Tiffany Richards arrived at the library at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law at 4 AM on her first day of class. In order to reserve a study carrel for the semester, students had to be there at 6 AM to put their names on the list. Tiffany had picked out her spot the night before, and when she arrived at her carrel, Mike Kudravetz was sitting at the one next door.
“He kept looking over at me, and finally I introduced myself,” says Tiffany, 28. “He had a girlfriend, and I wasn’t looking for anyone, but I didn’t have any friends, so it was nice to meet someone.” Tiffany left some Jolly Ranchers on her desk and a Post-It note for Mike telling him to help himself to the candy. He left a note back: “Good call on the Jolly Ranchers.”
Tiffany and Mike, 29, said hi to each other as they passed on campus over the next two years. The summer between their second and third years of law school, Mike bumped into Tiffany as she was moving things into storage and offered to help. After the semester began again, Tiffany and Mike started seeing each other almost everywhere. “I’d be walking to the YMCA to teach swim lessons and he’d be on a random street,” Tiffany says. “I’d go down a stairwell that nobody ever used, and he’d be there. He was literally everywhere!” Tiffany felt a connection between them, but Mike hadn’t made a move. “As I was getting up the nerve to ask her out, she e-mailed me to ask if I would like to go out sometime,” Mike says. “I called her and made the date.”
Last spring, before Mike and Tiffany were set to celebrate their 3½-year anniversary at a B&B in Pennsylvania, Mike took a secret trip down to Virginia Beach to ask Tiffany’s mom for permission to marry her daughter. With her mom’s blessing, Mike set off on the trip with Tiffany, ready to surprise her. The couple, who live together in Arlington, stopped at the law school on the way and walked around their old campus. As they reached the spot where they used to “meet in the middle” for walks or dates, Mike got down on one knee. “He talked about how much he loves me and about meeting in the middle and compromising and how far we had come in 3½ years since our first date,” Tiffany says. “When he pulled out the ring, I was happily surprised. It’s beautiful. I remember saying something stupid like, ‘Wow, thanks, Boo!’ And of course I said yes.”
The back story, Tiffany says, is that before the trip, she had figured out what Mike was up to. “A little while after he proposed, I asked him how his visit with my mom was. He was shocked that I knew, and I confessed that nobody actually told me but that I put everything together and figured it out. Having an idea beforehand didn’t ruin anything!”
When: March 21, 2009.
Where: Westin Virginia Beach Town Center.
Colors: Fuchsia and black.
Music: DJ with a long list of requested songs, Tiffany says.
Cake flavors: White almond with buttercream frosting.
First dance: “It’s a surprise,” Tiffany says. “It will be an oldie and not something most people would think of.”
Honeymoon: To be determined. Mike is planning—he’d like to head somewhere in Europe, and Tiffany would like to go somewhere warm.
First date: November 16, 2004. “We went to a brick-oven-pizza place in town, chatted and drank wine, and then went back to my apartment to watch a movie,” Mike says. “We talked, held hands, and, before long, kissed.”
First impression: “I thought she was very cute and that she had very pretty, kind eyes and a wonderful smile,” Mike says. Says Tiffany: “I thought he was really cute and a great boyfriend—He had a girlfriend at the time we met and told me a little about her. My first impression was completely accurate.”
Silliest fight: About Mike’s driving, Tiffany says: “Sometimes I think he hesitates too much. He’s a really good driver, so I should just get over it!”
Most romantic gesture: It’s all the little things, Mike says: “She’s thoughtful and surprises me by doing and planning fun things that I would never even think of. To me, that’s romantic.” Says Tiffany: “He always remembers anniversaries—not just the big ones—and gives me cards that are originally blank and then filled with the most thoughtful messages. His writing is so sincere and original. I could read them over and over again.”
Favorite date spot: The Mall at night.
Sweetest nickname: “We call each other Boo and Love,” Tiffany says. And now they add fiancé/fiancée to the names, Mike says. “It’s a unique status that only lasts a short time, so we take advantage of our opportunity to enjoy it.”
Something others would be surprised to know about Tiffany: “She is a very creative person,” Mike says. “She can draw, knit, paint, bead—just about anything—really well, and she can learn new skills very quickly. She also is the best negotiator I’ve ever met in any situation.”
Something others would be surprised to know about Mike: “He loves to sing really loud in the car and can sing every single word to the long version of ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by the Sugar Hill Gang.”
When Tiffany knew they were meant to be: “I can’t think of a specific time, but at some point about a year after we moved here, I was completely at ease with him. People had been asking when he would propose, and I had been getting frustrated about how slow he was and how he couldn’t make up his mind. Around then, I realized that I loved him and it didn’t matter how long it took. As long as I was happy and he was treating me well, I could wait.”
When Mike knew they were meant to be: “For me, it’s always been a feeling that has built over time. Since we first started dating, Tiffany has always been there to help me and love and support me. There’s probably no absolute moment, but I know that our lives are beautifully entwined, we’re both very happy with ourselves and our relationship, and I can’t imagine my life without her—nor do I want to.”
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