Gregory and Ariana

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how we met

Gregory and I have been friends since July 2013. We met at CCV, a church in San Dimas, California, for the first time, but we really had our first interactions playing soccer for fun at Azusa Pacific University. A group of church friends liked to play volleyball on Tuesday nights and I first met his brother while playing soccer. One day Jared, Gregory’s brother, said that Gregory was coming to play and I was like, “You have brother?” We talked off and on for the next few weeks of soccer and volleyball, but soon lost contact for a while because Gregory’s job didn’t allow him to make it often. Then one day CCV hosted an event called Broomball and we were reunited once again. Gregory did a lot of playful flirting by boxing me out the whole night, even when the ball was nowhere near me! The night was a total blast and we really enjoyed each other’s company. I was still pretty oblivious of his feelings for me at that point, but Gregory really took a liking to me.

A while later, Gregory decided to invite me to a movie night he was hosting at his house, and we really hit it off! When I was taking off to leave he offered to walk me to my car. In those moments, I really appreciated him and his kind heart. Once I got home, Gregory asked me if I would share my testimony with him because he was “intrigued by how strong and positive I was” and said he was interested in learning more about me. We stayed up all night talking about our testimonies and how God was working in our lives, family, and future dreams. Gregory couldn’t understand how easy it was for him to open up to me and share so many personal details of his life, but he says it brought an excitement in him that he longed for. I really appreciated how much interest he showed in what God was doing in my life and was drawn to his willingness to be open and honest about his life journey. I fell in love with his heart that night, and soon after we began to potentially see how much more we could do for God and his kingdom together, than apart.

Image 2 of Gregory and Ariana

how they asked

Gregory told me that he planned a relaxing day for me, so he took me to one of my favorite places to eat when I was in high school, Bowl of Heaven. After we finished, we drove down to the beach to Balboa Island and walked around the downtown area enjoying each others company and conversation. Once we arrived, we decided to go up to Ruby’s, which is a small fast food spot located on the side of the road overlooking the beach and all the beach cottages. Little did I know that Greg had worked relentlessly, logging on every morning and various times during the day to try and book a night at one of the cottages located right on the beach. Unfortunately, Ruby’s was located on the complete opposite side of the beach as the cottage host. Greg told me that he had to use the bathroom, so, naturally, being the very observant person that I am, I suggested he use the one at Ruby’s. He quickly made an excuse saying that those were dirty and that he would just use the ones on the beach.

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While I sat at Ruby’s eating french fries and cup of ketchup, Greg had ran down several flight of stairs, across the beach, and up another set up stairs to get to the cottage host where he checked in. He then ran back in an attempt to not make the amount of time he was gone not look suspicious. He sat back down with me and we finished the meal like normal. After we were done, Greg drove over to the small beach cottage and parked. I was super confused because I knew we weren’t allowed to park there unless we were loading or unloading for the cottage.

Greg took me to the back of the car and opened the trunk to show me that he had packed overnight bags, blankets and pillows. I caught on at that point. We were staying the night at the cottages! We went inside and relaxed for a bit. Then, he told me that it was almost time for our reservation at the Beachcomber Restaurant, and told me that I should start to get ready. Little did I know, that while I was getting ready, he called Liana, the photographer he had hired to take pictures of what was to come… She advised him that she was on the beach waiting and that she was hiding in a bush (haha!).

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After we were ready, we went down to beach. Greg told me that we still had some time left before the reservation and that we should take a walk along the beach and go to the spot where we had their first date (so cute, right?!). Once we were at the spot, we stood by one another holding each other and talking for a bit. Greg then stood in front of me as I was facing the ocean, got onto one knee, and asked if I would do him the honor of allowing him to be my husband. And, of course, I said yes!

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Special Thanks

Liana McCain
 | photographer