Their first date was in mid-2019, but they had met almost a decade before. They reconnected in 2018 because Monica planned several events at Big Grove Brewery, where Cory works, for her job and they quickly became friends. They were meeting for drinks at Reds (ironically, the restaurant where they had first met back in 2010) and “it was supposed to just be two friends, meeting for a drink! But I think we both quickly realized that we didn’t want it to end. The next day, we met up again – and the rest is history. I remember it just felt easy and comfortable. And we laughed – a lot,” Monica says.
Cory pulled off a special surprise proposal a couple months ago. “I was totally surprised. We went to Denver for the holidays and a few kind of weird things happened: 1) We were moving in a few weeks and he told me and my parents that his entire family was coming to help us move, which seemed a little strange since we had hired movers. 2) For a few weeks leading up to the move, Cory and my stepdad were on the phone with each other A LOT and always out of hearing range from me – I just thought they were really talking about the tools we needed to hang photos in our new place! 3) The day of, my mom and sister said they had to go run errands in downtown Iowa City and offered to get some of my jewelry cleaned at Hands Jewelers. I didn’t even think twice before handing it over.
“That night, after we ordered Chinese food and Cory’s parents and best friends made it into town, everyone was gathered in our new living room. My mom proposed that we all get a drink and toast to the new house, looking at Cory and I to say something. Everyone had their phones out to record and I said, ‘Bottoms up!’ thinking this was a casual celebration. Cory started talking about the trees in our new yard and watching our daughter grow up here, and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee. I thought I was going to faint! I said yes in total disbelief and the night turned into a party that everyone aside from me knew was coming! It was exactly perfect for us.”
They brought their daughter, Faye, along and she is an absolute doll. My youngest is 4 now and I cannot even get over how squishy babies are; how did I forget this so quickly?! Those pre-walking squishy legs and toes that curl up, the hesitant smiles and curious crawling. She is an angel and I cannot even wait to see her again at the wedding.
I asked both of them what they admire most about the other. “Her laugh brings peace to my heart,” Cory says. “Her patience towards my sporadic behavior. Her love and support that she gives me every day. She makes me laugh when I need to smile and she gives me compassion when I’m down and out. She is my rock and I’m her biggest fan!” I mean, make that into a plaque.
Monica says Cory “always looks at things with the glass half-full. He tries his hardest to see the good in all people and all situations. He goes above and beyond for the people he cares about and brings out the best in everyone. I tend to be much more cynical and he really pushes me to find the positives rather than the negatives.”
Together, this couple is absolutely dynamic.
We had planned for indoor shots based on the weather and lack of green here in the early spring, but when our original date got rescheduled due to, ironically, the weather (on a super dark, rainy day which would result in super dark light indoors), we lucked out with a gorgeous afternoon. Both of them work in Iowa City–Cory at Big Grove Brewery and Monica as the VP of Marketing for Think Iowa City, the convention and visitors bureau in Johnson County. (“It is absolutely a dream job: I get to share about what makes the Iowa City area amazing to visitors and help to contribute to the overall quality of life for our residents.”)–so it was extra special to be able to cover spaces inside and out in downtown Iowa City. We started their session at Voxman Music Hall and then walked the few blocks to St. Burch Tavern, one of their favorite places to eat, to end with some drinks and cozy booth cuddling.