Julie Gorinson met Aaron Brand in 2002 at a DC bar where her sorority and his fraternity were hosting a party together. A mutual friend introduced them, and by the end of the night, Aaron, then a senior at the University of Maryland, asked Julie, a sophomore, for her number. “I wowed her with my dance moves and pickup lines, and that was the beginning of it,” says Aaron, 27, a law student at American University.
Aaron called Julie a few days later, and they went on their first date to a bar in College Park. “We spent a good chunk of the night playing Pacman,” he says. “I let her beat me, hoping that would make her more friendly toward me. It worked.”
The two dated through the year, and after Aaron graduated, he headed to Philadelphia for a year to work on a political campaign and she went to study abroad in Madrid. “We did the long-distance thing for a while before Aaron was offered a job on the Hill working as a legislative aide, and he came back to DC—to his true love, me, and politics,” says Julie, 25, a third-grade teacher in Potomac.
At the beginning of last year, after they’d been together more than five years, the pair began shopping for rings. “Julie knew the proposal was potentially coming,” Aaron says. “She thought she’d know for sure exactly when, as Julie thinks she knows everything.” He suspected she’d be waiting for him to make an excuse to go home to Philadelphia, where he’d buy the ring. But instead, he drove in secret to Philadelphia one morning and was back before Julie got home from school.
So in March, when he surprised her with a trip to New York City for her birthday, she thought it was just that—a birthday celebration. “We went out to a fancy French restaurant for dinner, and as I was mid-bite, Aaron proceeded to surprise me with what he called an ‘early birthday present.’ ”
“I told her that I love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her,” says Aaron, who had to wait to get down on one knee until later because the “private” table he’d requested meant they were in the back corner of the restaurant with little room to move. “It only took a minute, but it seemed like it lasted forever. She said yes.”
“It was all very sweet and clearly planned,” Julie says. “I had no idea.”
When: May 31, 2009.
Where: Traditional Jewish ceremony at B’nai Shalom of Olney, reception at Manor Country Club.
Colors: Julie’s deciding, but they’ll probably be spring colors. “Aaron’s favorite part of wedding planning has probably been trying to decide between terra cotta or raspberry for the bridesmaids’ dresses—that is, if he could even tell the difference.”
Music: The band Prime Time.
Food: Still being decided, but the couple hopes the menu will include something from his Philadelphia background and something from her Maryland background—such as crab cakes and a fancier take on cheesesteaks, Julie says.
Favorite date spot: Hiking at Great Falls or dinner at Cafe Deluxe in Bethesda.
First impression: “I wasn’t looking for a serious relationship,” Julie says, “so I feel like I wasn’t really paying attention to the fact that he was interested in me. But once I caught on, I realized I couldn’t let a good thing go just because I wasn’t looking for it.” Aaron says Julie was “beautiful, smart, and funny.”
Most romantic gesture: Aaron wrote Julie love e-mails while she was studying abroad in Spain. He contends that buying her a pink Redskins jersey—he’s a diehard Eagles fan, she’s for the Redskins—for Valentine’s Day is the most romantic thing he’s done. For Aaron, Julie bought custom-made fortune cookies with “smoochy” fortunes written inside as a Hanukkah gift.
Silliest fight: Julie started trash-talking the Eagles, and Aaron returned with the statement that girls don’t know anything about football. “She took great offense and kicked me out of her apartment and made me walk home,” he says. “Thankfully not too far.”
Sweetest nickname: Julie calls Aaron “Pookie,” Aaron calls her Julie: “I hate when she calls me nicknames, therefore I only call her Julie.”
Something others would be surprised to know about Aaron: “He loves politics and aspires to be Josh on The West Wing.”
Something others would be surprised to know about Julie: “She loves doing things that most people would only associate with old people,” Aaron says. “For example, she loves playing mahjong.”
When Aaron knew they were meant to be: When they spent six months apart while she studied in Spain. “I knew that I couldn’t spend any more time apart from her,” he says.
When Julie knew they were meant to be: “It was something that happened over time. As we continued to date and grow together as a couple, I fell more and more in love with him, and now I couldn’t imagine my life without him.”
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