Each love story is unique to itself, and this is no exception. From what started off as a match on Tinder, to talking, then dating, and five years later a meticulously-planned proposal — this love story is one for the books. Matt and Alex, local Jersey City residents, have one of the sweetest proposals you’ll ever hear (seriously, just the engagement ring process had us smiling from ear to ear)! Read on to learn more about Matt and Alex’s proposal story, their wedding plans, and more.
Hoboken Girl: What are your full names?
Matt and Alex: Matt DeMasi and Alex Zanellato
HG: Tell us about yourselves.
M&A: We both have lived together in Jersey City for almost 4 years following our first date at Amelia’s in the Paulus Hook Section over 5 years ago. We are both from the Garden State with both of our families living down at the shore (Asbury Park & Wall). Jersey City has been a special place for us since we met here, moved in together here, and have a dog together here who loves the local dog parks! Our life together was built and supported by Jersey City and the amazing community here. Matt has a background in Psychology and works in the Health-Tech industry, and my background is in commodities trading – more specifically cocoa, although I have a full degree in architecture.
HG: Where did you and your partner meet?
M&A: We actually met on Tinder and spoke for a few weeks before going on our first date at Amelia’s Bistro in Paulus Hook.
HG: How long have you been together?
M&A: Just over five years.
HG: The ring sounds like it was created custom — what are the details?
M&A: Well, this was a complete surprise for Matt, he was truly shocked!
I started the ring process at the beginning of 2021, connecting with Kerry at Love Locked through one of my best friend’s girlfriend Arlene, who has since been dubbed the ‘#ringcupid.’ I was fairly particular in what I was looking for: No diamonds and something rare – I knew Matt was a fan of emeralds, so I went down that path. To keep with the rare theme, I only wanted an Ascher cut which is generally harder to find since that cut has only been around for just over 100 years.
Kerry found some beautiful stones, of which we found the right one! Then onto the setting – I searched the internet with no luck in finding any men’s ring that I liked, so I designed one in Photoshop (even placing the emerald in!) and Kerry was able to bring it into reality. This process took about 3 months.
Alex had asked Arlene to help get the sizing of the ring done which required a little sneaking around so that Matt wouldn’t know. Arlene invited Matt to Love Locked and made up a story about buying a pinky ring for her boyfriend for his birthday. Arlene and Kerry started putting every ring they could find on Matt to get the size, but his fingers were a little big. Eventually, they got him to use a ring sizer to find the right size as a “reference” for Arlene’s boyfriend’s pinky ring. Matt was definitely thrown off and confused but didn’t put it together that he just got sized for his ring.
HG: Tell us the proposal story!
M&A: Now that the ring was set, I knew I wanted to propose to Matt in Liberty State Park in a very specific area that overlooks Jersey City and NYC that Matt and I have walked past many times and have called ‘our spot’, so I booked a photographer for Sunday, June 13th, ordered marquee ‘Marry Me’ letters and had them mailed to my college friend Catrina – now we just had to convenience Matt to go to dinner on a Sunday…. In comes, Arlene again, helping plot and scheme a Sunday dinner at Liberty House with drinks before dinner.
The day comes, I try and have Matt and I super occupied with museums and stuff to do throughout the day. Catrina shows up to the spot early to set up the letters and work with the photographer (I literally created another photoshop of exactly what I was trying to do, and even provided the longitude and latitude of the location!). We arrive at Liberty House, and I say to Matt ‘Oh, I think Brent and Arlene are down by the water, let’s go meet them’. Matt just wanted to get a pre-dinner drink… but I convinced him to walk down to the water, but on the walk, there may have been a few complaints about how hot it was, how long the walk was, how he would have worn different shoes if he knew he would be walking so far – I almost thought he was going to turn around at one point!
We approach the spot and see the letters and I point them out saying ‘oh, look at that, it’s our spot!’
Matt reading the Marry Me sign goes on to say, ‘I would hate such a public proposal’ — for which I had about half a second to turn it around for which I said ‘well, we can make it our spot.’
I grabbed his hand, we walked up the step, the photographers start shooting and Matt was shocked I pulled this off without him knowing, and was extremely happy to say ‘yes’ when I got on one knee.
The proposal was only us, I wanted it to be our thing for which it was – it was the perfect proposal for us both. Then, we did meet Brent, Arlene, Catrina, and another best friend of mine Mike for dinner at Liberty House where we wined, dined, and had a great dinner to celebrate late into the Sunday night – Monday was a little rough, but the news was out and many family and friends sent us many congratulations!
HG: Where are you planning to get married?
M&A: We’re planning for a longer engagement for now, as many weddings have been put on hold due to the pandemic and are just starting to happen again – it seems many venues are booking up quickly, so we may be looking at 2023. That being said, I think it would be important for both of us to get married in Jersey City, in a more non-traditional wedding but rather a party and celebration surrounded by family and friends. Liberty House would be a fun spot, Battello is another, and maybe even the Rooftop at Exchange Place for that VIEW, but Jersey City has many great venues to choose from.
HG: Are you planning on using any local vendors?
M&A: We are not quite there yet, but would prefer to only use local vendors from Jersey City, just like I did using Love Locked.
HG: What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
M&A: Wow, never thought about this – being together for 5+ years already, I don’t think we will change much when we are married, but we can only hope to continue traveling as much as we can, and being surrounded by family and friends for great dinner parties, beach days, and life events.
HG: Do you plan to honeymoon?
M&A: But of course! I have a feeling we will most likely end up in Barcelona, which is where Matt lived for a while during a study abroad program, and while in the area, we will probably end up in my favorite spot in the world Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat in South France – most of the honeymoon will probably be planned around what restaurants we would like to eat at (like most of our trips!).
HG: What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken or Jersey City?
M&A: Edwards Steak House, Taqueria Downtown, Whitestar – oh also Sky Thai! OH and Frankie!
HG: What is your favorite boutique?
M&A: Love Locked.
HG: What do you love most about Hoboken or Jersey City?
M&A: The small-town vibe, while also being in a city.
HG: What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?
M&A: Restaurants, Liberty State Park, and walking around town on dog walks.
HG: Tell us about another business in the area you admire.
M&A: Secur on Grove. The men’s fashion is great because they aren’t what you would usually find elsewhere. Matt enjoys bold prints, patterns, and designs, and Secur offers a fantastic selection.
HG: What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in?
M&A: Liberty State Park.
HG: What is your favorite place to work out in Hudson County?
M&A: Since the pandemic, we got a Peloton, so Matt is all about the Peloton life! Prior to that, Base.
HG: Where do you go out with friends in the area?
M&A: This depends on the occasion, and it feels like it has been so long since the start of the pandemic, but Pint, Six26 Lounge, Surf City, Porta, Zeppelin Hall among many other spots.
HG: What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken or Jersey City?
M&A: I think it would be awesome if the only raised train tracks between 5th and 6th Ave was turned into a raised park, similar to the Highline in NYC, more museums and art galleries, and utilize the space in liberty state park more, maybe a botanical garden or sculpture garden.