Mike and Neraida
how we met
Three years ago the woman of my dreams found me, I flew to Rome to meet her and there our story began. After traveling 17 hrs, 6500 miles and her 4 hours and 3 trains later, we stood across from each other at the train station, eyes locked, hearts racing, walking towards each other . . . no words. We embraced, lips locked and had an incredible extended weekend in one of the most romantic cities in the world.
Four weeks later she came to me, this incredible woman from Durres, Albania who fled to Italy during the revolutionary war was here with me on the other side of the world in Los Angeles for the first time. 2 amazing weeks and we were on to the next chapter . . . 7 months later, visa approved she became my world, my every day experience, my everything, fell in love with my boys . . .
how they asked
On November 3rd, 2015 her family and I all met in Barcelona. I set up a gifted “photoshoot” for her sister’s engagement and her mom’s birthday for the next day so they would be dressed and ready. The next morning November 4th, atop the highest point overlooking all of Barcelona, the Magic Fountain of Montjuic after everyone got their “photos” it was our turn to do our couples shots. It was the perfect moment, perfect weather her entire family was there and the stars had aligned. I asked her to give her sister her phone to take an iPhone video, and when she turned back to come to me…
I was on my knee when she asked “What are you doing? Get up, I don’t want posed pictures like that!” When she realized why I was on my knee she exclaimed in the most excited and expressive way, “Oh Shhhh@#$%!!!” Ahhhahahahaa and ran away far to the other side of the courtyard.
With every second caught on video, her family in tears laughing, her laughing and a terrible hot mess, she came back to me with open arms and then I asked Neraida Bega to marry me. She never did answer yes or no but now we are married driving through the Upper East Side of Manhattan to see my good friend Laurent helped make all of this possible.
With plans to propose in the spring, while she was back visiting family in Italy, they decided to spend her mom’s birthday, and celebrate her sister’s engagement in Barcelona where I was going to be for work events. It was last minute but instead of waiting I decided to call Laurent to see what was possible in 4 weeks. First he educated me on the different stones, quality, cut, clarity, etc but I was still undecided. As he searched for the right stone we were 2 weeks away and he was not happy with what was on the market as we were both wanting something very special. Finally 10 days before I was to depart for Barcelona he found a possibility but would not be able to look at it until after the weekend. On that Monday, 7 days before my departure, he confirmed and said this particular white diamond exceeded his expectations. He rushed everything and was to have the finished engagement ring overnighted to me by Thursday. Wednesday came and went, it wasn’t ready. Thursday he pushed and by days end… It wasn’t ready. Friday morning… Friday noon… It wasn’t ready. Mind you, I had already organized everything in Barcelona for the photo shoot. Laurent referred me to his friend James Ambler of Paparazzi Proposals who within a few hours secured a photographer who was available for the day and time I wanted. Due to my work events, I only had one date available to make all this happen. Around 2pm that Friday afternoon, Laurent messaged me that he was on his way to pick up the ring and would send me fed ex tracking info once it shipped. Saturday morning I had the most amazing custom designed ring in hand and was off to Barcelona a day and a half later.