How It Started...
How We Met
It was very unlikely for us to have ever met at all. When we swiped right on each other on the dating app Hinge, we were still separated by the Atlantic Ocean. Olivia was working in the Capital Region of New York as an Estate Manager, while I was wrapping up seven years of my life in Krakow, Poland, and getting ready to start residency as a doctor in Poughkeepsie, NY. Yet even then, from our very first FaceTime together, we knew that we were very interested in one another. Drawn together by a shared sense of adventure and appreciation for our myriad experiences, our first date was in Hudson, NY on a blindingly brilliant early summer afternoon.
I was a little late, despite my best efforts, and Olivia was waiting for me near an art gallery that had already closed. I was immediately struck by her grace, charm, and warmth as we walked down the street to get dinner together. As the hours flowed by, unnoticed in the rapture of finally getting to meet Olivia in person, I suggested that we go to see the Top Gun Maverick movie that was just released in theaters. We were all alone in the cold darkness of the theater (with the exception of another gentleman in the back), and as the movie progressed Olivia snuggled up for warmth. Reaching over to pull her in, you can only imagine the thrill of my heart as I felt how comfortable and secure Oliva felt with me. Towards the end of the movie, I worked up the courage to kiss her for the first time!
July 4th was just around the corner, and I really wanted to see the fireworks with Olivia. Although she couldn’t make it then, she did want to go on our second date on the grounds of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, overlooking the glistening Hudson River. That river, which was the backdrop of so many chapters of our life before and since, was to witness yet another gentle summer afternoon turned evening, as we loafed about on a blanket among fireflies, snuggled up together. Our next dates, taking place around the Hudson Valley and in the Capital Region, were a time of learning about one another, our hopes and dreams, our passions and pet peeves, building on a deepening sense of trust and comfort with one another.
The ultimate test of that trust and comfort came when I had vacation in mid-July and invited Olivia to come with me on a trip to Poland and then on a cruise around the Mediterranean. Having gone a day before her, I can still remember the smile that blossomed over her face as she saw me waiting for her at the arrivals terminal of the Krakow Airport. That was the start of our fifth date, on which we went all over Poland visiting my family followed by a flight to Barcelona, then a cruise to Rome where we left for the airport just in the nick of time at 4 am. All in all we visited 8 countries in 12 days, and more importantly, we learned that we would be able to spend the rest of our lives together going on just as crazy adventures while supporting each other through thick and thin.
Marriage is just the beginning of a whole new chapter of our lives, one which we joyfully invite you to celebrate with us.
The moment Adrian got down on one knee seems so blissfully surreal, even now as I think back to it. He did a great job keeping it a surprise, which blew me away even more into a whirlwind of emotions as tears of joy began running down my cheeks when the moment finally came.
It was my 30th birthday, and of course Adrian was going to make it special but also very cozy. We had Paul (Adrian’s groomsman and best friend from childhood) and Annabella (my bridesmaid and Paul’s girlfriend) come up from the City to join us at a Hibachi restaurant in Danbury on a gentle and warm late August afternoon. As our chef was making onion ring volcanoes and flinging morsels of vegetables off his spatula towards us, we had a blast enjoying each other’s company while saying “cheers” to the next round of sake, one of my favorite spirits. Back home was a giant ice cream cake Adrian got from Red Rooster, one of the classic comfort food joints in Brewster, knowing how much I love ice cream cake.
Once we got back home, the real celebrations began. There are several birthday traditions in the Poniatowski Family, which involve being feted by not one but four Polish birthday songs, the cake and candles, wearing a special birthday cake hat declaring to the world that you’re Queen of the Day, and of course, presents. Adrian strategically took us to the Family Room where we could sit all together by the fireplace while I opened my presents and traded jokes and banter about them with Adrian’s brothers.
While enjoying another flute of sparking wine, the time came for the last present. I was asked to put down the flute and stand up - suddenly, my chair and Adrian’s were swiftly moved to the side while Adrian came with a small gift wrapped very much like a Tootsie Roll in orange tissue paper. As he asked me to unwrap it, revealing a small blue leather ring box - as I put two and two together, I was overwhelmed by so much happiness and wonder! Before opening the box, he recounted how he traveled in person two weeks before to meet my Dad, Louis, for the first time in Waterford, NY, to ask for my hand in marriage and to receive both his permission and blessing.
Opening up the box, I saw a breathlessly beautiful ring, more amazing than what I have even dreamed of before. A marvelous sapphire was in the middle of a ring of diamonds encircling its gentle, deep blue. Much more importantly, it was an heirloom of Adrian’s late Mother, Dorothy, who had four identical rings bought for each of her future daughters-in-law before she passed away. This first ring was not only a visible reminder of Adrian’s profound love for me, but also in a very special way our Mother’s gift to me. In it, I could see the elegance, class, and taste that were among her numerous virtues in her life, and I could also feel her spiritual love embrace me as Adrian slipped the ring on my finger and gave me a big kiss and hug, to the cheers and applause of my new Family and our beloved friends.
I went to sleep that night so grateful for the many blessings I have received since Adrian entered my life. Adrian was very relieved that everything went off without a hitch, and he too, was deeply grateful that we are both willing and ready to grow together, as one body and one soul. I hope you will all share in the cheers and the applause to come as we finally begin our life together as husband and wife on June 1!