How We Met
I met Austin on a party bus in July 2018. He showed up on my doorstep with 10 of his best friends with the most genuine, “Hi, I’m Austin.” The rest of the night I danced, flipped my hair, socialized with his entire group of friends–except for him. We did not swap numbers, Austin did not “hit on me,” he seemed, well, uninterested. I went on to adore his group of friends, always meeting up with their group of 10 when I was with my group of 10. As fate would have it, Austin and I ended up on a double date together at Kinsale Golf Club in September 2018 completely by surprise, my date had been canceled the night before. Not knowing if Austin ACTUALLY wanted to be there, I didn’t get my hopes up.
Did not expect a text. I did not think he’d ask me out: he didn’t. We kept going on “double dates” together until finally, I said, “why don’t we go on a date alone.” Shortly after we were inseparable, fell in love, and Austin made the most difficult decision to move with me to Los Angeles when I received my Navy orders. Life has been completely unexpected since, navigating new jobs, states, moves, pandemics, and a new puppy together, but I am forever grateful for the little double date at Kinsale that landed us in the same place, at the same time, starting a journey together we didn’t know would change our lives.
How They Asked
If you’re engaged to an Italian man, you probably understand that they take things very relaxed, slow, and rarely plan a thing. This is my fiance: he’s spunky, hilarious, and notoriously late. As a little girl, I dreamed of falling in love with a mysterious European, turns out, Austin is far from mysterious, predicable actually–except for his proposal. It was fall of 2020 and in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic; romantic gestures were at a minimum because families were unable to fly out, restaurants were closed, gathers were unauthorized, and any dream I had of jetting off to a romantic getaway location to get proposed to was far from realistic. I knew the entire year, though, that Austin was going to propose. I just didn’t know when, where, how, and if he’d be able to pull off (or plan) anything incredibly romantic during the pandemic restrictions. It was a gloomy morning in Los Angeles, California, and Austin shared that he had a “surprise date” planned that evening.
As mentioned previously, he’s not a planner, so this was my first hint that something BIG might happen. He got dressed in his nicest blazer, I threw on a gorgeous maxi dress, and anticipated a date at a Sushi restaurant or something small, but adorable. Austin got in the car and put “Malibu” in the GPS. We drove an hour and a half up the PCH and I assumed we were heading to Nobu for a surprise dinner. Instead–he pulled up to El Matador State Beach, a stunning, magical backdrop of bright sunset colors and giant sandy rocks. He escorted me down the scariest, steepest steps and I looked to my right to see rose petals shaped in a heart, overlooking a cliff to the pacific. Calmly, Austin walked me over to the center of the heart and said “2020 has been the most unpredictable, but the only thing I know for sure is that I want you in my life forever.” He got on one knee and pulled out a Tiffany blue box, and I said “yes!”
photos by: Dani Vivanco @dan_the_camera_man