By Megan Willett
As the world awoke early on the morning of April 29 to watch Kate Middleton and Prince William tie the knot, two Twin Cities’ lovebirds were meeting for the very first time.
Marcus Schmit, district director for congressman Tim Walz, had come to Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis to support his little brother Danny, winner of the Prince William Look-A-Like contest. He wasn’t expecting to find his soulmate, but once Marcus saw Jeni Iburg he says, “it was pretty much game over from then on.”
The feeling was mutual. “He was everything I was looking for plus all of these little extra things,” says Jeni. “Within a month or two of dating, I knew it was forever.”
But Jeni’s impending move to Appleton, Wisconsin at the time meant the fledgling relationship would become long distance. “She was leaving Minnesota, she had just graduated from dental school, and had the next chapter of her life already written,” says Marcus. “I thought I was a pretty rational person but that went out the window.” The pair committed to the long distance, with Jeni flying back to Minnesota on weekends or Marcus driving to Wisconsin to visit her.
The week before Thanksgiving, Jeni was returning from a trip to Portugal when a flight attendant announced that Jennifer Iburg had a very important message and needed to report to the ticketing agent. “I thought something had happened, and that maybe it was an emergency.” Confused, she got off the plane and was directed to the top of the jetway—where Marcus was waiting for her, ring in hand.
“I didn’t know whether to pass out or cry,” laughs Jeni. She said yes, and the couple rode off into the sunset on a Minneapolis St.Paul International Airport golf cart (watch a YouTube video of the proposal captured by airport employees here).
Jeni and Marcus are currently planning a New Years Eve wedding at the James J. Hill Library. And though their nuptials may not be an international media frenzy the level of Kate and Will’s, the Mankato-based couple is over the moon about their upcoming wedding. “We’re going to celebrate our marriage and finding each other,” Marcus says. “It’s just going to be one big party!”