Grace and Nick

Where to Propose in Hotel Valencia @ Santana Row - San Jose, CA

How We Met

We met at church in June 2011. I was trying to get over someone I had recently dated, and my mom pushed me to go to a new church with more people closer to me in age so I could have more friends. That fateful Sunday, I saw Nick, who, unbeknownst to me at the time, was one of the church pastors’ sons. I was immediately drawn to him because 1) He was the only non-full Asian looking guy in the church (he is half Caucasian) 2) He was on crutches and 3) He looked like a young James Franco (think Spider man, not Pineapple Express), so I thought he was pretty damn hot!

My friend casually introduced us at the end of service, not knowing that I was excited to meet him and thought he was hot. Nick said hi to me in his crutches, and apparently doesn’t even remember meeting me that Sunday. That following weekend was the church summer retreat, which I went to on a whim because it seemed fun and I was free. By the power of the Holy Spirit, our pastor (not Nick’s dad, the other one) put us together in the same retreat small group for the weekend. Another couple formed from his Spirit led small group decision and also got married years later, by the way, so there was definitely some Spirit led romance going on at that retreat. For an activity, every group had to do a skit, and since no one in our group was taking any action on this, Nick took the lead and assigned everyone parts. He was taken with how I immediately volunteered to be the villain, and this is when he noticed me. Later that night, we chatted casually by the campfire, where I shared my love for babies and I don’t remember what he said. I remember thinking that he was interesting, but a little aggressive and argumentative based on our small group interactions, so I wasn’t sure what to make of that. He remembers thinking that I was cute, and had a nice butt.

After the retreat, we continued talking and flirted with each other a lot on Gchat, which was the hippest instant messaging platform back in the day. Over the summer, Nick, who’s usually very introverted, began setting up all these church events so we could hang out. I had no idea about this, and thought that’s just what he normally did. Everyone else was like, “Does Nick like someone?” Finally, after all that chatting and flirting, Nick formally asked me out on September 2, 2011. A lot has happened since, but I’ll spare you the rest of the details :)

Heres a photo of us through the years – 2012, 2014, and 2016, when we got engaged:

Grace's Proposal in Hotel Valencia @ Santana Row - San Jose, CA

How He Asked

On December 10, 2016, Nick told me to meet him at his house to drive to SF for his company holiday party. When I showed up, this was waiting for me, along with a few of our church friends. But Nick was nowhere to be seen!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Hotel Valencia @ Santana Row - San Jose, CA

Proposal Ideas Hotel Valencia @ Santana Row - San Jose, CA

Nick handmade and painted this box, which shows my hand in his. Inside was a beautiful letter about what my hands say to him and what they mean symbolically.

Grace and Nick's Engagement in Hotel Valencia @ Santana Row - San Jose, CA

Here I am reading the note and tearing up. In that note, it told me that I had more locations to go to, but they were a surprise, and that I should trust my friends to take me where I needed to go.

My next destination ended up being…*drumroll* a nail salon! Turns out my friends had booked me an appointment to get my nails done. And at the nail salon, this box was waiting for me.

Inside the box was a video message from Nick, where he talked about what my mouth and smile say to him, both literally and symbolically. He also let me know in this video that we would not be able to make it to his company party, but that he would be waiting for me at the next destination.

Inside the box was also another box. The lady doing my nails was so excited and was convinced there was a ring inside, but I knew better. I opened the box to find my favorite candy: German raspberries!

Here I am, with my beautiful ride along crew at the nail salon after my nails were done.

My next stop was a complete mystery, but my crew didn’t drive me for very long before we stopped at Hotel Valencia in Santana Row. It was raining, but my two girlfriends led me up to a hotel room, which had me very puzzled.

They asked me if I was ready…and then opened the door. Nick was waiting for me there, with music playing and asked me to dance with him. There was one last box on the bed with my eyes drawn on the lid. He shared with me that he is encouraged when he sees what my eyes focus on the most, which is my faith, and that’s how he knows that he wants to marry me, and that we will be able to remain strong in marriage. Then he asked me if I was ready to open the last box. I said yes, opened it, and saw a ring box. Before I could open it, I turned around to say something to Nick, only to find him on his knees with another ring box open and the ring inside.

“You trolled me!” I laughed. “Of course I did, honey” he said. And then he asked, “Will you marry me?” I said yes before he finished his sentence :) My friends came into the hotel room, and immediately started taking photos of us and the ring!

Special Thanks

Kimberly Hsu
Photography