Gina and Alex

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how We Met

Alex and I had always been great friends. Although we had been to numerous date events together, I was too afraid to jeopardize our friendship and become more. I look back at those years and realize that it was always him. And, I can remember exactly when I figured that out.

February 2012: Senior year of college, I took my car to the mechanic – I needed a ride back to campus, but all my girlfriends were busy. I was stranded and didn’t know what to do. I called Alex. It was below freezing, he had a broken foot and his car was parked a half mile from his apartment – but, he didn’t hesitate for a second and came to get me.

As we drove back to campus, I looked at Alex, my friend, in awe as I had finally recognized that he was the love of my life.

How He Asked

What started out as a family Christmas card photo shoot ended up being the best day of my life. Unbeknownst to me, Alex had been working with my parents and asked them to stage a Christmas card photo shoot at my lake house – it was the perfect plan to get me dressed up and to have a professional photographer there to capture the moment. So, a few weeks ago when my mom suggested that we take our Christmas photos at the lake, I said “yes” and didn’t think twice.

In Elkhart, Indiana, on the morning of November 6, 2016, I got ready for the photo shoot with my parents and Angela. By afternoon, the photographer had arrived at our lake house and we all went down by the water to take our photos. We brought our portable speaker with us, so we could listen to music during the shoot.

We had been taking photos for 15 minutes when the rock music changed and Bruno Mars “Marry You” began to fill the air. Before I could even comprehend what was happening, Alex suddenly appeared from behind the house and was walking towards me sharply dressed, carrying a bouquet of roses, with his entire family behind him. I immediately realized what was happening and could not control my emotions. Through the screaming and the tears, I saw the one-of-a-kind ring he designed, which was beyond anything I could have imagined, and heard Alex ask, “Gina Chinino, will you marry me?”

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