Jannelle and Nathaniel

How We Met: Nathaniel and I met for the first time when he was 11 years old and I was 7 years old. We met at a Christian family retreat (my grandfather is a pastor and his father is a pastor so we went to several of these events). I was with my little cousin at the childcare center and he walked in there and picked up my cousin and began playing with her.

Image 1 of Jannelle and NathanielNathaniel was the loud, fun, and cute guy that everyone liked. I remember being mesmerized at the fact that he liked kids (I do not know why [as a child] that was so impressive to me) and thinking this guy is so cute! I actually wrote in my little diary: “I am in love with this boy named Nathaniel Vicens and one day I am going to marry him!” But of course, I was so much younger than him, he never even noticed me.

Several years later, through a group of mutual friends from church, we began hanging out a lot. But this time I was not interested in him (or so I thought). I was so convinced he was just a crush I had when I was younger and I did not like him anymore.

Somehow, we became very close friends throughout that time. Then one day, his father invited me to a wedding with them, and although I thought that might be a bit strange…I still agreed. Shortly after that he began making excuses for us to hang out. He had a church talent show and called me to sing with him because he needed a female vocalist (mind you he comes from a very talented family with great female vocalists…all of which were present and able to sing with him that day).

Eventually, he went away to college and we continued our friendship over the phone. At first the conversations were sporadic but it became more routine over time

Image 2 of Jannelle and NathanielAt the time I was preparing for my Quinces (the Hispanic version of a sweet sixteenth birthday party) and was arranging the 15 couples for the choreography. Out of courtesy to our friendship, I had invited Nathaniel to participate in the 15 couples choreography, but I never expected him to agree because we had weekly rehearsals and he was away for college…but he agreed. Now, I was not sure who I wanted to partner with so I let the choreographer pick for me, my only condition was I did not want my partner to be anyone I liked (just in case things did not work out, I did not want my crush to be in all my Quinces pictures). Nathaniel was not able to make it to the first rehearsal (the only one he missed!) so it was perfect! My choreographer had the freedom of choosing any of the remaining 14 guys, but instead he was he told me he needed more time to determine who was a better dancer.

Lo and behold, during the next rehearsal he told me in front of Nathaniel that he was going to be my partner (I could not say no after that). Well after several weeks of Nathaniel coming down and rehearsing he pulled me aside one day and said the following:

I have been wanting to talk to you because I think you are a beautiful girl and I cannot get my mind off of you. Every time I meet a girl, I cannot help but compare them to you and they just don’t measure up. I have been praying about this for a long time and I really like you Jannelle…soo what are your thoughts on that?”

He caught me soo off guard that my idiot self could only reply the following, “Oh…okay I kind of agree with you but I am afraid of the age gap and long distance. Well I am running late for choir rehearsal, come with me to get my cellphone?” So I grabbed my phone said goodbye and headed to rehearsals. He later told me that when his family asked him how it all went…he said that I basically flicked him off with my words.

While I was at rehearsal I received a text apologizing for the awkwardness and asking if we could still be friends. I quickly replied that we should meet again and talk more about it, he just caught me off guard and I had no clue what to say.

A few weeks later we spoke and we determined that based on our family ties, long distance and age gap…we should not rush things and just wait it out. Two weeks later on 12/12/07, he spoke to my dad and he became my boyfriend! We said, “I love you” right before our 2-month anniversary and we came up with a 5-year plan for us to get married (we were kids and we were very ahead of ourselves).

We dated for about 6 years. Of those 6 years I’d say at least 4 and half were long distance (he went away for grad school too). The long distance made our relationship a tad complicated and one day we called it off. Ironically enough, shortly after the split…I ended up moving up to New York and he moved back to Miami.

After more than a year of splitting and no communication, and a series of strange events, I got the courage to reach out to him (which is sooooo not in my nature!). We started talking about all the different factors leading up to our break up and how insignificant they actually were. Before we knew it…on that first time (after more than a year of no communication) we spoke for over 6 hours! It felt like we picked up at the peak of our relationship and it made us realize just how much we missed each other.

After a couple of weeks of talking every night…I had a scheduled trip to Miami for my mother’s birthday. We agreed to take that weekend to figure out if we should get back together and see if we felt the same in person.

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On that second first date…he was so romantic! On that very same night he told me he was in love with me and it had to be an all or nothing thing for us. Either I was willing to work at this relationship with the intention of one day becoming his wife, or we were nothing to each other. I clearly wanted him back and so we took a leap of faith and decided to make it work for good this time! Little did I know he began talking to my mom that very same weekend about our engagement!

4 months later he popped the question and now we can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together and have our wedding mark the last day EVER of our long distanced relationship!

how they asked: While I was down for thanksgiving break, I was handing Nathaniel his phone when I glanced and saw a text saying, “Your ring is ready!” My mind began to race! I was so excited but I did not want to get ahead of myself. Later that week, I ended up telling him about the text. He was a bit frustrated but told me that he was just working on a design, but there would not be an engagement for a very long time.

Then in an attempt to throw me off…on the day that would have marked 7 years from when he first became my boyfriend, he asked me to dress up real nice and he showed up in a suit. So I thought…for sure he is popping the question. I got my nails done, I did my hair, took hours perfecting my make-up…basically the whole nine-yards! Then…he did not ask!!!

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So the next day, my cousin had planned a dinner at Soyka’s restaurant for all the couples in our families; it had been a while since we were all together. But she stressed that everyone dress really fancy…to a restaurant?! Then Nathaniel pulled me towards the grand piano in the restaurant and told me he was going to show me a song. Now let me explain why I did not suspect anything:

First: Nathaniel had already faked me out. Second: my cousin would plan stuff like that periodically. Third: all my cousins think they are the Cuban “Kardashians” (they say it themselves); they are usually among the best dressed women everywhere they go…so dressing up fancy is not out of the norm. Fourth: Nathaniel told me he had been working on this song for a while now and he never shows me the song until it is complete…plus I thought it might be a little tribute to the day before being the 7 year anniversary of when we first began dating.

Then on 12/13/2014 at Soyka’s restaurant he began to sing the song he wrote me and all I understood was “I want to give you my last name…girl I want to marry you!” The entire time I tried to be calm and collected because he had already faked me out the day before…and I was not about to get my hopes high AGAIN!

It was not until he got down on his knee with a ring, that all my emotions came flooding in and it hit me that my life-long crush & my best friend wanted to marry me! And of course… I said YESSS!!!!

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Then we went to my house and my entire family was there to greet us!

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