Tell us your love story!
Our story isn’t a Cinderella story or a love at first sight type of hallmark movie we all love to see. In fact, our love story happened through a lot of turmoil and adversity but despite all the obstacles, we continued to “change lightbulbs” together. We use that saying a lot in our relationship, meaning we change lightbulbs in our home we are building together instead of going off and building a new home with someone else where it may be easier. We had a rough start at things early on in our relationship.
We were dealing with Army missions and time differences, then both of us transitioning out of the Army and finding work we both enjoyed and struggling with family approval of us being together. It was a very bumpy road, but we powered through it together and through it all, learned so much more about each other and helped keep each other uplifted. Now, fast forward 4 years later, we are married, and I am now an officer in the Navy and Margarita is working as a family nurse practitioner and working on her doctorate in that field as well. We have our obstacles now, but looking back on what we have overcome together, nothing seems impossible for us.
What about the proposal?
I proposed on the 27th of November and I have a greater appreciation to all those proposing soon or thinking about proposing and those who have already. I couldn’t have been more nervous and the whole speech I had memorized and rehearsed in the mirror went straight out the window.
I currently am stationed in Norfolk, VA and Margarita is working and finishing school in Savannah, GA. So, we live about 7 hours apart. I had known I wanted to be with her forever, and I figured what better way to propose than when she came up during Thanksgiving. Her mother was going to be there, too. So, in my head, it was a done deal. I had been looking at rings early on and she had given me ideas of what she wanted. So, my sister, Tori, went shopping with me and tried on the rings because I’m a very visual person. We found the perfect ring at Kay’s (I had this thing since I was a kid that I was going to get a ring for someone I loved from Kays, because every kiss does begin with K!).
I had talked to Tori about my plan to propose with macrons and told her what I wanted, but Tori said, "Margarita is like me, why not have it at home!?" She was right! Having the proposal at home made it more intimate and easier to share with her mom and my sister (who was going to be hiding and recording in the background). I told Margarita that we should go to dinner as soon as she and her mom arrived in VA and she agreed to the idea. This was going to give Tori plenty of time to set up - I had already hidden everything in a drawer and macrons in the fridge for Tori to put together everything upstairs in our bedroom.
However, after 7 hours in the car, Margarita and her mom just wanted to pickup food to-go and told me this once they arrived at the house in VA. I went in full panic mode. I texted Tori and she said not to worry, that she could put everything together quickly. So, I told Margarita I was craving Panda Express (I never crave this FYI, it was the first spot that came to mind that would take a little bit longer to pick up). Margarita thought it was weird but said okay. I drove slow, I mean slow, I shared my location with Tori and texted her along the way. When we arrived at the house, I gave Margarita the food to take to the kitchen table and her mom and her were getting it separated and ready to eat. I ran upstairs, saw the work Tori had done. Tori peeked from the corner and I said “You ready?”
I called Margarita upstairs. Margarita made a comment coming up the stairs about a picture fitting perfectly on the wall, and that speech I had prepped and memorized, vanished from my memory as soon as my beautiful girlfriend walked into the room. I got down on one knee (I did something right) and rambled off the things I could vaguely remember from my speech but it had no rhythmic order to it. I did fumble the words to say “will you marry me?” because life with her makes all the sense in the world.
I was shaking and despite knowing her for four years, I was nervous and sweating profusely. But, rest assured, she said yes!!! And I slid that ring on her finger and I couldn’t have been more excited and ecstatic. One of the best moments in my life.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
I knew when we were in Jacksonville Florida for a mini vacation together, and we watched Netflix all day and ate and worked out together that this was my person. I was so content doing absolutely nothing and she was fine with that. We didn’t need to go out to be happy, we enjoyed each other’s company and that was that.
Going into the planning, what did you definitely know?
We knew with me being military, planning just doesn’t happen. You can plan all you want but, the Navy can change plans that would affect our plans. So, I was coming to California for school in January and we figured what better way to bring in 2020 than getting married in San Diego? So Margarita found Dream Beach wedding Planning that did our elopement we wanted. We wanted it to be more intimate and something for us to enjoy together. We browsed their Instagram and Facebook pages and were set on this becoming the people we were to use. It couldn’t have been more perfect. They handled everything for us; from the flowers to the photographer to the officiant. We just had to show up!
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
I found it surprising how difficult choosing the right dress was for Margarita. We had brought two dresses to California for her to decide on the day-of. Overall, there was no crazy bridezilla moments from either of us and the elopement made everything pretty simple. It took a lot of stress off our plates.
Is there anything you wish you knew while you were planning your wedding that you know now?
To be as supportive as possible while your fiancé is going through the dilemma of selecting a dress and just remind her how beautiful she is in every single dress she chooses.
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
Enjoy the process and pin as much as possible for ideas for photography, and colors you’d want in your wedding. We didn’t include families for this part but plan on doing a ceremony where they can celebrate with us. I personally wouldn’t have done anything differently, we couldn’t have asked for a better day to get married and my bride was absolutely stunning.
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
My favorite part was us arriving earlier to the spot where we'd be married (we didn’t know how parking was going to be) and we took a fire ball shot together to ease the nerves while waiting for our photographer and officiant. After the elopement, we took some quick pictures on our own phones and one of our favorite pictures was captured on accident. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, we later explored a cave in La Jolla and celebrated with some macrons (very significant after the proposal) for our dessert that evening.