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This Former Jersey City Couple Got Engaged at Exchange Place

by Samantha Impaglia
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Jagoda Dul and Sam Howie are a former Jersey City couple who just recently got engaged locally. The two met in 2016 while attending separate colleges in Delaware and Maryland — and have since lived in JC with their puppy, Tony, before moving to Philadelphia to be closer to family. Read on to learn more about Jagoda and Sam’s local love story and how Jersey City played a large part in it.

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

Hoboken Girl: What do you both do for a living?

Jagoda Dul: I work in finance and Sam is an attorney.

HG: What city do you both live in + for how long? What’s your favorite part about living here?

JD: We actually relocated to Philadelphia in August 2021 to be a little bit closer to Sam’s family in Maryland, but we lived in Jersey City for two years prior to that. The first year we lived near Grove Street and the second year we were in Paulus Hook.

Our favorite part of living in Jersey City was how clean and quiet the city feels, but there is also a ton to do. Also super convenient being close to NYC, but not having to live in NYC. The best part about Paulus Hook was the Morris Canal Park right outside our apartment building where we would take our puppy, Tony, to play frisbee every day. We also loved going to Light Horse Tavern for dinner and Sam A.M. for breakfast on the weekends.

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

HG: When + where did you and Sam meet?

JD: We met the summer (August 2016) before my senior year of college at the University of Delaware and Sam’s second year of law school at the University of Maryland. I happened to be in Baltimore one weekend visiting a friend and Sam knew my friend’s roommate from law school. We met at the pre-game at our friends’ apartment in Federal Hill and then hung out all night when we went to a local bar named Ropewalk. Sam texted me the following Monday asking me to go out to dinner with him. He even said he’d drive up to Newark, Delaware to take me out, so how could I say no?!

HG: How long have you been together?

JD: We’ve been together for a little over 5 and a half years.

HG: Was there an instant connection/chemistry between you two?

JD: There definitely was the night we met, and then when we went out on our first date and Sam told me his favorite show was One Tree Hill, I knew I found a good one.

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

Read More: Microwedding Venues in Hoboken + Jersey City

HG: What are the qualities you love most about each other?

JD: His honesty.

SH: She’s very humble.

HG: When was the moment you knew you were meant to marry each other?

JD: I don’t think there was one specific moment. For me, I knew our relationship was serious and heading in that direction, when after being long distance for the first two years of our relationship, Sam decided to apply for jobs in the NJ/NY area after law school in Maryland. Sam has a really big family (8 younger brothers + sisters) and he loves everything about Maryland so him deciding to move up north so we could live together was a big deal.

We lived in a third-floor walk-up above a foot massage parlor in the middle of Herald Square in NYC the first year we lived together (before making the move out to JC) so I knew we could take on anything together after that experience. Sam was also taking NJ Transit out to New Brunswick every day for his judicial clerkship, but agreed to live in New York so that I could be close to my job in Midtown.

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

HG: Tell us about your proposal.

JD: Sometime in March of this year, Sam told me that I should be “on the watch” for a proposal sometime between April and September. After April went by with no proposal, I was bugging him asking when it would happen and he kept acting like it would be a few more months and gave no indication of doing any kind of preparation on his end.

I took the train up to New York from Philly on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. I was going to get my hair highlighted at my favorite salon in the city, Bumble & Bumble, and then planning to head to my parents’ house in NJ for Mother’s Day. When I got to the hair salon, the receptionist handed me a card in an envelope with my name on it. The weather was terrible that weekend (nonstop rain, wind, + 45 degrees), and after walking five blocks in the torrential downpour with my umbrella blowing inside out, I grabbed the card quickly and went to coat check to drop off my soaked rain jacket and heavy overnight bag. While they were checking in my stuff, I looked down at the note and noticed the handwriting on the front looked eerily like Sam’s. It read:

Jagoda, The Watch ends at the Colgate Clock. Meet me there ASAP. I cannot wait to see you. Love, Sam

When we lived in Jersey City, we always used to take walks near the Colgate Clock down by the water. It arguably has some of the best views of downtown Manhattan. I told Sam a few months ago my dream proposal would be somewhere in Jersey City because it’s our favorite place we’ve ever lived.

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

After processing what was about to happen (and freaking out over text to Sam, my mom, and my best friend, Corinne), I spent 2.5 agonizing hours getting my hair done. I then quickly got changed and did my makeup in the salon’s bathroom. Luckily, I had a cute dress in my bag that my mom insisted I bring home for Mother’s Day. I refused to Uber because getting in a car in the middle of a storm in NYC is about the dumbest thing you can ever do so I made the trek from Midtown East to Exchange Place in Jersey City via the subway and then the PATH.

After walking through the wind tunnel that is Exchange Place, I came around the corner of the Goldman Sachs building and saw a group of about 30 people huddled together outside of the lobby. I thought they were a tour group at first and thought, Wow, what a terrible day for a tour, until I saw Tony, our Entlebucher Mountain Dog that we got last year, standing happily in a “my parents are getting married!” bandana. I started to take in the smiling faces of our closest family and friends until Sam rounded the corner and proposed. He asked me for my response and I said, “What? You haven’t even asked me yet!” and we both started laughing over the crazy wind.

jersey city engagement dog

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

We then made our way to our family and friends and I started realizing everyone who came out for us. In addition to parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, we also had friends come from literally the entire Northeast Corridor, with my best friend from college, Maggie, coming all the way from Boston and my best friend from work, Naomi, coming all the way from Washington DC.

Sam had invited them all personally and created a 7-page PDF with day-of instructions, Google Map street view photos of where to meet, and even an FAQ section. After I chugged some champagne to process what was happening, we made our way over to the Iron Monkey where Sam reserved a private room for our entire crew.

It was truly the most special surprise anyone has ever planned for me and I hope I never forget every little detail I tried to soak in as much as possible.

HG: How surprised were you? Were you expecting it?

JD: 10000% surprised. I never thought it would happen that day — I didn’t even have my nails done. Shoutout to our friends, Jake and Jess, for running to CVS to buy me stick-on nails for the photos. Also shout out to our friend, Nicole, for taking the best engagement photos ever taken in the middle of a storm.

HG: How long have you been engaged + what has been the best part about it?

JD: We’ve been engaged since early May and the best part about it is (hands down) reminiscing about the day we got engaged. Also staring down at my gorgeous ring while I work isn’t too bad either.

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

See More: This Couple Had 2 Local Engagements — 1 in Front of the Jersey City Courthouse

HG: Where are you planning to get married?

JD: We have no idea. Our families and friends are pretty scattered so we definitely want to take that into account. I’d love an early-fall wedding.

HG: What part of the wedding planning process are you most excited about?

JD: I’m a big planner (I actually enjoy planning things) so I’m really looking forward to all of it.

HG: How many people do you plan to have at your wedding?

JD: We’re not sure yet. We definitely want to invite all of our family and friends to celebrate. We were told the first step in wedding planning is figuring out the guest list so we’ll start there!

jersey city engagement exchange place

(Photo credit: Nicole McCreesh)

HG: Do you plan to use any local vendors?

JD: We’re obsessed with Bob White so maybe we’d have them cater the late-night snack portion of the wedding, which everyone knows is the most important.

HG: What are you looking forward to most as a married couple?

JD: The tax benefit. Just kidding – we already feel like a married couple, but being able to call each other “husband” and “wife” will be super cool.

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