We met in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Matt was working as a reporter at the local newspaper, Marlene was a music student. Marlene had met up with some friends to see a movie. That whole group then met up with some people they knew at a local bar, The Pickle Barrel. One of those people at the Pickle Barrel was a co-worker of Matt's. He called and asked Matt if he wanted to come hang out. When Matt showed up, he pulled up a chair right next to Marlene. They started chatting and laughing and joking with one another, and before long they had arranged a date. They've been chatting and laughing and joking ever since. Almost five years later to the day, they're getting married.
The proposal: It was Matt's birthday. Marlene had to work that day, so when she got home, he asked if they could just go get some barbecue for dinner; you know, nothing too fancy. They did, and after dinner, Matt said, "Let's go to Millennium Park (in downtown Chicago) for a walk." Marlene initially wasn't up for it, but eventually she said, "OK, let's go for a walk." Matt took Marlene to a fenced-in flower garden area--one where they had relaxed and taken pictures not long after moving to Chicago in 2010. The sat down, he pulled out the ring and asked. Luckily, she said yes.