Elaine and Raymond

Raymond and I met in high school. We were 14 years old when we met and had always sat next to each other in class because my last name starts with a “T” and his with an “S”. He first initiated conversation by saying that he had a teacher with the last name Traches and even though my aunt was a teacher, I was still skeptical. He proved me wrong by bringing in a photo of him and my aunt; sure enough she was his teacher. Little did I know, this was the first conversation I had with the man I was going to marry. Shortly after, we began dating and were known around my school as an official couple. High school was where my official fairytale began. We slowly became more and more serious and when we graduated high school and our lives were starting to form, we were practically inseparable.

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How he asked: The best day of my life started like any other normal day. My sister Samantha had told me earlier in the week that Jessica Simpson was hosting a signing and an impromptu fashion show and that she had gotten an extra ticket. Little did I know, my sister and Ray were planning a secret proposal. The weather that day was perfect, sunny with breeze and summer was coming to an end. When we arrived at the Ritz-Carlton, the crimson sun was setting over the Pacific Ocean. We pulled up, the valet took our car, and we were met by the hotel guest relations supervisor who wasphoto(1) in on the ruse the whole time. He escorted us to the “Jessica Simpson fashion show”, I still thought was taking place. As he led us through the grandest lobby I have ever laid eyes on, I imagined how perfect it would be to get married at a place like the Ritz.

We made our way through the French doors that led to the patio that is located on a cliff overlooking the beautiful Laguna shore line. As we rounded the corner, I could not believe my eyes. In the distance, I saw my version of Prince Charming standing tall and proud with the sunset behind him. Live music filled the air and it became clear in that moment, I was getting proposed to. I nervously began to walk towards him as I was guided by a path of rose petals and with every step I became more excited, realizing all my dreams were about to come true. This proposal was going to compete with even the best of fairy tales.

I was finally within arms length of him when he said, “we’ve been together for 11 years and I have never been happier”. He also accredited me with helping him to become the man he is today, saying that without my positive influence he would not know where he would be. Then the moment happened. He got down on one knee and held in his hand a small Cinderella carriage box, I looked at my Prince Charming as he said the words “Elaine, will you marry me?”.

Emotions stronger than anything I had felt before washed over me and it seemed like “Yes” did not do justice to how sure I was that I wanted to marry this man. The rest of the day was just as perfect as the beginning. The Ritz-Carlton staff had been notified of the engagement prior to the proposal and were calling me “Mrs. Saucedo”.

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They greeted us with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries followed by the news that we had dinner reservations. I looked over to see the glimmering ocean as the sun was in its final minutes of setting and realized that this day was the beginning of the rest of my life.

Dinner was flawless from the champagne to the main courses, no one does post-proposal dinners like the Ritz Carlton. Raymond and I sat at the table and laughed and joked with each other, basking in the happiness of spending the rest of our lives together. The night concluded with being led to our room at the Ritz-Carlton. It was like surprise after surprise! My sister had packed me a weekend getaway bag. Our suite was decorated with flowers everywhere, this was my first night as a bride to be. The next morning I was woken up by the sounds of the waves crashing and the gentle sun peeking through the drapes and it finally had sunken in that I would be headed down the aisle in a few months to marry the man of my dreams. At that moment I had realized what “a dream is a wish your heart makes” had meant. I was dreaming about this day for so long and it was finally here. Ray and I laid in bed that morning enjoying the peaceful sounds of the ocean. We then put on our white robes and ordered room service and ate our first breakfast as an engaged couple together on the balcony with the most gorgeous view. Later that day our friends and family met us at the rooftop bar of the Ritz-Carlton to congratulate us on our engagement. I guess I didn’t know when I was 14 that serendipity was taking place, but I know now and now the wedding of my dreams with the man I love is just around the corner.

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