Erika and Christel

How We Met

Erika and I met each other almost six years ago at the University of Miami. We were both in college then; she was a freshman and I was a junior. Because we had quite a few mutual friends, we kind of knew each other during the first semester of our respective years. However, our first conversations didn’t occur until early on in the spring semester when we were put on the same group during a community service event organized by our school. We chatted for a little bit as we cleaned up the lawn of a nearby elementary school and some of our mutual friends eventually joined in the conversation. They eventually decided that they were going to go to Red Lobster that evening for dinner and after telling them that I had actually never been there before, Erika went ahead and invited me to come along. There ended up being about ten of us at that dinner, and we actually sat at complete opposite ends of the table so we barely even spoke to each other at the dinner.

The next conversation I remember having with her was asking her via Facebook Messenger for her number, which she graciously allowed me to have. My exact words were, “Ayeee lemme get your number, i wanna ask you something…plus I would just like to have it”.

Hahaha yeah, I know.

I then asked her to participate in my fraternity’s annual scholarship pageant, which she politely declined. (She later told me that she would have felt incredibly awkward participating in a pageant. Knowing her now, I fully understand her reasoning lol.) I thanked her for considering it and didn’t end up crossing paths with her again until one fateful afternoon a couple of weeks later.

The movie “About Last Night” with Kevin Hart and Regina Hall had just come out and I REALLY wanted to see it. However, I didn’t want to go watch it alone, so I was trying to find someone to go watch it with. I remember thinking about it as I walked out of the dining hall that afternoon. I walked up to the front of my dorm building and Erika just so happened to be sitting there texting somebody. On the spot, I got the bright idea to ask her if she wanted to see the movie with me. Much to my delight, she agreed to do so. That movie night ended up being our first date, and I had a blast watching the movie. On the other hand, she didn’t seem to care much for the movie and from the look on her face in the moments that I would discreetly glance over at her, I could tell that she wasn’t really feeling it at all. I remember thinking to myself, “WELP. I guess this is gonna go nowhere. How is she not laughing at this?? She must not have any sense of humor…how unfortunate. Oh well.” (I later learned that she did actually have a sense of humor, it was just drastically different from my crude sense of humor haha.) Honestly, the only saving grace of that night is that we ran into LeBron James at the theater. That’s Miami for ya.

We had practically fizzled out before we had gotten to know each other. We probably wouldn’t have gone on any other dates together, but it looks like God had other plans in store for us.

The very next evening, one of my fraternity brothers and I were at a campus event hosted by a student organization. Once it ended, we walked outside and I noticed two girls nearby that I had wanted to get to know better. I began talking to them, and our conversation ended up lasting a good fifteen minutes. My frat brother eventually left me with them and as we were conversing, Erika and four of her other friends walked out of the venue that the event had taken place in. They walked over to us and I suddenly found myself talking with a group of seven girls. Soon enough, one of her friends suggested that we all go out and everyone pretty much agreed. So all eight of us ended up going to a club in downtown Miami, where we all danced, laughed and had a great time. At some point in the night, I found myself dancing alone with Erika. Our 2-minute dance became a 4-minute one, which stretched into an 8-minute one, which stretched into – you get the idea. After dancing for a while, we both eventually realized that we were really enjoying each other’s company.

Then the fateful moment came.

We both leaned in and kissed each other for the first time.

After that, nothing was the same!

How They Asked

The proposal was an event that I had spent about seven months planning for. I knew that it was going to happen around the time of my graduation from medical school, so with that in mind, I informed both of our parents of my intentions back in December. After confirming their approval, I proceeded to look for her perfect ring. I went to a few jewelry strores in February with some close friends and eventually came across a ring that I knew she would absolutely love. (She had spent the past year hinting, sometimes blatantly, at the types of rings she liked…let’s just say she made it hard for me to screw up.) I purchased the ring, kept it at the store for safekeeping, and bided my time.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in The Quad at Wake Forest University

Erika and Christel's Engagement in The Quad at Wake Forest University

Erika's Proposal in The Quad at Wake Forest University

A few days before my graduation, I picked up the ring from the store and gave it to my close friend for safekeeping. Erika and I then spent the first half of the weekend spending time with her mom and aunt, both of whom had come into town for both my graduation and the proposal. On Sunday, May 19th, my hooding ceremony took place in Wait Chapel on Wake Forest’s campus. My family ended up coming just in time for the ceremony to begin!

After the ceremony ended, we all went outside to take pictures and to celebrate this occasion. After taking several pictures (felt like several hundred), I led both of our families and friends to a more quiet area of The Quad so that I could give a short speech and put my plan in motion. When we got there, we ended up taking many more photos than I had anticipated and it was only when I politely (and loudly) demanded that they let me give my speech that everyone stopped and listened to what I had to say.

I thanked everyone for taking the time to be there to celebrate such a joyous occasion with me and expressed my appreciation for each of them as well as for the blessings I’ve received up to that point. I then pulled Erika aside and expressed how grateful I was to have had her by my side each and every day of my medical school years and how it felt like we were graduating from this stage of our lives together. I then mentioned that I got her a “graduation gift” as well and told her to turn around so that I could go and get it. Once I secured the ring from my friend, I told Erika to turn around and BAM!

I was on my knee with her ring in hand asking her to marry me!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in The Quad at Wake Forest University

Proposal Ideas The Quad at Wake Forest University

It was such an awesome and surreal experience! Also, some of my family members and family friends didn’t know I was going to propose at that moment, so they were losing their minds!

It was such a glorious moment and I’m so glad that I was able to transform my special day into our special day!!

Special Thanks

Robbie Bynum
 | Photographer