Todd Danforth photography gay same-sex lgbtqia+ queer engagement proposal LA California USA Dancing With Them magazine (1)

Jack & Marco



Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do for work and fun?

Marco works in marketing for a financial services company, and Jack is a lawyer. We live in Chicago, where we met over nine years ago, with a big orange cat named Kurby. For fun, we enjoy cooking and finding new movies and shows to watch at home. When there isn’t a global pandemic going on, we love traveling and dining out. We also enjoy frequent weekend trips up to Wisconsin, where Marco’s family lives, and occasional trips to Arizona, where Jack grew up. 

We’ve been together for about nine years and met in February 2012 during a chilly night out in college. We were both undergraduate students at Loyola University Chicago. After a pleasant, late-night conversation, we exchanged phone numbers and went our separate ways. The next day we started texting, but Marco disappeared when his phone was stolen on the Red Line after a couple of days of talking. Marco found Jack on Facebook a week or so later, and we continued talking. 

Marco was leaving soon for a spring break trip to Florida, further delaying another in-person meet-up. After spring break, we finally had an official “first date” sometime in March. It didn’t take long for things to get more serious, and on April 22nd, a couple of weeks after Marco’s 22nd birthday, we made our relationship “Facebook official.” (This was a huge deal back in 2012.) Over the following year, we met each other’s friends and families and, luckily, our relationship was welcomed by all.


Tell us about the planning process for the proposal.

Having been together for so long, we reached the point where we knew an engagement would happen; we just didn’t know when exactly. We were very young when we met, and the three years Jack spent in law school were too stressful (for both of us!) for us to even consider trying to plan a wedding. After graduating from law school, Jack accepted a two-year job clerking for the federal appeals court in Chicago. Finally, out of school for good and feeling like a “real adult,” Jack decided it might finally be time to take the next step. We had already planned a fall trip up to Door County, Wisconsin, which would be the perfect place for an engagement. So, Jack purchased rings and, telling no one, planned to pop the question. 


Any stories from the lead-up to the proposal stressful or funny?

It almost didn’t go as planned. After spending a couple of days visiting local wineries, restaurants, and shops in the area, we spent a sunny but cold afternoon exploring the Door Peninsula’s multiple state parks. We’re not much for public spectacle, and every time Jack saw an otherwise “perfect moment,” strangers would find their way into our space. 

Eventually, the afternoon was getting late, and we needed some coffee and food. Marco was adamantly ready to head back to the apartment we rented for the weekend to get ready for a dinner out. But with some nagging, Jack convinced him to drive to one more park that wasn’t too far away. Marco reluctantly agreed, and to our delight, the place was empty when we got there – finally the right moment to pull out the rings! 

What lead you to the destination of the proposal?

We had actually never been to Door County before, but it had two of our favorite things – fall foliage and wine – so we were sure we would love it there. And we were right. We returned the following year and intend to make an annual trip out of it. 


Tell us about the engagement ring experience. 

Jack ordered matching rings online from a department store. Not very familiar with ring sizing, he ended up exchanging them three times, and the sizes were still wrong! We exchanged them one more time and have been wearing them since. We always intended for them to be placeholders, and we’ll replace them with new ones for the wedding. 

What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?

It marks a significant step forward in our relationship and our lives. We’ve been together for a long time, and it feels good to take a step forward into our shared future. Otherwise, things honestly aren’t that different. We’ve already been living together for several years, and our families long ago became accustomed to both of us being around for holidays and other gatherings. 


How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be?

So far, so good! Excited to be engaged, we immediately started throwing ideas around. But we didn’t make any firm plans right off the bat. We thought that Palm Springs, where Marco was born, would be a great location, so we planned a trip to celebrate Marcos’s 30th birthday in April 2020 and figured we could check out a few venues while we were there. Then COVID came, and that trip was canceled. After canceling the trip, there was a huge pause during which we didn’t really make any progress. We eventually picked things back up, hired a wedding planner, picked a wedding venue, and took these wonderful engagement photos. We really hope that our wedding will be a fun way for all our friends and family to celebrate together in a post-pandemic world. 


How are you going about choosing your key vendors?

Since we don’t live in Palm Springs, we are taking our cues from locals and those in the industry. Our photographer, Todd Danforth, was recommended by one of the planners we spoke with. The planner we hired, Jessica Fauls, was recommended by the events manager at one of the venues we toured. Most of the other vendors we’ve started working with have been sourced through Jessica, who knows all the local talent. 

Photography by Todd Danforth