Emilia and Juan

Image 1 of Emilia and Juan Esteban

How We Met

We met 7 years ago back when we were in high school. He was in his senior year and I was in my junior year. We both joined the Student Council, and we worked together on a few school events.

He asked me out on a last-minute lunch-date, to which I said no because I had already eaten (oops!), but he did not give up. He invited me to a Halloween party that weekend, where we got to know each other a lot better. He made me laugh so much, and I could tell how much he enjoyed having that effect on me. From then on, I never said no to future dates with him. And the rest is history…

How They Asked

December 20th, 2020 was our 7th anniversary together. We knew this year’s holidays would be different since we would not be able to travel back to Ecuador to visit our families like we normally do. Due to the increasing COVID restrictions in place, we decided to stay in Vancouver, but we would spend our anniversary weekend at the Vancouver Fairmont Hotel. We made the booking together, and as far as I knew, it would be a weekend to pamper ourselves: good food, a morning at the spa, and resting.

On that Sunday morning, we checked into the hotel and got a room upgrade. We went to the pool, watched a couple of The Crown episodes, and later in the evening started getting ready for our anniversary dinner. Back when we were planning this, I had suggested we both dress up fancy: a suit for him, and a dress and heals for myself. And so we did. We stepped into the elevator and he took me to the top floor of the building and surprised me with a booking for the Hashtag Holidays Event. This event was a collection of holiday backdrops to take pictures in, and due to COVID restrictions, it became a private event, so we had the whole place to ourselves. We went around the different rooms, he set up his camera on a tripod and we started taking pictures together and laughing.

Image 2 of Emilia and Juan Esteban

We got to the last backdrop, the most magical room. It had white crystals hanging from the ceiling and a mirror floor. He took a few pictures of me and then told me he was going to the bathroom. I stood there, waiting for him to come back when suddenly the Christmas carols playing in the background stopped. After a few seconds of silence, this other beautiful song came on (“My Only One” by Sebastian Yatra), and with the song, so did he. We took a picture together (in reality he had already started recording), and then he turned around and started looking for something behind the curtains. My heart started pumping, not knowing what he was looking for, but then I saw him bring out a scrapbook and I calmed down. I looked through it: every page had a couple of pictures and a little summary of every year we’ve been together. I turn to the last page and it says “Year 8: Our next chapter”. I turn the page again, and there, written in big letters: “WILL YOU MARRY ME?”.

Image 3 of Emilia and Juan Esteban

I started crying, and he was already on one knee with the ring out. He asked me again in Spanish and I said “YES!” between sobs and immediately hugged him. He then put the ring on my finger and made it official!

After that, once I had calmed down, he surprised me again! He had asked one of our very good friends to come to the hotel and take professional pictures of us to capture the magic and absolute happiness of the moment.

Image 4 of Emilia and Juan Esteban

Special Thanks

Caleb Brigham
 | Photographer