Dianne and RJ

Where to Propose in New York City - Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

How We Met

When I was 23, I moved back to my parents’ house in NJ after working and living by myself in PA for about a year. The car I was driving at the time was about as old as I was, and it needed constant servicing. Lucky for me, my dad was friends with a mechanic who was the manager of a local shop. We had gone there for a few things here and there, and a couple times I saw this cute young gentleman working there. We made eye contact once or twice, but never really thought anything of it. I was a state away, so even if I had pursued anything, the distance wasn’t worth it (as I learned from my previous relationship). In 2012, I had become so homesick and I wasn’t even happy with my job. I decided to move back home, and I’m so lucky that I did. In October of that year, a few months after living back in NJ, the left signal blinker of my car decided it didn’t want to work anymore. So, I went to that local shop to get it fixed, and I saw *him* again. This time, I was REALLY attracted to him. As he fixed my light, he was also joking around with me. “Is he flirting with me?” I thought to myself. I mean, I was in an old T-shirt and Soffe shorts… I wouldn’t exactly call that sexy.

But I went with it, not that I was hating it. He went from dancing the “Gangnam Style” and singing “Danza Kuduro.” Little did I know, it generally only takes a few minutes to fix a signal light, but here he was, taking his sweet time. Approximately 45 minutes passed and I found myself laughing at his cheesy jokes and admiring his cute smile. Finally, he was finished, and I asked how much I owed him. He went to the back, and I was thinking he was writing up a bill. Instead, he came back with nothing, and I asked again, “How much do I owe you? Where’s the bill?” He smiled, and said to me, “How about I give you my number instead and we can talk about it?” Blushing, I take down his number in my cell phone. Like the giddy little girl I am, I texted him that night saying, “Car mechanic’s got game, huh?” From then, we texted a little bit, but not much came about it. A few weeks passed and I didn’t hear anything else from him. I figured he was just playing hard to get, but I didn’t play that way. I asked my co-workers what I should do and they told me to contact him because “boys are just like that.” I was frustrated, but again i decided to make the first move.

I texted him to ask if he was ignoring me, but he responded that work had been extremely busy for him, but we did decide to meet up one day. He ended up taking me to a local Malaysian restaurant and then to the movie theater to see “Perks of Being a Wallflower.” We had a really great night, and went on a few more dates in November. On December 2nd, 2012, RJ replaced my car radio with an updated, newer one (with a CD player instead of a cassette player). It was late at night, and he took me to his shop so I could watch him do it. It didn’t take him long that time =P – so we went back to my house and hung out there for a while, and he said, “Let’s go for a drive,” I guess to test out the new radio system. We drove around for a while and then parked. I could tell he was a little nervous to say what he wanted to, but finally he said, “I gave you this radio to commemorate us being friends. So now, will you be my girlfriend?” Again with his cheesy jokes, but… …I think you can all guess what I said after that =D

How He Asked

He told me to “look nice” for our four year anniversary dinner because we were going to a fancy place in the city. As a low-maintenance woman, I’ve always been somewhat reluctant to get dressed and pretty up in general, but I figured it’s a pretty big milestone in our relationship, so why not? So I managed to find one of my mom’s dresses hidden in the closet, got my nails done by a friend, and even had my little sister do my hair. I had been wondering for weeks if he would “pop the question” that night, as I had previously already picked out a ring at Zales (and I got sized, too!). The fact that we had already talked about what it would be like to be married in the future also made me wonder.

But then the week leading up to our night out, RJ told me straight up not to get my hopes up about a proposal, for he didn’t want my “night to be ruined.” After a few moments of disappointment, I thought to myself, “Okay, it’s fine, he will probably just ask after I graduate nursing school in May…” My friends were all thinking that he was going to ask me, but I had already got it out of my mind that it was going to happen that night. In all honesty, I was just excited to celebrate four years with my wonderful boyfriend, ring or no ring. So the night finally came and he arrived at my door, all dressed up in a suit and tie (and, by the way, he REFUSES to wear ties anywhere we go), ready to drive into the city.

We took a few pictures in my living room, and then we were off. We got to our destination, La Grenouille, a 5-star French cuisine restaurant located in East Village, New York City. We enjoyed our 3-course prix fixe dinner along with a nice bottle of Bordeaux, setting the mood just right in a nice, romantic atmosphere. Afterwards, we took an Uber to the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. He knew it was one of my favorite places to go during the Christmas season. I was so excited that I was even telling the driver, “It’s our anniversary! We’re going to see the tree!” When we got there, it was of course crowded. I don’t usually do well with large crowds, but I had to get in at least a few obligatory pictures near the giant iconic evergreen tree. RJ took me by the hand as we pretty much swam through hundreds of people either waiting in line for ice skating or just for a spot to take a nice picture. When he finally found a somewhat “empty” spot close to the tree, he said, “Okay, take a picture of me.”

As I was getting ready to snap a photo, I already saw him grabbing for something in his coat. Suspicious? Maybe, but before I knew it, he was already down on one knee, holding up a ring, and all of my thoughts went blank as I just heard the crowd screaming and cheering and clapping.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in New York City - Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

RJ’s mouth was moving, but I couldn’t even hear what he said. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I finally came back to myself and suddenly realized what was happening. I finally heard him ask, “So, was that a yes?” As I tried to formulate words to speak, the tears kept coming and all I could do was embrace him and kiss him. Finally, I nodded my head and said “yes, yes, yes!” It was not until the ring (that I picked out!) was on my finger that I noticed that RJ’s friend had been taking pictures of the whole thing! I heard a few familiar voices and out of nowhere showed up more of his friends! I absolutely could not stop crying, and it took a while for me to settle down and breathe and just take in everything that just happened within those couple moments. The crowd was still cheering, people in the city congratulated us, and one random guy even took a video of the proposal. As we were leaving the city, I asked him if my family knew about this, because we both knew how important that was to us.

He said, “Of course they know,” and even though it was late at night, we decided we needed to show them. In the car ride back to my house, RJ also told me that there was a surprise waiting for me at home. “There’s still more?” I thought to myself. So when we arrived at my house, he told me to close my eyes. We walked into a dark and quiet house, and I said “What are we doing here? Everyone is sleeping! Let’s just go to bed.” He walked over to the other room, and then he told me to uncover my eyes and follow him over. Much to my surprise, friends and family near and dear to my heart were in my dining room as they cheered, “Congratulations!” I couldn’t believe it – As if being proposed to wasn’t emotional enough for me, here I go with the waterworks. Once again, I had no words, but just feelings of immense gratitude and love all over. Turns out, my family and his family knew for months that he had plans of proposing to me in the near future. In fact, the ring had been hiding in my house the whole time! RJ had also reached out to some of my friends over a private Facebook event a week before this all occurred, which is how the “engagement party” happened that night. He told them to pass the information along to anyone he left out. I was extremely impressed with how well he and my friends pulled it off, whether or not they were able to make it. To this day, I cannot thank them enough for that night. When I look at pictures and reminisce about that night, I get more and more excited about our future and I am so deeply blessed to be marrying the love of my life. And boy, was I lucky that I looked nice and had my nails done! =P

Special Thanks

Dominic Borja | 
Engagement Photography