We’re so excited: Julia’s engaged!

“Since you work at a wedding startup, does that mean that you’re going to get married soon?”

Welcome, readers, to my life. When I decided to join Tracy full-time in a co-founder/CTO role at WeddingLovely, the decision had certain implications. My friends and family, of course, thought that Luis and I would be getting engaged soon. I would kindly smile and laugh when they would mention this to me, and say something along the lines of “we’ll see.”

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Our First Date

Our story starts back on Saturday, August 22, 2009 in Palo Alto, CA (and like all stories of this type, of course, it was a beautiful, warm, sunny California day). Luis and I had our first date planned to get wine at a local wine tasting room, but found the streets shut down and sleepy in preparation for an arts festival happening the next day. We awkwardly wandered around downtown Palo Alto together while trying to figure out what to do, each trying to be polite and flexible given that we barely knew each other. As it happens, we ended up at a small, well-known wine bar a few blocks away (this is northern California you know!). When the waiter came to take our drink order we asked if he had any recommendations. He said: “Describe to me what kind of wine you like.” I’m not at all reserved about this so I gave a description and asked him to please bring me a “robust, intense red wine, maybe something from Italy.” The waiter then turned and asked Luis what kind of wine he liked and Luis responded simply with: “I want the exact opposite of what she just said.”

At the time, I thought to myself something like: “Hum, I don’t think this is going very well.”

Seated and awaiting our wine, cheeses, and other whatnots, our conversation started as unmemorably as most. You know, “tell me more about what you do,” that sort of thing. When it came to our careers, we had almost nothing in common. I was at IBM Research, where I had started after finishing graduate school in computer science. Luis studied economics and then worked as an investment banker in New York City. He then spent time in London getting his MA in Philosophy. Since that little test passed, as far as he could tell, he decided that Philosophy was worth pursuing. So he gave up banking when he was offered a spot to earn his PhD in Philosophy from Stanford. I, on the other hand, promptly left graduate school with my MS and never wanted to return to academia again.

Julia & Luis at a friend's wedding, summer 2010

Luis & Julia at a friend's wedding, summer 2010

To sum up, our initial conversation didn’t seem to leave us with much to build on. But of course, things got a little better. We ended up walking around downtown, joking and bantering while admiring the street art that had already been prepared for the next day’s festival. There were all kinds of beautiful drawings in chalk on the street that we got to see before the festival even began. And so it turns out, things ended better than they had begun. To be quite honest though, despite the fact that we had a nice time and he was very polite, well-spoken and exotically attractive (Mexican and Asian heritage with striking green eyes!), I didn’t think Luis would ever call me again. I might have called him, but ultimately I just kind of figured that he wasn’t that into me.

I was wrong.

See how their relationship turned into something more after the jump…

Our Second Date

Several days later he called and asked if I wanted to have dinner with him. Sure, why not. We met at my favorite Greek restaurant and had a wonderful time together. It turns out that we were both born in the same hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico (?!?), as it happens, and adore the southwest. We are both athletes and love getting outdoors and fitness (Luis grew up playing several sports and still plays soccer; I am a runner and also used to love crazy, heated yoga). We talked, laughed, and had a good time. Frankly, things were clear from the second date onward that the first was something of an anomaly.

Julia & Luis skiing, spring 2012

Luis & Julia skiing in Canada, spring 2012

Facebook status changed to “in a relationship”

To keep the story short, here is a quick recap of the 2.5 years that followed that second date: We took our first vacation together to Seattle (3 months after our first date) and Luis decided to watch football with an old friend of his while I went hiking. My friends and I ended up having to get saved at 2am from the blackness of the forest by search and rescue! Luis, my hero, in waiting. Several months later, my birthday, Luis drops his shoe in a river during the first 100 meters of what was supposed to be a 5 mile uphill hike in Big Sur. Low and behold we had a fabulous time hiking downward instead and spending the day with the entire beach to ourselves!

Throw in a lot of love and fast forward another year…We move in together and decide whose furniture stays and whose furniture goes (Guess what? We have 2 dressers).

Julia & Luis all dressed up, summer 2011

Luis & Julia at yet another wedding, summer 2011

Engagement!

Skip to the present: Just over a week ago, for my birthday, Luis suggested that we take the day off and go to the beach. I agreed. But then I found out about an interesting talk that I wanted to attend, so I signed Tracy and I up for the workshop on startup finance. Luis, all the while playing it cool, told me that would be fine and that we would still have half the day together with plenty of time at the beach. After the workshop, I met Luis at Stanford for lunch before we were to head off. I felt kind of tired at the time and the weather looked potentially bad, so I almost proposed that we just go home instead. But, seemingly never fazed, Luis pointed out that it was my birthday and that we should do something special, so we stuck with the plan.

We drove through the green hills westward to Half Moon Bay, then north a very precise number of miles along the coast to Luis’ favorite “secret” beach. We left our cell phones in the car and bundled up to enjoy the afternoon on the beach (the northern CA coast is nothing like southern CA). We got down to the beach, laid out our blanket and relaxed. It was so nice and lovely (honestly, how often do they predict the weather correctly?) that I really wanted to take a nap. But when I told this to Luis, he asked if I first wanted my presents. He knows me pretty well. “YES!” I replied with enthusiasm. He hands me a carefully wrapped present, which I open to find a jewelry box (too large to hold a ring) and a beautiful diamond necklace. It’s gorgeous. The necklace’s box was larger than a ring box, but small, with the jewelers’ mark on the outside.

“Did you think it was going to be a ring?” he asks.

“No. You wouldn’t have me open my own ring box!” I laugh and reply in a know-it-all fashion.

Then he takes out another box, opens it and inside is a stunning ring! He says “I got you the necklace because I love you, and I got you this because I want to spend my life with you.” Awh. He then say some wonderful things (which we’ll keep private, but some of which I didn’t even remember because I’m so surprised and can’t believe we are getting engaged!) and at some point he asks me to marry him. I say yes and put the ring on and feel so happy that we will be spending the rest of our lives together! It was the best birthday I ever had, with my best friend who is now my fiancé.

Julia's engagement ring

My stunning engagement ring (yes, I promise that is indeed my hand!)

…and now, wedding planning.

So here I am, working at a wedding startup and now (or soon) planning a wedding. We’ve only been engaged for a little over a week and I have so many things I would love to share with you, readers. (For example, did you know that you have to get special insurance for jewelry because it isn’t completely covered by renters’ insurance? This also applies to furs, instruments, guns and antiques, by the way, although luckily — or unluckily — our engagement didn’t involve any of those other things.) So please stay tuned for more of our wedding planning adventures!

Posted on by julia.

  • Claudia Bernal Walkup

    Luis,
    Congratulations on your engagement! I read the blog post and the story of your relationship sounds wonderful! Congratulations on all of your academic accomplishments, best wishes on your engagement and happy wedding planning!
    Claudia

  • Erica J.

    Fantastic post! I look forward to hearing more about your experiences planning your wedding!

  • Christy Wishon

    Congratulations Luis and Julia!

    Donovan shared this with me and it is very sweet! Wishing you all the best, and I hope Julia likes the 49ers! =)

  • http://www.mgdezigns.com/weddings MGdezigns

    awww Congratulations Luis and Julia wish you lots of happiness always forever :)
    Happy wedding planning
    and
    much love
    Maria

  • http://www.bacidesigner.com amanda @ baci

    YAY!!! Congratulations, Julia – how will you ever choose from all these great wedding vendors :o)

  • http://www.joshgruetzmacher.com Josh Gruetzmacher

    Such a great story! I love how Luis pulled that necklace/ring combo move. Well played. Congratulations!!!

  • Eva

    Ha, love the ending of the post :)