Hudson County has a wide range of love stories, and Hoboken residents Nicole and Benjamin Fornecker are one of them. In the spirit of celebrating all things love today and every day, we’re going back in time with Nicole and Benjamin’s engagement, which includes everything there is to love about the Mile Square. Their story includes incredible NYC views, top-notch restaurants, local vendors, and that small-town feel that makes Hoboken so special. Keep reading for our talk with Nicole and all the details, like where they met, what the wedding was like, and what their lives are like now.
Hoboken Girl: What do you both do for a living?
Nicole Fornecker: We both work for two different investment banks.
HG: Where do you call home?
NF: We have lived in Hoboken for six years now (since 2016). Prior to that, we lived in New York City for many years. We moved to Hoboken at the recommendation of a colleague who lived in Hoboken with his wife and son. They always boasted the ease of commuting, expansive restaurants, and friendships they have made in town.
HG: When + where did you and your partner meet?
NF: My husband and I met at the bar downstairs from the investment bank where we both worked at the time, the Vander Bar. His friend had invited him to a goodbye happy hour for another employee, and my friend had invited me to that same event. Talk about being at the right place at the right time, since technically neither of us were directly invited.
HG: Was there an instant connection/chemistry between you two?
NF: While my husband will play it cool about this question, I definitely knew there was a connection after we both introduced ourselves. We spent most of the evening talking to just each other. I had another event to attend and could not stay long. I left that bar that night without exchanging numbers but knew I needed to see this man again. Lucky for me, we had some mutual friends.
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HG: How long have you been together?
NF: In total, we have been together nine years; three of which as a married couple.
HG: When was the moment you knew you were meant to marry each other?
NF: I can’t remember the exact moment I knew he was the one but it was very early on – under a year of knowing each other. I even texted my best friend.
NF: Tell us about your proposal.
NK: Ben’s 30th birthday was in November 2017 and we had a celebratory dinner for about 30 friends at our favorite restaurant, Augustino’s. Secretly, Ben was texting all of the guests clueing them in on his plan to propose. He made sure to invite mostly ‘his’ friends and family, which I didn’t think too much of because it was his birthday.
After dinner, Ben turned to me and said, ‘Let’s thank everyone for coming,’ and a small red flag went off in my head. Ben has known most of these friends since he was in elementary school and it is not uncommon for this group to leave events without even saying goodbye, let alone making a speech to thank them. My initial response was “why?” But he told me to just get up and stand next to him, so I did. As Ben started talking, I look around the room and people started to raise their phones up to record/take pictures. At that moment, I stopped listening to what Ben was saying and start scanning the room thinking, “why are they recording?” Then finally, I was brought to reality when Ben grabs my hand and says “Nicole” and then asked me to spend the rest of our lives together.
After the Augustino’s proposal, we raced over to Grand Vin where most of ‘my’ friends and family had been waiting for the ‘after party’ so that they would not raise my suspicions at Augustino’s. In the end, we had two celebrations with lots of friends and family from both ‘his’ and ‘my’ side.
HG: How surprised were you? Were you expecting it?
NF: Any time before the proposal we would go to dinner or vacation I would ask myself “is this it?” but it never was. Ben knew that is the way I think, which he why he had to plan it with a ‘cover-up event’. I was completely caught off guard at the proposal because I truly thought we were celebrating his milestone birthday. It was the absolute perfect proposal and considering he is not much of a public speaker, the fact he gave a short speech and proposed in front of 30 of his friends just shows the love he has for me.
HG: Where did you get married?
NF: We got married at TPC Jasna Polana in Princeton. There is a unique aspect of this venue because the golf course estate formerly belonged to the Johnson & Johnson company founders’ family. The reception room used to be the swimming pool, which is why it is an all-glass room. We got married on May 18th, 2019.
HG: Did you use any local vendors?
NF: It was important to us to use local vendors. We used Hudson Paperie for the wedding invitations and The Wedding Plan and Company (formerly EVJ). While not local in Hoboken, Jeff Tisman Photography is a local to where I grew up in Toms River. His photos of other couples took my breath away and I knew he should be the one to capture our big day.
HG: What were you looking forward to most as a married couple?
NF: At the time, the thing we were most looking forward to as a married couple was beginning our family. We have since welcomed our first child, a son, in June of 2021. We look forward to raising him in Hoboken where he already has lots of friends and activities.