Yvonne and Javier

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How We Met

Javier and I met at the Phoenix restaurant on West 3rd Street in LA. We both wore ugly holiday sweaters since Christmas was right around the corner. I have to admit Javi’s holiday turtleneck looked silly, but his willingness to wear it out in public gave me a great first impression. Javi was so mysterious to me and I was intrigued. We carried an easy conversation with laughs that made getting to know him easy.

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That first night was then followed by so many fun and memorable experiences around the city, like going to Dodger games, trendy restaurants, bars, country, and R&B concerts, and finding out that we both had the same birthday! I moved to LA for work, but little did I know that moving to LA away from my family and friends would lead me to meet my future husband. The power of destiny & God truly brought us together.

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How They Asked

March 15, 2020…

2020 has been a crazy and ridiculous year in so many ways but luckily for me, there was a day this year that I can hold on to dearly — Sunday, March 15th.

In all honesty, March 15th might also be the greatest day of my life. The day the love of my life, best friend, and partner in crime asked me to marry him and planned the most beautiful surprise engagement ever.

I envisioned this day early on when Javier and I became official. I knew this day was bound to happen because I’ve always known that Javi & I were truly made for each other.

The weekend leading up to our proposal consisted of a casual wine and Monopoly night on Friday after work. On Saturday we planned to attend a wedding for a friend from grad school in Fullerton. Javi and I were both apprehensive of attending the wedding since earlier in the week COVID-19 pandemic news was becoming increasingly worrisome, but we still attended nonetheless.

Earlier that month, our country declared a national emergency & that weekend we were told to shelter in place by the government. Javi was certain that California would soon follow suit & shut down all restaurants, bars, and hangouts.

Consequently, on Friday Javi casually invited me to Sunday brunch at Ballast Point, a brewery with remarkable views overlooking the beautiful marina in Long Beach, CA. I was curious why Javi wanted to hang with me that day since every Sunday we typically visited our own families. I agreed to brunch, but inquisitively asked him, why we were not visiting our parents? He responded, “because California might shut down all restaurants and bars soon, and this might be the last opportunity that we can go out and get brunch…” (Little did we know that the city would completely shut down 2 days later). Also, he mentioned that his parents were not seeing anyone or going anywhere due to the uproar of COVID-19 cases that week. It made sense, and I totally agreed & obliged to Sunday Brunch!

I really didn’t have any clue or suspicion about a potential proposal. Especially because my nails were NOT done. Javi knew that having my nails done was such a big deal for me if he ever proposed. When I visited my parents that Saturday afternoon before the wedding, my mom was so nonchalant and did not encourage me to get my nails done even after seeing how horrendous they looked. That was the one request that I asked her to make happen before I got engaged. Of course, since I was going to a wedding that night and a birthday party, I quickly made an appointment to get our nails done, something my mom would have quickly made for the both of us. She even questioned if I was going to come home on Sunday & I feverishly replied that Javi and I were going to Sunday brunch before the restaurants closed down due to COVID-19. She swiftly replied that she & my dad had plans Sunday anyway. (..And the academy award goes to…. Petra).

Waking up Sunday with a slight hangover from the wedding & bar (after-party in Orange for Kelly’s birthday) on Saturday, I was too tired to go to Ballast Point for brunch. Javi mentioned that we did not have to drink, but we could just simply enjoy brunch. I was reluctantly convinced.

Javi played it calm, cool, and collected… typical Javi fashion. We finally left his place to Ballast Point. When we arrived at the parking lot, Javi unloaded his truck & out of nowhere handed me a water cooler filled with White Claws and our favorite Club Supreme from Jersey Mikes. He expressed that he’s been waiting for this day to surprise me with a Duffy boat ride for my graduation since I recently graduated with my masters from USC. I thankfully declined & told him that we already celebrated in December, but he insisted on getting me a more intimate gift. I went along with it and was so excited because I have been wanting to ride on a Duffy boat together for a while now (Javi always knows me way too well).

Javi and I boarded the Duffy boat, and we boozed cruised through Long Beach harbor with our White Claws in tote and country music on full blast on his Bluetooth JBL speaker that we never go anywhere without. Like always, we had a wonderful time cruising, snuggling, and singing. The weather was partly cloudy with a chance of showers but throughout the afternoon the sun peeked through the clouds enough to provide sunlight around us and not a drop of rain fell.

At last! There was a moment where the water was peaceful and still. Javi got up from the captain’s seat and placed his tripod on the Duffy boat table. (On Friday he told me that he borrowed the tripod from his coworker so that he could record and improve his golf swing so I didn’t think anything of it). We continued to enjoy the beautiful scenery & I placed my head on his familiar chest. At this moment, I realized his heart was pounding 1000 miles per hour. We started talking about the inception of our relationship and where we are now. My eyes were getting watery. Suddenly, Javi got up from the captain’s seat again, but this time walked around the cockpit & pulled a tiny purple ring box from his new coat (that I later found out he purchased for this special day). Javi then got down on one knee and asked me four unforgettable words, “Yvonne.. will you marry me?” I quickly stood from the captain’s seat and said of course!!

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Tears were shed and we sat back down swaying on the calm water. Javi promptly answered all the questions storming through my bewildered head. He let me in on his well planned out proposal story and how he drove to my hometown, brought my parents’ lunch, and asked them for their blessing when I thought he was at work. I gazed down at my left hand in awe, admiring the most stunning ring that I’ve laid eyes on, a gorgeous brilliant round diamond with the braided band I have always dreamt about. Someone, please pinch me. I am on cloud 9.

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I was so joyful, delighted, & excited that we were finally engaged and could start planning our wedding & future together!

Nevertheless, the surprises did not end there! We briskly drove back to the dock where Javi mentioned a photographer would come to take pictures of us at 2 pm. As we were waiting at the dock, I was flabbergasted to find my best friend Rayah and Javi’s best friend Kevin walking to our boat screaming “Congrats!.” The “photographer” turned out to be our best friends that Javi invited to share this special moment with us. After they boarded the boat, we celebrated and took endless pictures around Long Beach harbor once again.

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Rie kindly surprised me with a jacket displaying “Mrs.Torres” on the back and champagne glasses for Javi & I with our future name “Mr. & Mrs.Torres,” along with balloons and props for engagement photos. As I stared at the gifts that Rayah graciously provided us with embellishments that said “Mr.& Mrs.Torres,” this is when it all hit me again. Things literally just got real! .. My last name & our life was going to change. Tears ran down my cheeks. Shortly after we docked our boat, we were in need of dinner and celebratory drinks! We walked over to the conveniently located Boathouse restaurant, adjacent to the Duffy boat dock, where Javi had planned his last surprise.

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As we walked in, I was dumbfounded to find our parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, and grandma waiting for us in the middle of the restaurant shouting, “Surprise!!” We hugged our families and were so overwhelmed and overjoyed with all the love that was given to us. Not to mention, this was the first time our parents have ever met so it was even more special. The dinner was filled with laughs, tears, hugs, gifts, pictures, toasts, and speeches! It was wonderful, incredible, and memorable, and we had the most special people in our lives to celebrate with us.

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Javi planned and surprised me with the best day ever! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect engagement or a more perfect fiancé for me.

Even though all restaurants and businesses were forced to close down that night at 8 pm in LA and our nation was in a state of emergency due to the global pandemic, March 15th was still my best day of 2020. Javi picked the last day LA restaurants or businesses could be open for many months to come due to shelter in place. Another sign that it was meant to be.

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March 15, was a day like no other across Los Angeles but more-so was the day Javi & I decided on forever. In the midst of our global pandemic & uncertain times, love wins!!

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