these two lovebirds together. Tom had been searching for his soulmate for many years and Graziella had just ventured out into the shadowy online dating world. Within two weeks of Graziella being on the app, the two of them matched just like that. Initial text conversations were pleasant so they decided to speak over the phone. The two bonded over gardening among other topics, Tom was an aspiring hobbyist while Graziella had watched her dad grow countless fruits and vegetables her whole life. With a rapport set in place, they decided a first date was in order. THE FIRST DATE The first date over sushi was filled with conversation about family, friends, stories, and hobbies. They were both surprised by how much they had in common. It was not love at first sight, but rather a match made in heaven. They both knew something was there, but they couldn't quite put their finger on it just yet. After both departing, Tom sat in his car and reflected on the moment. Her beauty was obvious but he was truly captivated by her energy. Anyone who truly knows Graziella knows how endearing she can be. Tom was enchanted. Tom called Graziella within an hour after the date to meet up again — naturally, she was on the phone with her mom, giving her all the details about their many shared values, his dashing appearances, and his kind heart. From that moment Graziella knew this man was different and knew what he wanted. THE FRIENDSHIP Over summer and fall 2022, after many home-cooked meals, at-home dance parties, and long walks on the Hudson River, a strong and exciting friendship began to grow— even after Tom discovered Graziella's bizarre cleaning habits. Their compatibility was undeniable. In due time, after meeting each other's families, that friendship blossomed into love. THE PROPOSAL Graziella and Tom had spoken about marriage, and she was under the impression that a proposal may happen sometime after Thanksgiving 2022, possibly on their trip planned to Costa Rica in late December, but she never knew exactly when. She began to catch on when Tom came home one week night with a ton of food from her parent's home. Tom had just gotten done getting Mr. and Mrs. Ruffa’s blessing to marry their daughter, but they wouldn't let him leave without taking many bags of goodies to her. It was unavoidable, how could Tom say no to Graziella's parents food and wine?! The proposal happened at her apartment on Christmas Day 2022 right before they left for their trip. Tom directed Graziella to sit on the sofa to open presents, which she thought was strange but went along with it. He then handed her a heartfelt card, which made her very emotional, as Tom's cards normally do. Before she knew it, Tom whipped around with a box in his hand and got down on one knee. THE RING Graziella had no words. She was too busy being hypnotized by the bright green emerald sparkling before her. She couldn't believe it was hers! After all, she thought the proposal would happen in Costa Rica, but instead, Tom had a change of plans and decided to surprise Graziella before they left on their trip. And boy, was she surprised. Imagine walking through customs wearing that gorgeous emerald?! She had always wanted an emerald and had voiced this to her mom early on. After Tom's rendezvous with Graziella's mom, paired with the insightful feedback from her maid of honor, Angela, the perfect stone, an emerald from Zambia, was found. THE GRACE OF GOD Since their engagement, Tom and Graziella have continued to go on many more adventures, including some with their trusty dog Yoshie! They have moved in together and their love has grown stronger. They know they are inseparable and can conquer anything as long as they are together. Tom and Graziella's prayers have been answered. They always had faith that their special someone was out there. They have made a commitment to each other and by the grace of God, their story will live on forever.