Being in quarantine doesn't mean you can't celebrate. In fact, we need to celebrate the little things in life now more than ever to feel some sense of normalcy. We wanted to highlight two such celebrations, big and small, with two of our Party Animals. What's a Party Animal you ask? A Party Animal is someone hand-selected by us who represents everything wild and wonderful about entertaining, bringing people together and making life fun. They are our party ambassadors if you will, and we're so excited to introduce you to two of them today and show you how they're celebrating love in quarantine.
Meet Emily Bibb and Toby Milstein! They are both glass half full types. With Emily's wedding being cancelled due to COVID-19 and Toby's engagement going in a direction her fiancé didn't expect due to quarantine restrictions, they're still celebrating love in all it's various forms!
Emily's Aspen Date Night
Q: What prompted you to organize a date night?
Emily: I loved the idea of the quarantine kit as a fun way to do a 'date night' in the midst of all this craziness. It was a great excuse to ditch the sweats, pull out a nice bottle of wine, and make staying home feel special. Between running a business together and a cancelled wedding, this was just the excuse for my fiancé and I to slow things down and have a little fun for ourselves.
Q: What was your favorite part of the night?
Emily: I'm the type who loves the process of preparing for a party just as much as the party itself. Social Studies made it so easy to have a base that I could then add my own spin to (with local flowers, serving dishes, etc). It was also a perfect spring night - the light during sunset was stunning.
Q: Why is gathering around a table so important to you?
Emily: I'm a big believer in celebrations - not only for milestone moments, but the small things too. To me, that's what life (and hosting) is all about...making the everyday feel special. In this case, we weren't celebrating a birthday or anniversary...but simply the fact that my fiancé and I are healthy, happy, and have each other during these times.
Toby's Surprise Engagement
Q: Where was your fiancé planning to propose prior to lockdown?
Toby: Judah had actually planned four (!!) separate proposals before the big beach proposal - lucky number five. The others were equally romantic and beautiful; one was planned for D.C., another for New York City at Lincoln Center, a place where we have shared many memories.
Q: Walk us through the proposal. Who was there and how surprised were you?
Toby: The actual proposal started off as one of our typical beach walks, although on this particular Sunday, I was not in the mood to go! In hindsight, it’s funny that I was kind of difficult and threw a wrench in his plans because typically, I am super down for whatever fun activity Judah and I set out to do. But, I had just finished a workout and felt perfectly fine to take it easy the rest of the day, so I begrudgingly agreed to go.
We left the house for our walk, he looking dapper as always and me in comfy clothes. At some point during the conversation and music-filled stroll, we approached a little inlet - the proposal spot - and a special part on the beach where Judah and I have spent time together. As we got closer and closer, Judah thought I would notice a humongous heart in the sand made from red rose petals and carefully placed rocks that spelled out, “Marry Me?” - but he was wrong.
I really didn't know what was to come - blame it on the endorphins! So, in an effort to be more obvious, Judah said, “I wanted to take you to this special spot on the beach because I have a really important question to ask you.” He then dropped down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I must have blacked out momentarily (which friends warned me sometimes happens during a proposal), because it took me a minute to eventually say, "YES!"
After the big question and moment, my brother Larry and his boyfriend, Brian, jumped out of the sand dunes and gave us big hugs and congratulated us. They had been the masterminds behind the beach set-up that morning and of course, the photographers capturing the big moment. We popped a bottle of champagne, heard some beachgoers cheering for us, soaked up the moment, and walked back along the beach together. In short, it was the most spectacular proposal: simple, beautiful, and so us.
Q: How did you celebrate after the engagement?
Toby: We headed back home and were greeted by Judah’s parents (big surprise!) and my family who had created the most amazing celebratory luncheon for us. It was wonderful. My brother then topped off the festivities with a surprise montage, a walk down memory lane with toasts from family members who could not be there in person that day.
Q: What would be your one piece of advice for someone else who is thinking of proposing in quarantine?
Toby: Although I can’t speak for my fiancé, from my vantage point, a quarantine proposal is a beautiful moment to celebrate love and joy in a really dark, unsettling time. I often recall a line I read somewhere, that “Love is not cancelled” and I couldn’t agree more. I would say that preparing a montage or getting friends and family to share visual messages really helps make the engagement feel more whole and complete. It was really comforting to hear from our relatives who weren't physically there to celebrate, because their presence means everything to us. Nonetheless, we felt as closely connected as possible given the circumstances.
For those who are interested in becoming a Party Animal, slide into our DMs over on IG @socialstudiesparty for more info!