Katie Schad jokingly jotted down “Marry Me Katie” as a game clue for Adam Purdy at a Thanksgiving gathering. He saved it for his proposal.
Katie Dawn Schad and Adam Robert Purdy began a fun, flirty friendship a decade after they bumped into each other at their dorm their first week at Wesleyan in 2009.
“I have an aunt and uncle who live in Studio City,” Mr. Purdy said, as soon as Ms. Schad mentioned she was from that part of Los Angeles. “Have you ever been to Beeman Park?” He grew up in Montclair, N.J.
“Yeah, maybe,” she said, of the small neighborhood park. And, that was that.
The two, like other freshman athletes, had arrived at Clark Hall early — he was an All-American goalie for the soccer team freshman year, and she was on the volleyball team, and its captain senior year.
“Our friend groups collided regularly,” Mr. Purdy said. So they often showed up at the same fraternity and house parties, hung out at the Nest bar, or just sat around Foss Hill.
Although they never got close at school, and dated other people, Mr. Purdy said that even then her “distinct laugh and hilarity stood out.”
She and Mr. Purdy, both now 32, went their separate ways after they graduated in 2013 — he with a bachelor’s degree in psychology; she with one in psychology and science in society. After another year at Wesleyan, she also received a master’s degree in psychology.
In 2014, he was already living in Manhattan’s Alphabet City neighborhood when she moved to Crown Heights, Brooklyn, with her college boyfriend. Two years later, after her relationship ended, she began hanging out more with her other college friends, including Mr. Purdy, now a marketing director at the National Basketball Association in Manhattan.
They got to know each other better during the summer of 2017 when she and her close girlfriend, who also happened to be his close friend, joined him and 14 others in an East Hampton house share.
When Ms. Schad, a senior producer at 72andSunny, an advertising agency in Dumbo, Brooklyn, moved into a NoLIta walk-up apartment in 2018 her rooftop quickly became a key party and gathering spot, a sort of college clubhouse. Mr. Purdy usually made it his business to be there.
“We got a little flirty,” she said. “I loved having Adam’s attention.”
In early summer 2019, she said she was delighted to see “his goofy unfiltered side” when nine college friends squeezed into two rooms one weekend at Hartman’s Briney Breezes Beach Resort in Montauk, N.Y.
“When we woke up, Adam couldn’t find his glasses,” said Ms. Schad, who crashed with her girlfriend in the same room as Mr. Purdy and his roommate. “He couldn’t see anything. He was milking it to get laughs.”
Later that summer, after a few of them went back to the same place in Montauk for Labor Day weekend she said “the vibes shifted.”
As she and Mr. Purdy chatted nonstop on the train back to the city, he invited her to join him and his roommate that evening for their Sunday night ritual, which was Chinese takeout from Uncle Ted’s restaurant.
“I think I have feelings for Katie Schad,” he recalled telling his roommate after she left. Once he told friends and family, their advice was to take it slow.
No matter, in early October, he professed his feelings as they sat in a booth at Acme NYC, a NoHo lounge.
“Dude, it’s 2 in the morning,” she said. “Tell me tomorrow.”
After he did, they became inseparable.
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She then spent Thanksgiving with him and his family in Montclair. His father, Matt Purdy, is the editor at large at The New York Times. During a round of charades after dinner, she jokingly scribbled a clue on a piece of paper for Adam Purdy.
It said: “Marry Me Katie,” which he read then quickly hid. He later put the slip of paper in a plastic bag so the ink would not fade.
When Covid hit in 2020, she packed a suitcase and stayed at his place in Greenwich Village. They banged pots and pans at 7 p.m. to recognize health care workers, took runs along the West Side Highway and got into watching Formula 1 Racing.
In June they moved into a bigger apartment in Williamsburg near McCarren Park and in February 2021 they adopted a 15-year-old cat Max from a friend who moved away.
In the fall of 2021, he told Ms. Schad, “I think we should get engaged 2022 Q1.”
On Feb. 25, 2022, she expected his cousins (who were actually in Switzerland on vacation) to stop by before they all went out to dinner. As soon as the two stepped out to pick up some wine and cheese, a friend dropped in to set the scene.
When they returned, Ms. Schad’s old charades clue appeared in a frame surrounded by candles and rose petals on their coffee table, and Max their cat donned a bow tie.
Mr. Purdy read a poem he wrote. He then got down on one knee, and asked: “Will you marry me?”
On May 20, a rainy Saturday, Lauren M. Kurtz, a cousin of the groom who became a Universal Life Church minister for the event, officiated before 175 guests, in a snug tent set up down a grassy, muddy hill at the Crow’s Nest restaurant, in Montauk.
“It felt like a big hug,” said the bride of the intimate setting. Later at the restaurant they enjoyed free-flowing espresso martinis at dinner.