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Wheaton coffee shop plays special role for college couple

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

WHEATON — Wheaton College students Wes O’Brien and Annie Shults went to La Spiaza coffee shop in downtown Wheaton for their first date.

During the last few months, Shults tried to get O’Brien to go back with her, but he always said no. She didn’t know then that it was because he was waiting for the perfect moment to go back, a moment he was in the midst of planning: the time he would ask her to marry him.

“In my mind, I knew I didn’t want to go back until proposing to her because I thought it would be fun just to have our first date and then get engaged there,” O’Brien said.

After receiving the OK from La Spiaza owner Bob Roumbos, O’Brien met with his friend for two months at the coffee shop to plan the proposal. Then, on St. Patrick’s Day — the same day his father proposed to his mother 37 years earlier — the plan was set into motion.

Shults returned to the Wheaton College campus after spring break, and her roommate suggested they go grocery shopping. But instead of going shopping, the roommate brought Shults to La Spiaza, where O’Brien was waiting in the coffee shop, which he had rented out and filled with candles.

He asked her to marry him while sitting on the same couch they had sat during their first date.

La Spiaza employee Kelsey Sparrow was in the back of the coffee shop while the setup and proposal were taking place.

“It was so great to be part of the greatest moment in their lives,” Sparrow said.

The two seniors majoring in applied health sciences met sophomore year when they started having classes together. O’Brien said one of the ways Shults caught his attention was by always asking really smart questions in class.

O’Brien asked Shults out for their first coffee date at the start of second semester their junior year.

O’Brien and Shults have set their wedding date for July 27. Both of them are East Coast natives, so they’re planning to get married in New York where Shults’ family lives.

They will have to spend some time apart after they get married while O’Brien trains to be an infantry officer in the U.S. Army and Shults attends school to become a nurse practitioner. But they said they know it makes sense for them to marry now.

“We just want to do life together, and we know that, so it didn’t really make sense to wait,” Shults said.

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