Workplace romances typically involve a lot of coffee breaks. Problem was, neither Jeff Gold nor Maggie Martin cared for coffee. They did, however, like spending time with each other. So for several months, when they slipped away every afternoon, they never told each other it was the company they actually enjoyed, not the coffee.
Maggie was introduced to Jeff by her boss in January 2010, on her first day of work at Marriott International’s headquarters in Bethesda. Both of them worked within the company’s e-commerce division.
She thought Jeff was very attractive, but could not figure out his age. “I remember him telling me he’d been at Marriott for a really long time, but then he said he started [as a junior] in college,” she said, which threw her off. “I thought he could be 23 or 35. I just wasn’t sure if he was a candidate or not!”
Soon after, the two had a meeting where Jeff welcomed her to the team. “I think from that moment, we just hit it off,” Jeff recalls. “Being from the Midwest, she just has that general friendliness to her.” Plus, she had “probably the most stunning green eyes I’d ever seen,” he says.
The pair’s casual 20-minute chats soon turned into a daily ritual. They realized just how much they had in common; both were middle children, spoke Spanish and had older brothers in the military. They loved to travel and both had international backgrounds; Jeff was born and raised until he was 2 in Costa Rica, and Maggie lived in Germany for four years after college.
Their outings soon became a highlight of both of their days. Maggie remembers looking up her [company’s] policy about dating early on. “I wasn’t sure if we even could,” she recalls. “It said as long as neither one of us was in a supervisory role, it was okay. So, I always had that in my back pocket.”
They met for the first time outside of work on St. Patrick’s Day 2010 in Glover Park. After many casual meet-ups, the pair had their first “official” date in August.
“It was a long, slow build up. . . . There were so many false starts because we worked together and we didn’t want it to get awkward at work, even though we were both interested,” Maggie says.
Jeff picked her up on a Sunday night to see the science fiction thriller “Inception.” They sat outside the patio at Bourbon in Glover Park and ate waffle fries until midnight.
“Normally, I would have been in bed hours before that, but I didn’t want to cut the date short,” Maggie says.
“I was just happy that we finally made that leap,” Jeff recalls.
Days later, they made plans to stay in and rent “The Motorcycle Diaries” at Maggie’s home in Glover Park before Jeff left for a three-week trip to Europe. The two talked during the entire movie and late into the night. “I still don’t really know what that movie was about,” Maggie says.
Jeff knew he had to go home to prepare for his trip, but he didn’t want to leave. After lingering and saying their goodbyes, they shared their first kiss in the doorway of her kitchen.
He picked up some souvenirs for her during his travels, including a DVD of one of her favorite Spanish TV shows, and called her from a beer garden in Munich, one of her recommendations. “I was thinking about her constantly during my trip,” Jeff says.
He showed up at Maggie’s the night he flew back home to D.C. “We picked up right from where we left off,” Jeff says.
The two refrained from telling anyone at work about their relationship for at least six months. “Nobody knew,” Maggie says. “Well, except maybe the people on the other side of the building who knew that Jeff was leaving and would disappear for half an hour every afternoon. They would be like, ‘What’s he up to?’ ”
Maggie knew pretty early on that Jeff was “the one.” “He’s very calm and very patient,” Maggie says.
“I thought, ‘This is a good guy and this is a good person. This is the kind of person that I want,” she added. “And then, when we got to know each other more, it wasn’t just this is the kind of person I want, this is the person I want.”
Jeff quickly felt the same. “It’s who she is. It’s the way she makes me feel and her warmth. . . . She’s a beautiful person inside and out,” he says. “I realized this was it, and I’ve never been happier.”
Jeff proposed July 6, 2013, four days before Maggie’s 30th birthday. Both had been invited to attend an industry work conference in Seattle, and they had decided to go a week early to explore the city. After some researching, Jeff decided that Mount Rainier would be the perfect setting.
They set out to hike the mountain early in the morning but were met with a swarm of families, young children and tourists at the visitor center. Jeff was determined to find a private setting and, thanks to a recommendation from a kind ranger, they found the one. The trail was sunny, fairly remote and had a beautiful view of the mountain peak — and it was private. “I just thought it was the perfect moment,” Jeff says.
He handed her the camera and asked her to take pictures of the surroundings. He then secretly positioned himself and dropped to one knee. When she turned around, she began jumping up and down and saying, “Holy cow! Holy cow!”
Maggie Martin, 30, married Jeff Gold, 29, on Dec. 28. The two exchanged vows in front of 150 people at St. Augustine Catholic Church in the District before heading to a reception at the Whittemore House, off Dupont Circle. The newly married pair rang in the New Year on a beach in St. Lucia.
“With Jeff, I am 100 percent me, and I think everybody sees that,” Maggie said days before the wedding. “I can’t wait to get married to him and spend our lives together. . . . I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”