Daniella and Dean

How We Met


Vadim and I met for the first time more than ten years ago; I think I was 14 years old. We were both in the bridal party for our cousins’ wedding (he was the groom’s cousin, I was the bride’s). I had a mad crush on him even then, and I’m pretty positive he liked me, too, for a second there because he started giving me a ride home from youth service from time to time. Whenever he dropped me off, we’d sit on the tailgate of his truck outside my house and talk for a good while, and he’d even come inside and hang out with my family… something was there… but alas, the timing wasn’t right and it wasn’t God’s plan to unite us then, so we went our separate ways.

In the following years, I finished high school, traveled a bunch, went to bible school, received my college degree, and grew tremendously as a person. I experienced so much that allowed me to gain perspective, really learn to love people, and mature in my walk with Christ. I now know God was molding me for Vadim.

After many years of not seeing him, I saw Vadim again at my aunt’s Celebration of Life party in March 2016. I invited him to my graduation party that following May and to my surprise, he showed up and even brought flowers! Over time, we got to know one another through phone calls and texts. We were both cautious. I had never had a serious relationship, and he wasn’t really looking to get into one at the time. But slowly and with lots of prayer, we began to grow in our friendship. That October, we went out on our first official date. A month later, at the end of a beautiful Sunday evening spent together, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

We spent the following year of dating getting to know more about each other and growing in love. We went out for pizza, stayed in for movies, and celebrated each others’ birthdays. I visited him at work with food when he had to work late, and he surprised me with flowers and soup when I was sick at home. We took road trips to Lake Tahoe, Napa, San Francisco, and our favorite getaway spot, Point Reyes. We spent time with just us, with our families, and with our friends, getting to know all the dynamics of who we both are. Most importantly, we spent time in prayer and God’s word, seeking His will for us and our relationship. It was a beautiful season of dating, which ended on the evening before Christmas Eve 2017 when Vadim asked me a question I’d been looking forward to all my life…


Daniella and I met long before we began our journey together in the dating scene and today as my fiance. It all began when my cousin, Andre, and I visited Revival Christian Center when I was 17 years old. There, we met her family and her cousins, which were all part of the church.

Fast forward to my college days. Andre was getting married to Daniella’s cousin, which naturally brought her family and I in closer contact. I always admired her, her family, and their dynamic… especially her father, Walter. The man is a saint for those who don’t know by now.

Fast forward a good several years and we met again at her aunt’s Celebration of Life party. That day was a pivotal moment in our relationship. I knew she was single, and boy, was she stunning! Beautiful radiant smile and eyes that will instantly mesmerize you! Let’s not get carried away here…

Shortly after, we started texting back and forth casually and soon began to understand that this beginning could be what we were both looking for in our lives. Fast forward to fall of 2016 and we were in a relationship. Like boyfriend and girlfriend! Whoot whoot! It now is 2018, we are engaged to be married, and I couldn’t be more excited to marry this gem!


how they asked


Daniella and I began our journey with the intent that we could be “it” for each other. It took us a couple of months of hanging out before I asked her to be my girlfriend, so when I asked, it meant she was worth investing into; I was confident she was marriage material to say the least. Just after a few months of officially dating, we felt comfortable discussing what we saw our future marriage to be like. It was refreshing to see how much we saw eye to eye. What a blessing it was. My eyes tear up to this moment when I think about how wonderful she is.

I had many ideas on how I would ask. I thought maybe Tahoe with it’s scenic views, San Francisco, or even at the beach in Point Reyes (our favorite spot). However, I had to find just the right way… something that fit both our characters while also not allowing it be so obvious to her. Leading up to the proposal, Daniella was patiently waiting and had a good hunch that the time was near. After countless nights of wondering about how I would ask, I stumbled upon Empire Mine State Park. Out of the many places I considered, it caught my attention the most. It was understated, yet elegant and rich with history and beauty. I knew this is where I would ask.

I spent some time finding the perfect ring. It was important to me that it was the perfect symbol for our love. It had to be right. I couldn’t just find it online, or buy it from just anywhere ready to go. So, I worked with a referred jeweler to have it custom made just for her. It took some time to have it made just right, but in the end it was worth the wait. It had to be special, and believe me it was! I knew she would love it at first sight.

The day I asked was two days before Christmas. It was an interesting day to say the least. I wanted to surprise her, and what better way than to tell her that we had no plans that day… It wasn’t fun to see her slightly bummed. I mean who could blame her? It’s two days before Christmas and still no ring!!! Lol. I could tell that she was over it, and she’d decided to do her own thing at home.
That morning I spent a couple hours putting the finishing touches for her parents remodel project. As soon as I could, I drove home, quickly got ready, and called her to go somewhere to just spend some time together. After some convincing, and with her mom’s help, I was able to get her out of the house. At that point, I just told her I was taking her someplace we have not gone to before together, which was nothing out of the ordinary for us since she always loved surprises.

When we arrived to Empire Mine State Park, we casually strolled around the premises like unassuming tourists. The place has acres of gardens and historic pedigree everywhere you look, especially the gorgeous brick villa where the owners used to live. I was drawn to the building right away. I knew that is where I would ask.
Knowing I wanted someone to capture the moment , I had to make few laps until someone could take a pic of us, since it wasn’t the season and it was pretty deserted. And then, just as the random tourist lady we finally found to snap a photo of us started to take the picture, I got down on one knee and asked my sweetheart to marry me! Man, I was nervous. I had never expected my heart to be racing so fast. I started with “Will you marry me?” and before she had a chance to say anything, I nervously rambled, “I love you with all my heart,” among other things. Time went into slow motion as she kept on replying, “You’re lying!” before she finally said, “Yes!”
It was a beautiful moment for the both of us. It was by far one of the most amazing experiences and best decisions I’ve made in my life. I am one blessed man, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this gem!


I think it’s safe to say both Vadim and I knew we were going to marry each other several months before he actually popped the question. We were both very cautious in the beginning stage of getting to know one another… but we were also extremely honest with each other. We got to know each other really well early on, and we found that we were just a perfect fit for one another. I was actually quite amazed how similar our thinking was in regards to the big things… faith, family, finances… I couldn’t believe it was possible to have someone that it just made perfect sense to be with… where everything just fit. He was fun, funny, wise, humble, caring… and he loved me. Oh, how I loved how he loved me! I knew he was going to be my husband, and I was excited to say yes to spending the rest of our lives together.

Sure, I’d been waiting… I couldn’t wait to say “yes” to Vadim! I made sure my nails were always done for months… anytime we were going out for the day, I made sure I was wearing something I felt good in… I was always expecting it…
But for some reason, on the day he asked, I was convinced he wasn’t going to ask. He had somehow managed to completely throw me off.

He’d been working on a remodel for my parent’s bathroom the week before and was over at our house for final touch-ups on that Saturday morning. The work was finally completed around noon, and I set my mind to cleaning. He’d gone home to take a shower and called me to go out for a drive somewhere. I was so set on cleaning; I refused to go with him. I just wanted to clean and that was that. My mom came to the rescue (because otherwise, I don’t know that I would’ve gone) and got me out of the house. “He’s been working at our place all week, and now he finally has a free evening… go with him! Have fun!” She says she didn’t know Dean was going to propose, but I think mother’s intuition told her something’s up…

We had often liked to take a drive up to somewhere pretty, so this trip was nothing really out of the ordinary. We drove through tall forests of trees and beautiful mountain scenes, listening to our favorite music and talking the whole while. Eventually, I saw the sign and immediately got really excited. I had been to Empire Mine State Park for wedding shoots, but Vadim had never gone. I knew he’d be into it because he loves old architecture and mines, so I was excited to show him around the place.

Vadim kept me entertained and thoroughly distracted with his questions about the different structures and areas of the property as we walked throughout the foggy estate. The flower shrubs and ivy branches had all dried up from the cold weather and the entire estate look as though it were a scene from a Jane Austen novel. It was all so romantic!

When we circled back to the front of the main house for the third time, Vadim suggested we take a photo and head out since both of us were starting to get cold. Although the place was unusually deserted, someone had walked by us right at that moment, so we asked them to take a photo of us. Vadim looked at the photo and said we need to retake it because his hair doesn’t look good.

I reluctantly asked the kind stranger to take it again, “…when do you ever hear that the guy doesn’t like how he turned out! Haha!” She stepped back to retake it and just as she looked like she was about done, Vadim swooped down on his knee and grinned at me with the cutest, biggest, cheesiest smile, “Baby, will you marry me?” I was in complete disbelief! I had watched him reach for his inside pocket… I had watched him pull out a small box… I had watched him get down on his knee… But I was completely stunned, and didn’t believe what was happening as it all unfolded right before my eyes! My response, “Baby, you’re lying!” Hahaha! He gave me a huge hug, and I eventually said, “YES!” of course! And then I put on the ring, and it all hit me… Vadim had just asked me to spend the rest of my life with him… and the waterworks started… of course! It was the most beautiful moment of my life!

Afterward, we drove a little further up to Nevada City, where the entire town was decorated with warm lights for Christmas. We celebrated with a candlelit dinner in a little romantic restaurant, and I went to bed that night as the happiest girl in the whole world!