Melanie and Daniel

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How We Met

Daniel and I first met in 2011 during the first week of my freshman year at UCLA at the age of 18. Daniel is a few years older than me. I went to his fraternity, AEPI, with some of my friends and I remember meeting him. A big group of us went to UCLA’s Bruin Bash concert that first week. This photo was taken of us that night. In the first few weeks of school, we occasionally talked on Facebook but it never really turned into anything.

Fast-forward 5 years later… Daniel and I both swiped right on JSwipe! I had never been on a date with anyone I had “met” online but because it was a familiar face, I decided to give it a try! We planned to meet at Mercado for drinks, which inevitably turned into a long and amazing dinner filled with margaritas and guacamole. After dinner, he walked me to my car and gave me a hug goodnight. That night, I knew that I had met someone special. I remember telling my sister the next morning how I had a good feeling about this one!

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How They Asked

Daniel and I recently moved to Marina Del Rey and got a puppy! We have been going on many walks around the Marina recently because of COVID-19.

Friday evening, Daniel asked me if I wanted to go for an evening walk. I didn’t think much of it and was wearing full workout and corona gear (mask) – I was ready to exercise! Daniel brought along a telescope that he has been starting to use. There is a lot to see in the Marina so of course, I thought nothing of that either…he is a geek and is always playing with some new gadget! We stopped along the way somewhere close to our apartment because Daniel wanted to use the telescope and see if we could spot anything interesting! He was really testing my abilities to use it. Frustrated and impatient, I was ready to give up, which only stressed him out even more. A few minutes later I was able to see what he was pointing at. We continued walking a bit and then Daniel said, “Oh look, I think I see our friends across the Marina”. I was a little skeptical that he could see them so far away but I do know that we have friends that live nearby. He told me to find them through the telescope and then said, “next to the guy with the banner”.

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I found the banner that read, “Will you marry me?” Completely surprised, I quickly turned around, nearly dropping the precious telescope, to find the love of my life down on one knee. I didn’t even let him finish his question before I shouted, “Yes, of course, I will marry you!” and kissed him immediately. I had never been so happy and in love!

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A few minutes later, Daniel tells me to smile at the camera. I was so confused and had no idea what he was talking about. Turns out that he had planned to have one of our friends hiding in the bushes nearby to take photographs of the whole engagement! His brother, the guy holding the banner, quickly joined us as well!

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Being the third generation in the wholesale diamond and jewelry business, I used to always tell Daniel that whenever he was ready to propose, all he needed to do was call up my sister and that she would take care of the rest. Almost two months ago, Daniel made that phone call! My sister involved my parents to find me the perfect emerald cut diamond, our favorite shape. Because LA was under stay at home order, our jeweler had to set up shop at home to make my ring.

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For weeks, my whole family was in cahoots! My dad would tell me when we were in private that Daniel is not a serious guy! And every time we saw my dad together, he would always interrogate us a bit and ask Daniel when he was going to pop the question. My finger looked cold, they all said! The day before he proposed, I was with my sister looking at some rings of ours.

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When we came across a photo of this particular ring style, I said “NICOL – this is my DREAM ring design, don’t forget and I am a size 5!”. She responded, “Well, Daniel hasn’t called me yet. What is he waiting for?!?!?!”. They all definitely got in my head but I know now that it was all part of the plan!

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Getting engaged during the pandemic will forever be memorable! I am so excited to marry my best friend!

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