Jamie and Nelson

How We Met

t was the summer of 2013 (I was 23 & Nel was 25), which meant Djais happy hour at the Jersey Shore was the place to be. I walked into the bar with the rest of my closest Hillsborough friends and went straight to the dance floor. Although it was extremely crowded, we managed to see our friend from high school, Tommy Pappalardo and two of his friends from afar. We continued to make our way to the bar for some drinks/shots so we could start “shakin that butt”. The next thing I knew, Tommy and his two friends Nelson & Sean came up to us at the bar and we all started talking, dancing and drinking. Nelson and I ended up talking about how we’d seen each other in Penn station that Halloween before at 3 am waiting for our train back to NJ from the city, but never formally met. Me and nelsito suave-sito danced, drank, and talked all night. We had in instant special connection that would soon become a connection that lasts a lifetime!!

how they asked

Me and Nelson were on vacation in Santa Barbara, California. He told me that we would be spending some alone time for a couple of nights in a beautiful hotel together before heading to his sister’s house to visit her and his brother in law since they just recently moved to Santa Barbara. After checking into the hotel and enjoying some Welcome Champagne, he told me we had to dress up nice and that everything he had planned was a surprise. Most people might think that alone would give away the surprise proposal, but we tend to dress up pretty frequently and he is always planning cute surprises so it wasn’t anything abnormal or out of the blue. We got ready for the night and headed to a happy hour spot along the water. We relaxed there with some drinks and app’s for about an hour and then he told me he had a dinner planned afterward.

He threw me off by asking me if we wanted to just stay at the happy hour spot since we were enjoying it there, but I said I wanted to see what else was in store for the night. We left the happy hour place and started walking along the beach when he finally decided to tell me where the next “surprise destination” was. He said that his friend Josh had hooked us up with a “farm-to-table” chef in a cave along the beach (say what?!) – now if any of you know Josh, he has a ton of great connections, so this was easy for me to believe. We continued walking along the beach, soaking in how beautiful the sunset was and I kept asking where this farm to table set up was. All of a sudden we walked past this beautiful heart in the sand filled with bright pink orchids. We began walking towards it and I just remember being totally confused wondering who this was for?!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Santa Barbara, CA

Jamie and Nelson's Engagement in Santa Barbara, CA

I always thought I would know when the moment was happening, but when you are actually in the real-life moment, you can’t believe its ACTUALLY HAPPENING. He grabbed my hands, pulled me into the sand-filled heart and began the most beautiful proposal I only imaged would be possible in my dreams!! Shaking with shock and excitement, I said YES to the best man I have ever known and the love of my life!!

Followed by the heart in the sand was a walkway lit up by candles and orchids that led us to a sitting area with photos, pillows, more flowers, and Dom Perignon Champagne on ice! We toasted, celebrated and took an hour-long photo shoot with a professional photographer that Nelson had set up prior to the proposal. Hiding and waiting for us behind a giant rock on the beach was Nelson’s sister Monica and her husband John. They ran towards us with tons of excitement and I found out that they set up everything so beautifully before we arrived! I couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative of their hard work in helping plan the most special day of my entire life!

Nelson – you are the most amazing man I have ever met and I am the luckiest girl in the world to have found you. I cherish our special relationship and could not be more excited for the next chapter of our lives together! The easiest decision I have ever made was saying YES to be your wife and I cannot wait to marry you, Fiancé!!

Special Thanks

Emily Reiter
 | Photographer
Monica Vargas
 | Planning
Jonathan Brusich
 | Planning