How We Met
Stephen and I met through a mutual friend. Social media was a huge help here; In April 2017 Stephen found a picture of me on Instagram and the next day while having lunch with our mutual friends, Israel and Willie asked Israel how we knew each other. Israel picked up the phone and called me right away. “I have a great guy for you.” Six months later (after sliding into my DM’s), Stephen and I went on our first date and saw each other in person for the first time. We haven’t stopped speaking since.
How They Asked
My colleague, Cinthia, asked Stephen and I months ago if we could do a photoshoot with her since she has been working tirelessly to diversify her portfolio and blog. After months of rescheduling, we finally decided that a Valentine’s day shoot would be our best bet. She and I collaborated on the different shots she wanted to take as well as the perfect red dress that would help it all come together. After almost having to cancel because the wind was a little too uncomfortable for us to shoot in, Cinthia found the perfect indoor solution, Ruibals Plants of Texas in Farmers Market. **If anyone from the Ruibal’s family reads this, we are so so grateful for you letting us use your space! It is absolutely beautiful!!!
Now is where it gets interesting. Stephen had the ring for about a month at this point, hiding somewhere in his room. I.Had.No.Idea. He told me it would be a few more months before he could even begin to start looking. So I told myself to be patient, to not look into anything suspicious, to let this be his big moment. 6 days before the shoot, Stephen asked my sister and best friends to meet him at a coffee shop to discuss something very important. He wondered if they could pull it off so quickly because he knew this was the only time I would be this dressed up without being suspicious. With the help of my girls, Cinthia was quickly brought into the plan. 5 days left. Stephen was then able to get my parents’ blessing, which he knew was the most important thing to me.
Once we arrived at the photo shoot, Cinthia, her amazing assistants (April and Sindi) and Stephen all managed to play it cool for about an hour of taking the “pre-engagement” shots. We then switched to a different location of the garden. There were beautiful white twinkly lights perfectly laid out across the floor and in the trees above where Stephen and I were standing. Apparently, the girls already worked with Cinthia earlier that morning to grab all the supplies needed for the proposal. As soon as I saw the rose petals I obliviously gasped and said “wow you guys did all this for Valentine’s Day? It’s beautiful!” Still absolutely no clue. Genius.
Cinthia asked us to do a back-to-back pose. So I stood exactly as directed, photo below. That was his cue. All of a sudden I hear the words “Okay Semhar, whenever you’re ready.” And out of pure confusion, I start to turn around. That’s when I saw that Stephen was down on one knee. It took everything in me not to pass out. To be present. To hear what he was saying. But I completely blacked out and can’t really recall much of anything he said. He asked, and trembling I said “YES.”
He then told me to turn around. My three-year-old nephew was running towards me with roses in his hand and I completely lost it. My sister and best friends also came out and surprised me. I was an absolute mess. We ended the night with another surprise waiting for me, dinner with my parents and our closest friends that could make it. With the absolute best cake I could’ve dreamed of!! Thank you so much Airrich!!
It’s only been a week but I can’t stop dreaming about this day. I am so grateful for everyone involved. Stephen Merkey, you have my entire heart. I can’t wait to be your wife.