Natalie and Raul

How We Met

We actually have no idea how, when, where we met. All of a sudden, one day we were friends! We had a lot of mutual friends through Cru, our Christian Fellowship on Cornell’s campus, and started spending more time together once we both started leading worship teams. Raul led the Acoustic Band and I led the Gospel Band, and through the leadership, having worship meetings, holding auditions, we spent more and more time together. I started feeling something more than friendship pretty early on, while Raul needed more convincing, thank you Genesis!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Sunset Park, Ithaca NY

Through time together and encouragement/meddling from friends and our spiritual mentors, we decided to spend our Christmas break of 2017 getting to know each other more personally while praying and asking for guidance about what direction to take the relationship. When we returned to campus in January, we spent a little more time together, had a final push from Stephanie and JW Betts, and began our official relationship. We quickly grew in fondness for one another and realized that our worship ministry could continue to grow through our relationship, and we could still focus on our separate ministries: Raul with his Tae Kwon Do and Soccer teams, me with my community group and discipling younger girls at Cornell.

Natalie and Raul's Engagement in Sunset Park, Ithaca NY

I fell fast for Raul’s kind heart, his care for other people, and his absolute devotion to God. He had the opportunity to see my joy in all aspects of my life and how much I gave of myself to others so that they could know Jesus. I say I knew I was going to marry him after only two months, and that’s because I felt such peace and love from the very minute he asked me to be his girlfriend. We are so blessed to have incredible, loving, and brilliant parents and a support network of pastors, mentors, and friends who helped us keep our relationship focused on the Lord.

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How They Asked

I went away to Portland for the weekend to interview for a program there for after graduation. Raul took that as the perfect opportunity to work on the proposal. Even though he had an idea in mind, he didn’t tell anyone until the night before in true Raul style. He picked me up from the airport Monday morning and gave away nothing. He told me that his department had a senior gala that evening, so I would need to get dressed up after class. This wasn’t suspicious to me at all, my own department had an event the week before, so I was excited to attend. After class, I went home to get ready and then pick up Raul from his last class of the day. He went back to his apartment to change and get ready. He came out into the living room looking so good and dressed up, I actually made him take me back to my house so I could get dressed up more. Little did I know, that complicated his plan, making him drive the opposite direction from where he wanted to propose. Quickly thinking, he told me that we needed to pick up his friend who was also going to the gala, and this “friend” happened to live near the proposal area. He somehow missed a turn and we ended up at Sunset park, a beautiful little park that has a view of Ithaca and Cayuga lake. I say “This park is so beautiful we should come back here after the gala!” To which Raul replies, “I don’t care that much about the gala, let’s just hang out here!” I still had completely no clue about what was about to happen, I just thought we were going to have a nice time and enjoy one of the few sunny days in Ithaca.

Raul had other plans. He began by singing me a beautiful Spanish love song, then we read some verses together that have been meaningful to us and our relationship, then spent time praying for one another and our relationship. He ended by pulling out his guitar again and singing and playing a song he wrote himself.

This was the point when I finally realized a proposal was happening. After the song, he stood me up, pulled out the ring, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I have never been so excited, and could barely get the word YES out! As if all of that wasn’t enough, our friends jumped out from the bushes to hug and congratulate us! We then went back to my house to celebrate with food and drinks. Best. Day. Ever.

Our Video

Special Thanks

Mckenna Mellon
 | Videographer
Christopher Emodi
 | Photographer
Leah Stankus
 | Photographer