Ivanah and Robert

Image 1 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

How We Met

Rob and I first met Summer 2009 after my friend had dragged me to a party I had no interest in going to. I just graduated high school and he was finishing up his first year of college. We became friends, but did not actually start dating until 2011. Between this time, we were kind of doing our own thing. I went away to school at UNLV in Las Vegas and he stayed on Long Island. One random winter night, I was home for break and decided to call him to see how he was doing and what he was up to. He had just recently moved to a new apartment and invited me to his house warming party. We continued to hangout. I began to realize how wonderful he truly was. A few nights before I had to leave for school, in the middle of a snowstorm, he kissed me. From that point on, my feelings for him began to develop but it sucked because I had to leave. Although we were 3,000 miles away from each other, we kept in touch. We’d have weekly video chat dates on Wednesday nights to talk about our day and complain about work and school. I eventually ended up moving back to Long Island and three days after doing so, he asked me to be his girlfriend.

Image 2 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

Looking back at it now, I am so happy I went to the party.

how they asked

In 2014, after three years of dating, Rob was accepted into Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. While this meant he was off to pursue the career of his dreams, it also meant hundreds of miles between us and another four years apart from each other.. But we’ve made it work through visits, love letters, care packages and video chats.

For the fourth of July weekend, I planned to visit Rob in Ithaca. The week before, he told me that he and his roommates were so very excited to see me and would like to get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant for dinner. Saturday night came around. We were on our way to the “steak house”, but there were detour signs on the road and we had to cut through the Cornell Campus. As we drove through, he stopped and parked his car and told me that he wanted to show me something in the Cornell Plantations. I kept asking how long it would take, because I was more concerned about making our dinner reservations on time since I had taken a while to get ready. He grabbed my hand and said, “Only five minutes.”

As we were walking, I saw a beautifully lit gazebo in the distance in the middle of the pond.

Image 3 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

I thought to myself, “Wow, this is nice!”

Image 4 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

As we walked closer, I began to hear our song, You and I, by Ingrid Michelson playing in the background. So confused, I looked at him as he smiled back at me.

Image 5 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

Once we got to the bridge connecting to the gazebo, I look down and there are fresh rose petals leading the way.

Image 6 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

There were candles and black and white photos in chronological order from the past five years of our life together. At this point, I was still confused. In my head I thought, “What was so special about today? It’s not our anniversary because that had just passed. Could this be IT? No, it couldn’t be.. It’s something that we rarely talk about and he’s super busy with school..”

Image 7 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

Image 8 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

We get closer and closer to the gazebo where the trail of rose petals eventually formed a heart. He took my hand and brought me to the center. Looking up, all you see are hanging mason jar lights, staggered throughout the gazebo. The perimeter also had candles that were perfectly spaced out. He looked into my eyes and at this point everything was a blur. He said a lot beautiful things but my emotions were so overwhelming. I started to tear up and cry. All I remember was the sun setting as Rob got down on one knee, all teary eyed, asking, “Ivanah Marie Chua, will you marry me?”

Image 9 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

Image 10 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

After saying happily saying yes, Rob yelled, “Everyone come out!!” His roommates that helped set up for the proposal came out and greeted us with a bottle of champagne. I am so happy they were able to share this special moment with us.

Image 11 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

Every part of this day was so carefully thought out and planned. It is a memory I will forever hold close to my heart. I never thought I would be fortunate enough to be loved by someone who is so genuine and kind.

Image 12 of Ivanah Marie and Robert

Love knows no distance.

Special Thanks

The Bullpen
 | Set Up
David Dai
 | Photography
Blue Nile
 | Ring