How We Met
It begins in Joshua Tree, California February of 2015. Raul was hosting his third Instameet through QuietGenius, a ministry focused on creative outlets. Ariel had been invited from a friend via Instagram to go. Though she was a bit hesitant to go, as she knew no one else attending or what to expect, Ariel took a leap of faith and went anyway. The group all met up at a little coffee shop called Lift before heading to the desert. In short, it was a blast. From there they followed each other on Instagram, and Raul became Ariels favorite photographer. After connecting on such an artistic level, fall of 2015 Ariel and Raul hung out for the third time in a group setting, doing a week long road trip up to San Francisco.
After that trip on they found each other meeting up and connecting with their photography. One trip was a 15 day road trip through the pacific north west and Canada! Just good friends connecting through the love of travel and taking photos along the way. Both Ariel and Raul were coming from a place of heart break from previous relationships, so being good friends for a while was the best for them. After about a year, they both felt a shift in feelings towards each other.
In January 2016 things started coming to the surface, and an idea of a relationship together began. After a week of individual prayer and talking together, they knew they could step forward into a new stage of their relationship. They made it official February of 2016. Two creatives, who became best friends, and fell in love. It really is the greatest kind of love story to fall in love with your best friend. And that is exactly what happened with Ariel and Raul. The Lord took two independent individuals with similar goals and passions, and brought them together to share their talents and grow them in love.
how they asked
I had NO IDEA Raul was going to ask me the day that he did. I mean, I know it was coming soon….But on Saturday May 6th it was the last thing on my mind. Its funny because the day started off with my family and his parents coming over to our family friends house (where we decided to have our wedding at) to see the venue and get an idea to start planning for the big day. We already had a date picked out, so it was only a matter of time for Raul to get down on one knee. We all loved that Saturday morning, envisioning the big day. After that, we all decided to go out to lunch, then Raul planned for us to go to the movies with his parents and have a chill Saturday afternoon.
Before the movie, my sisters were going to get their nails done, they invited me along and Raul insisted I went to spend time with them since the movie time was still an hour away. I still did not get suspicious from this. After the movies, we made a stop at the Sprint store. I fixed a billing error and then we had plans to go across the street to Facetime our friend Korina (who is also going to be our photographer for the big day) and she wanted details on the venue! Raul suggested we go Facetime her first before we went to dinner. So we casually drove across the street to Lift Coffee Roasters. The coffee shop where Raul and I first met at an instameet in 2015.
As we pulled up, Raul parked a little ways way from the door. I questioned why he parked so far but then ignored the fact. Being photographers, we had to send off some photo stuff to clients so we gathered our laptops and backpacks, because I was prepared to edit and do some work and Facetime our friend. I was NOT prepared to be proposed to in this coffee shop that I visit often, but where Raul and I first met. As I walked towards the door, I see my mentor, which should have also given it away, but it didn’t. She quickly said she was here meeting her sister from out of town for coffee. We waited for her to gather her kids then we all walked toward the coffee shop doors together. Seeing through the windows from a distance, I was shocked with how many people were inside. It looked like a full house!
I turned to Raul and said “We can’t edit here! There’s a party or something going on!” He grins at me, opens the door, and says “you should go inside…” I walk in to two rows of my closest family and friends holding 30 bright yellow sunflowers. I immediately knew what was about to happen next. I vaguely remember my cousin taking my laptop and backpack from my hands, and slowly walking through the rows gathered all the sunflowers from everyone.
At the end of the row were my parents and Rauls parents. And that is where Raul Esparza, my best friend and love of my life, got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife!