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Katie McPhillips and TJ Tavares are Engaged!

Katie McPhillips and TJ Tavares are Engaged!

📸: Mel Colvin // @melcolvinstudios

Katie McPhillips of Warren, Rhode Island and TJ Tavares of Providence, Rhode Island are engaged! This “will they, won’t they” couple will finally tie the knot in September 2023.


How We Met

Katie: TJ and I met about ten years ago at a restaurant I was working at in Bristol, RI. After waiting on him and his family, I had a friend run out and hand him my number as he was leaving because I was too shy to do it myself. Unfortunately, he had a girlfriend, and I never saw or spoke to him again.

Six years later, TJ happened to come and sit at my bar at Opa Restaurant in Providence, RI. After listening to me vent about my bad luck with boys for hours, he told me he would be back to check on me at some point for an update. I waited every day hoping he would come back, and about a month later, he came in for dinner with one of his friends.

As soon as that door opened my heart dropped I ran in the kitchen to tell my co-worker, “he’s back!” He had just had a wisdom tooth taken out that day and wanted something soft for dessert. I knew this was my chance and grabbed a piece of cheesecake “on me,” and later that night he sent me a message on Instagram to say thank you. We chatted until I fell asleep and continued our conversation the next day. I wasn’t going to let him get away again so I mustered up the courage to ask him to grab dinner with my friend and I later that night. The rest was history!


Our Proposal Story

TJ: Katie always said she wanted a private proposal, so that was important to me. I also knew that documenting the moment through photo and video was also important. 

I decided to ask her one of her best friends Lauren to invite her out for a girls’ day. Katie has always been a city girl so I thought the new rooftop lounge called Aloft would be the perfect location as I started to see pictures on Instagram. Lauren and I went to scout out the location and even practiced how photos might look with me down on one knee. The plan was that Lauren would invite her on the girls’ day and I would come meet them after they hang for a little bit, and then we would all grab dinner. I was supposed to be at work all day until after they would’ve left the house. 

I arranged for a photographer (shoutout to Mel Colvin Studios) to be there and with the help of the fantastic staff at Aloft, we arranged for access to the rooftop on a day that it was closed. Everything was going according to plan until I had a Ju-Jitsu accident and broke my hand…but the show must go on! The last little obstacle to overcome was getting one of her appointments cancelled and with the help of another friend, we were able to get it that task done four days before. 

The day of the proposal went perfectly. The timeline was on point and she had no idea. Jenny from Aloft was an excellent actress when “asked” if we could see the rooftop. Our photographer Mel did an excellent job “taking photos for the Aloft Instagram.” We started with Lauren taking pictures with my phone (that I made sure to put on airplane mode), and once Mel offered to take photos of us, Lauren used my phone to record the magic. 

Once everyone was in position, I dropped a card that said “1 > 7,000,000,000.” When we first starting dating, she told me that the were seven billion people in the world and I was just one of them. So the note meant that of seven billion people, Katie was my one. 

I dropped the card without her noticing, picked it up and opened it saying, “I think this is for you.” When she looked at it, she laughed (because she knew what it meant). I pulled the ring out and said, “This is also for you.” I got down on one knee and she said yes! I even did a good job of hiding my cast. 

After the proposal and some cocktails for a toast, we went to dinner followed by a surprise engagement party with some of our family and friends at her job. The perfect day for the perfect girl!

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