This proposal has everything: a long-distance love story, an untimely Covid diagnosis, and freezing cold weather. But, it also has a happy ending. Monica Delehanty and John Malespina got engaged in true Hoboken style: on the waterfront, surrounded by friends and family. Read on to learn more about this couple, the role Hoboken plays in their love story, and how they got to their happy ending.
HG: What do you both do for a living?
M: I am a professional dancer and John is a financial accountant.
HG: When did you live in Hoboken + where do you call home now?
M: We lived in Hoboken from 2018 to 2020 and then we bought our current home in Waldwick, NJ. At the time we were both commuting into the city for work, so we figured Hoboken was a better location to move in together. Hoboken holds a lot of significance to us because of how much time we spent there together during quarantine as well as it being the location of our first apartment together. We loved our studio loft two blocks from the PATH station and were sad to leave it.
(Photo credit: Upasana Mainali Photography)
HG: When + where did you meet?
M: We met through mutual friends but didn’t start talking/dating for about two years after that. I’m from Harrington Park and John grew up in Park Ridge. I was living in California at the time while John was still in NJ. We met up while I was home in New Jersey for Christmas and haven’t stopped talking since then.
HG: Was there an instant connection + chemistry?
M: There definitely was an instant connection that required some work to it because I lived across the country. But the conversations were so easy and fun, so it was worth it. I remember John staying up so late on the East Coast just to talk to me on West Coast time. We would press ‘play’ at the same time and watch shows together with a three-hour time difference.
Read More: The Best Hoboken Engagement Photo Spots
HG: How long have you been together?
M: Five years.
HG: When was the moment you knew you were meant to marry each other?
J: I knew on the first date. Monica agrees, but she thinks she DEFINITELY knew when I surprised her in California three days after getting my appendix out. Moving into Hoboken together was definitely a big step and we knew that we were serious about each other.
HG: Tell us all about your proposal.
M: This is where the twists and turns come in. John had originally planned the whole proposal, including a photographer, flowers, and all kinds of surprises for November 14th, which is also his birthday. But he tested positive for Covid the day before the big event. He tested for Covid in anticipation of surgery to repair a torn hip labrum – a fact that will become relevant later. John scrambled to reorganize the celebrations, and I noticed he was extremely upset. I chalked it up to him loving celebrating his birthday with family and friends, and being disappointed to have to move the party and postpone the surgery.
The following weekend, the rescheduled celebrations were about to get underway. It was a windy November day and John insisted on taking a walk on the waterfront since his friends weren’t at the bar yet. I was, let’s just say, less than thrilled with this idea and made sure John knew it. My sister called me to meet her on the pier, which didn’t make things any better but we continued on. My head is down to keep my face from the wind. Eventually, I see rose petals on the floor and look up to see roses, candles, champagne and suddenly realize what’s happening. I instantly apologize for yelling at him for 10 minutes. After I said ‘yes’ and we kissed I heard lots of cheering and clapping, which I thought was random passersby on the pier, but I looked up and it was my two sisters, brother-in-law, and his sister. The moments after still seem like such a blur.
John made sure to propose before his rescheduled hip surgery so he could get down on one knee – something he wouldn’t be able to do after the operation.
HG: How surprised were you? Were you expecting it?
M: I was extremely surprised given the circumstances (surgery, Covid) and still was shocked and confused for about 30 minutes after. Since we had been together for so long, you kind of think it can happen at any time, but I never thought it’d be his birthday because he LOVES his birthday and I didn’t think he would want to make it about us.
HG: Where are you planning to get married? If no specific venues yet, what cities are you considering?
M: We would love to have the city skyline within our venue and have looked at a couple of places.
HG: How many people do you plan to have at your wedding?
M: We both have huge families, and I have five other siblings, so we are looking at about 200 people.
HG: Are you planning to use any local vendors? If so, which ones?
M: We are both Italian and love a good pasta table. That Pasta Club is a local Hudson County pasta vendor that delivers fresh pasta to customers’ doors every week. It is incredible! The Spicy Vodka Rigatoni is to die for so we would love to include that at our wedding.
HG: What are you looking forward to most as a married couple?
M: We’ve already done a lot of things married couples do, like move in together, buy a house, so I think the most exciting part for us is for everything to just be official and be a family.