Nathan and Daniela

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How We Met

I had been working at The Desert Sun newspaper in Palm Springs, CA for more than a year-and-a-half when my boss came over to my desk one day in September to introduce me to our new features editor. I shook her hand, was wowed by her pretty smile, and then she moved on to her side of the room. We spent the next three months engrossed in our work with our backs to each other, I in my busy season and her trying to find her footing in her new home across the country from her old life in New York City. We hardly ever exchanged a word, and I knew her only as the cute editor across the room.

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Fast-forward to around Christmas time, when one of our co-workers was hosting his annual Christmas party. It was my first weekend to unwind after covering high school football nonstop for four months, and I didn’t want to go. She didn’t know anyone very well and nearly stayed at home, but we both separately decided we didn’t have anything better to do. So we showed up, awkwardly mingled with coworkers, survived a drawn-out gift raffle, and found ourselves alone on the same couch talking afterward like we’d been friends for years.

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The next morning, I woke up with a text from my new friend, and we chatted the day away. We both had some regrets early on – I didn’t think to invite her later that day to watch the sunset in Joshua Tree National Park on my spur-of-the-moment road trip, and she was hesitant after our first official date to pursue things any further. But with a foundation of late-night chats, I was persistent, even while she had to be my editor on a big project. She let her guard down, and I did my best to sweep her off her feet. Little did I know how much she’d sweep me off mine.

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how they asked

Our relationship quickly blossomed that winter and spring, built on a foundation of adventure. I attended a film gala as her plus-one – totally out of my comfort zone as a guy whose life was sports 24/7 – and she took road trips with me to the Grand Canyon, chased sunrises and sunsets in the desert and spent her first night ever in a tent. We both sought out wineries and social media-famous eateries in Los Angeles and enjoyed southern California together.

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We knew early on that this could be “the one,” so we took an afternoon to browse rings together. Samuels Jewelers in Palm Desert mentioned they were having a sale the following week. I said jokingly that I might just go and buy one. But that day, I lied, saying I had to take off early for a work assignment before the store opened. That Saturday, we were headed to LA for our friends’ wedding, and I “got my oil changed” so I could pick up the ring. We danced the night away on the water and talked about how I wished I hadn’t let that chance to buy her dream ring slip away.

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I had persuaded Daniela to go to the beach with me in the morning to catch the sunrise, and I’d downloaded an app that let me control her phone’s camera with my own. I knew I wanted to capture our special moment, but I didn’t have anyone to call upon last-minute. I also knew I didn’t want to wait one more day without her as my fiance, so I improvised.

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We set up a tripod and took photos of us jumping, kissing, and running toward the water, and at the end, she asked if there was anything else we should do. I put both hands in my pocket, and one pulled out a ring box while the other pressed the shutter button non-stop for what felt like forever, and I got down on one knee. I don’t quite remember what I said, beyond that she had made me the happiest man in the world and that I hoped she’d give me a chance to try the rest of my life to make her just as happy. The rest has been the best adventure either of us has taken.

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Special Thanks

Camera Plus App
 | Helped me become my own engagement photographer.