Sarah and Zachary

How We Met

Zachary and I met in March 2011, where he was a junior and I was a senior at the same high school. Because of our grade difference, I never saw Zachary much or had any classes with him. However, we both did take Spanish, and our teacher organized a trip to Spain. Being in different Spanish classes, we still both did not know each other until we were sat on the plane. Our tickets went alphabetically by last name, and with me being Vella, and him being Velasco, we were placed right next to each other. My first words to Zachary were “Do you want any snacks?” as I pulled out my carry on loaded with in-flight goodies. He later explains to me that he thought I was insane for packing so much food.

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During the trip, we took an obvious interest in each other. All around Spain, our fellow classmates would taunt us, dare us to hold hands and watch us giggle and flirt. I had just, and I mean JUST the day before the trip, ended a badly abusive relationship. I was obviously hesitant to get involved with someone new, but chatting with Zachary made me fall into another world, one where I wasn’t afraid anymore.

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Sarah and Zachary's Engagement in Birmingham, Michigan

After the trip, we stayed in contact, went on a few dates, and he asked me to be his girlfriend on May 25th, 2011. With only two months passing since my previous relationship, it was admittedly a little too soon to be dating again. Zachary knew this, and was so patient, caring, and gentle with me, as we spent the first few months of our relationship healing from my past. We grew together, graduated high school, graduated with our Bachelor’s degrees, and are now in graduate school pursuing Master’s degrees.

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How They Asked

Zachary and I love cooking, baking, and exploring new food options in our area. During one of our quests, we stumbled upon a local bakery called Love & Buttercream. We fell in love with this amazing java buttercream they make, and we were always thinking of ridiculous ways to steal the recipe, including me getting a job there for a week to get the recipe and then quitting (don’t worry, we aren’t that cruel).

Zachary had told me he had a birthday surprise for me, but would not tell me what it was. With it being 9 days from my birthday, I didn’t think anything of his request. All week, he was telling me he couldn’t get any sleep. My mother insisted we get our nails done when we normally wouldn’t. It briefly crossed my mind we might be getting engaged, but his parents, who we are incredibly close with, were out of state the same day, and I didn’t think he would do it without them there.

We roll up to the place where my “surprise” was and it was Love & Buttercream! He told me we were getting private cake decorating lessons, and learning to make the coveted java buttercream! I was so excited, it was such a perfect activity for the two of us. When we got there, a worker said she would be photographing the event to put on their social media page (I’m still clueless, decorating cakes). We placed some flowers on the top of the cake to finish it off, and our instructor took them to the fridge to set the buttercream. When she brought them back out, mine had a sugar plaque on it that read “Will you marry me?” and Zachary was on one knee!

I was astonished, so surprised, and ugly crying all at once. We had custom made an engagement ring in September, and this was also my first time seeing the finished product! Everything was so beautiful and well done, and a perfect surprise. After I came back to reality, Zachary scheduled a mini engagement shoot in the downtown area with the photographer (who was not shooting for the social media page haha), which of course it rained, but we both did not have a care in the world! We then enjoyed a fabulous dinner reservation and drinks with his brother to celebrate!

Special Thanks

Love & Buttercream
 | Planning
Honey & Bell Photography
 | Photographer