When glamorous producer, Donia Duchess, went on her first date with Joey, she knew she’d met her match. From fake British accents to psychic predictions, long distance dating to an unexpected proposal – plus deets on the dress she’s currently designing with Anomalie (hint: there’s lots of sparkle!) – this sweet love story is something straight out of a movie script.
Dish the details! How did you first meet?
From the Bride: Joey and I met online – POF (Plenty of Fish) to be exact. He messaged me, we started chatting, and I asked him what he did for work. He sent me three paragraphs in response! I was running out the door at the time and thought to myself, “I’m not reading this!” I met up with friends and decided to read the message out loud. All of us immediately thought, “HE’S AN ANGEL!” He talked about his work with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) patients and about how important and fulfilling his job was.
When did you know your fiancé was the one?
From the Bride: I knew on the first date. I got home and told my mom that I met my husband when she asked how the date went.
Our first date was as the Maritime Aquarium in Connecticut. At one point we went for a walk outside by the river and saw two swans and a rainbow, and Joey started singing Aerosmith. As if that wasn’t enough, he started talking in a British accent, so I played along and did the same. In that moment of complete nerdiness, I knew he was who I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. It was like we had known each other forever, and I could be myself completely.
From the Groom: That’s a tough question. It seems like everyday is another confirmation that she’s my soulmate. When I made her laugh for the first time on our first date and saw her smile, I knew she was special, and when I put my hands on her shoulders while we listened to an aquarium employee talk about starfish, I felt the immediate connection.
How did he pop the question?
From the Bride: We were in a long distance relationship for a year. I moved to Los Angeles for my career, and Joey stayed in Connecticut. At the end of that year, I travelled home to visit, and we discussed what the plan would be going forward. Joey didn’t want to move to Los Angeles – and I didn’t want to force him – but we both knew we wanted to be together. After a long conversation, he said, “Let’s go look at rings.” We had done this before, so I didn’t think anything of it.
When we got to the jewelry store, I tried on a few rings before the saleswoman asked, “So is this the one? Are we going to get it?” Joey replied, “Well…that depends.” I looked at him in shock because I did not expect him to propose right then. I asked, “Depends on what?” and he responded, “Will you marry me?”
The saleswoman’s jaw dropped, and she was so giddy, screaming “Oh my god!” Obviously I said yes, and a few days later, he got down on one knee in front of my mom and nieces. He wanted to show my nieces what a good man looks like.
Tell us about your day-of look! What do you imagine walking down the aisle in?
From the Bride: I just got my dress sketch back from Anomalie, and it is perfect! Bright white, lace, and LOTS of sparkle! I want to feel like a sexy, shiny princess for a day! The buttons down the back and long train are details I’m really excited about. I originally thought I wanted two dresses, but now I’m so in love with this design, I want to live in the dress forever. So only one dress.
What’s the vision for your big day?
From the Bride: Boho, rustic charm, sleek and sophisticated, dreamy and romantic… Joey is really outdoorsy and loves gardening – he hiked the Appalachian Trail right before we met! I’m more of the “glamorous” one, so the theme is “rustic glamour” with lots of greenery and sequins.
Favorite memory together?
From the Bride: We have so many! Probably driving across country this past summer from Connecticut to Los Angeles. We did the drive in 12 days, staying at Airbnbs along the way. We also made it a point to do it on a tight budget to show other people that this kind of trip could be done affordably.
One morning, I saw a billboard advertising free breakfast at a hotel. Of course it was for guests only, but it didn’t say that on the board, so I told Joey to stop there. He went inside the lobby and casually plated biscuits, bacon, eggs, etc,. as though he was a guest. We enjoyed a lovely, free breakfast that morning. That is just how we are as a couple though – we have fun together! After all, that’s what life is about!
From the Groom: A year into our relationship. we went to Mexico and were driving around the entire island, exploring with an open mind for adventure. We drove a Jeep to many corners of Cozumel and saw things that were way different from where we grew up. Every vacation together since has been just as amazing.
Favorite TV show to watch together?
From the Groom: We have tons – Game of Thrones, Handmaid’s Tale, Drunk History, Harlots, and most recently, Sneaky Pete.
Favorite thing about your fiancé?
From the Bride: His heart. He is such a giving, caring, loving person. I’ve seen him pull over countless times to help someone on the side of the highway jump their car or push it out of traffic.
From the Groom: How she treats others. She is so loyal to her career, family, and friends, and she has so much respect for those she works with and offers her friendship too. I always say that anyone that has met Donia or knows her, is lucky to have had an encounter with her.
Where did you have your first kiss?
From the Bride: We had our first kiss on our first date – wasted NO TIME! Haha!
After the aquarium and dinner, the date was going so well neither of us wanted it to end. I was supposed to meet up with some friends at a bar and invited him to join me. That night, he met at least 20 of my co-workers and friends. He fit right in! When I walked him to his car, he asked me out for a second date before we kissed and said good night.
Anything else you’d like to share about your love story?
From the Bride: I come from a really big family. I have 10 brothers and sisters, 14 nieces and nephews, and countless cousins. Joey’s family is extremely small – one brother, one sister, and two nieces. We both have been able to fit right into the other’s family in the easiest way. Both of our families are very supportive of us, and we feel so lucky.
Crazy enough, we have the same beauty marks on our first finger and on our left thumbs. Joey says it’s because we marked each other in our past lives so we could find each other in this one. I truly believe he is my soul mate. Plus, a psychic told me so before I even met him. That’s a whole other story!
From the Groom: Learning how to love each other as a new couple, as a long distance couple, as an engaged couple, as housemates, and while wedding planning has given us different chapters with new levels to explore together. It’s been a process that has shown us more about each other, and we continue to learn each day. We both realize that we have something special and try not to take that for granted.
Stylist Pro Tip: Dreaming of a wedding dress that you love so much, you’ll “want to live in it forever” like Donia? Schedule a call with one of our stylists to begin designing your perfect gown today! Also, #gofollow Donia on Instagram, you won’t regret it!
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