One house in Forked River is decorated a little differently for Christmas this year.
The front yard boasts a blown up Santa and lights igniting the house. Written in lights on the roof says, “Marry me?”
Lauren Wagenhoffer was pleasantly surprised when her boyfriend Brad Wixler woke her up upon finishing decorating their home at 1 a.m.
The couple met two years ago at the Bistro Café in Toms River, which at the time was owned by Wixler
“When I met him, I had no intentions of dating anyone, nor did he,” she said. “I kept going back to the café. We seemed to have developed a friendship within just a few days. We were head over heels in love two weeks later.”
Just two weeks after meeting, the couple had gotten each other’s nicknames tattooed on their bodies, she said.
“People thought we were both insane and moving too quick but the old saying was true, when you know, you just know,” she said.
Two years later, Wagenhoffer found herself standing in the cold, dark night, squinting without her glasses to make out what was written on the roof.
Wixler decorated the home with Wagenhoffer’s son from a prior relationship on Dec. 11. She was inside cleaning, cooking and caring for their 10-month-old daughter. Wixler had told her he would be writing “Merry Christmas” on the roof.
“Now of course I was a little upset about going outside to look at lights at 1 a.m. in the morning, but he seemed so excited that I just got up and went,” she said. “I look up without my glasses or contacts in.”
When she finally was able to make out what the letters said, she started to cry and Wixler was down on his knee with a ring, she said.
“I was bugging him for a year,” she said. “I didn’t know when or how…He blew me out of the water.”
Wagenhoffer said Wixler apparently had the ring for a while and had decided that day to propose, running out to Home Depot to get more lights.
“We may have done things a little backwards but we followed our hearts and we couldn’t be happier we did. I know my best friend will be growing old with me, that’s all that matters,” she said.
The couple plans to wed next summer.