-- To say the marriage of Joe Maurer and Kate Heinlein will be blessed may be an understatement.
The Michigan couple met last year while portraying Joseph and Mary in their church’s Living Nativity and got engaged this year while also in character.
“We sat next to each other for five hours and talked in between groups coming and during breaks," Maurer told ABC News. "We went on our first date the following Friday and have been together ever since."
Maurer had been playing the role of Joseph for several years, but Heinlein volunteered for the first time at the urging of Maurer’s aunt, who knew Heinlein from the church’s choir.
“My aunt might have had some ulterior motives there,” Maurer said. “I know when she found out that we were dating she was ecstatic and took a little bit of credit.”
When the pair signed up again for this year’s Living Nativity, held in early December, Maurer knew it would be the perfect time to propose.
“I thought it’d be special to make what was the anniversary of our meeting to ask her to marry me,” he said.
Maurer had prearranged for the couple’s family and friends to gather in the break area where the Nativity cast members go to warm up with food and drink.
“When we walked in and she saw everyone there she turned back to me and I gave her a speech and got down on one knee and proposed,” Maurer said. “She was shocked and very happy.”
“She had been waiting for me [to ask],” he said.
Now the happily engaged couple is “arduously working,” according to Maurer, on planning their wedding.
They know it will take place in the fall of next year at the church where they met, Immanuel Lutheran Church.
“That’s her home church and where she wants it and you can’t argue with that,” Maurer said.
They also know they will be back at the church's Living Nativity next year, held the weekend of Dec. 4 to 6, 2015, to reprise their roles as Joseph and Mary once again, this time as a married couple.