Aleena and Neil

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How We Met

I met my now fiancé during the summer of 2012. Our relationship was always long-distance and although this was difficult, it forced us to communicate more. We had to develop a closer bond because we could not simply get away with the physical part of a relationship. He lives in San Jose and I live in Los Angeles. I fell in love with my fiancé the moment I met him and he immediately fell in love with me in spite of my initial awkwardness. As cliche as it sounds, it truly was love at first sight; but in our love story it was love at first handshake-hug (more on this later).

My family decided to go to the Bay Area for the weekend to spend some time with our long-time family friends (who happened to be related to him). I knew that there was a possibility that I would see him, because he always made appearances with them on social networks. I should note beforehand that he did follow me on virtually every social network, so I had a hunch he was interested in me. My family went over to his aunt’s house and I spent some time with his first cousins. When Neil saw a photo I posted on Instagram, with his three-year-old baby cousin at his aunts house, he knew that it was finally time to meet me!

He contacted his cousin Natalie and told her he wanted to meet me that night. The two of them secretly made a plan to go to Santana Row (a cute little outdoor area in San Jose full of shops and restaurants). Natalie then contacted me and told me that we were going to have a girls night out at Santana Row. Suddenly, in our car-ride she called him and told him that she was going to Santana Row, and that he and his friends should join us. At that point, I knew that I was going to see him. We were a fairly large group of five girls and three guys. We got there first and waited for the guys to meet us.

Then, I saw him and was instantly met with the notorious “butterfly-in-stomach” feeling. When it was my turn to meet him, his gentleman ways took over and he put his hand out to shake mine. However, my quirkiness took over and I frantically went in for a hug. He was taken a back and teased me saying “oh, I guess we’re hugging already.” I was absolutely mortified and felt my face turn bright red. He accepted my hug and did so grinning ear-to-ear. Although I was embarrassed and trying to keep my cool, I felt a connection with him that I have never felt before with anyone. He asked for my number and we have never missed a day of conversation since.

My life changed the minute I met him and my life continues to change with him by my side. Long distance relationships are tough, but you know the love is real. The difficulty is worth it in the end. Although I went into my relationship knowing we would be apart, I had no idea that we would grow to become so intimately close. Our long distance relationship taught us how to be communicative and intimate even though we were far apart.

There was an instant connection from day one, and throughout these past four years we have grown so much together. We have been through the good, bad, exciting and stressful moments together. We have been each other’s primary support system. We have spent hours on end FaceTiming. We have planned countless trips and anxiously waited to be reunited after spending time apart! We have gotten infinitely closer and will only continue to get closer as our lives move on.

I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have him. When you know a relationship is real–and a love is pure love–no amount of distance can get in the way.

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How He Asked

We were two nineteen-year-olds falling in love four years ago. Four years later, the love of my life asked me to marry him just shortly after graduating (literally, he was still in his cap, gown and honor medals).

We have always talked about our future and revel in planning every single detail out–how we will get married, where we will live, what our lives will be like after, and so on. He asked me to walk with him to the business school of his university, since that is where he has spent most of his time over the last four years. You see, our relationship and his college career started at the same time. As difficult as being in a long distance relationship was, supporting his academics was far more challenging. I was there with him every step of the way during his college career. He majored in Accounting and graduated first in his class, so it has been a very challenging four years! All the hardships, hurdles and stressful moments were faced together. He did the hard work and I was his support system.

He achieved two major life accomplishments at once–graduating at the top of his class and proposing to his long-time girlfriend. I still love the way he efficiently packaged both events into one major event.

On to the details:

On May 27, 2016, I was asked the most important question of my life. We would always talk about getting engaged so I knew the time was near, I just did not expect it to be right after he graduated! After he walked on stage, he called me and told me to go outside so we could meet for a picture. I was unsure what was going on because the ceremony had not ended yet. As soon as I saw him, I gave him a big hug and kiss! He told me that it was urgent and we began walking through the campus. We wistfully reflected on the last four years and all of the troubling moments that now seemed so small.

He then walked me to the business school, got on one knee and popped the question.

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Feeling shocked, I could not believe that it was finally happening! The feelings were surreal. I began crying and holding on to my cross, feeling as if I were immersed in a dream. However, this was our beautiful reality. The person who I have grown so much with, and feel so at one with, asked for my hand in marriage. He is my best friend, my soul mate and the love of my life. It was a dream come true for the both of us.

I exclaimed “yes!” He put the ring on my finger, we shared a kiss, hugged, and I cried on his shoulders. It was perfect.

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Special Thanks

Tony Phan | 
Wedding Photography