Frances and Reggie

How We Met: Reggie and I first met in 2002 of sophomore year in high school. We met during a football game, while at that time, he was dating a mutual friend. Over time, we began to build a friendship where we confided in each other with just about anything. From giving each other dating advice, being each other’s wingman, and helping each other with our studies.

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After high school, Reggie started college at San Francisco State University while I stayed behind attending community college in our hometown, Pittsburg, CA. Despite our busy schedules, we managed to reserve Friday nights as our hang-out nights with our mutual friends, which helped us build a stronger friendship.

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Fast forward to about 2 years into college, when a relationship I was in ended, I found myself spending more time with Reggie. Little did I know that summer of 2007, I started developing feelings for my best friend.

We both finally admitted the feelings that we had for each other and decided to take our friendship to the next level.

Our first date took place 8 years ago on July 14, 2007 at Red Lobster in Pittsburg, CA. My sister asked me to have Reggie pick me up at her house.

As if it weren’t awkward and nerve-wracking enough, my sister took pictures of us. She even took a solo picture of me and printed it out and gave it to Reggie (you can see him holding my solo pic below).

After months of dating, on December 24, 2007, Reggie finally asked me to be his girlfriend! In Fall 2012, while Reggie was finishing his degree at UC Berkeley and I was transferring to San Francisco State University, we decided to move in together. We now reside in San Francisco, CA.

How He Asked: On our 7.5 year anniversary (yes, we celebrate half anniversaries) on June 24, 2015, Reggie took me to Napa Valley. Week’s prior to our anniversary, Reggie asked me to take time off from work so that we could celebrate our special day.

He also suggested for me to buy a new dress. He helped me choose the white laced dress (the one in our photos below) to wear. I didn’t think much of it, because we usually celebrate our half anniversaries and we enjoy dressing up for special occasions.

The day we were headed to Napa, I was feeling anxious, because he never told me where we were going and he knows I hate surprises. I figured out we were headed to Napa when we hit Highway 29.

On the way there, he seemed a little antsy and kept checking the time more than usual and he gave off a weird vibe. I texted my sister saying, “Reggie is acting weird, OMG I think he is gonna propose!” My sister replied with, “Oh my.” I thought that was a little odd, because she barely reacted…After we checked into our hotel, we headed to Cosentino Winery where Reggie made reservations for us to go wine tasting. After a few glasses of wine and conversation with the host, realizing we had no lunch, Reggie and I were feeling a little buzzed.

When the tasting came to an end, the host asked us if we have ever been on a vineyard tour. I replied so excitedly to the host, “No… but can YOU give us one?!” The host said, “We normally don’t do this, but I can go ahead and give you a private tour.” The host walked us to the vineyard and directed us to follow a designated path. At that moment I was pretty confused and asked why he wasn’t coming with us? He just said, “I will see you two back inside.”

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Walking through the vineyard, we turned a corner and there I saw a table set up for two; the table had two champagne glasses, a bouquet of roses, and chocolates.

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I instantly started bawling. I realized at that moment he was going to propose. Reggie suddenly started shaking and we both walked over to the table. Being so nervous, I started giggling all the while bawling my eyes out. Reggie kept asking if I was ok and I just kept saying no… I was too nervous and buzzed to keep it together.

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Reggie pulled me close to him and said, “So we’ve known each other for over 10 years and we’ve come a long way. We were friends, we became best friends, and now we are lovers. I am extremely grateful that I have you in my life and words cannot express how much I love you. I am extremely lucky because I get to wake up everyday and I get to fall in love with my best friend.

On this special day, on June 24, the day of our 7.5 year anniversary, on the year of Nanay’s 70th year wedding anniversary, I want to ask you not only to be my friend, my best friend, or my lover, but my soulmate….’He then got down on one knee and asked, ‘Frances Viray Castillo, Will you marry me?”

Wiping my tears with the biggest smile on my face, I said YES!

The next few moments were such a blur… A friend of ours who is a photographer was hiding in the bushes capturing the whole thing!!

After sharing the news with our close family and friends (Who ALL of them already knew months prior to) via phone, FaceTime, and text… The photographer proceeded to take more pictures of us around the winery and we are in love with all of them!!! I’ve shared a few below:

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We celebrated our engagement that night with dinner and MORE wine at Auberge du Soleil where I took my first closeup shot of the ring with a beautiful back drop of Napa Valley (this restaurant is known as one of the best in Napa and both Reggie and I have to agree)…

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Later that night we headed back to our hotel room and Reggie had it decorated with rose petals everywhere:

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The following day we continued to celebrate our love and went wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa (The Castle of Love) and V. Sattui Winery. We of course took a photo in front of the “Welcome to Napa Valley” sign:

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Falling in love with my best friend is still such a fairytale that I cannot believe is happening to me. I feel like the luckiest and blessed girl in the whole world! Going back to the beginning, we started dating the day of my late grandma’s (Nanay) 80th birthday (December 24, 2007) and we believe that somehow she brought us together. Not only is she my Guardian Angel in Heaven, but I also believe that she has brought me to Reggie, my angel here on Earth. As Reggie and I like to say, from now until infinity, I will always love you. <3 I cannot wait to begin our happily ever after…

Photos by: Dorean Raye