Hillary and Brett

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How We Met

Brett and I met in April 2014 at a sweet little dive bar in San Diego’s Gaslamp District, yes we really did. I was out for a girl’s night and Brett was celebrating one of his buddy’s birthdays. I went up to the bar, where Brett happened to be sitting, to order a drink. Brett looked at me, I smiled at him and in his exact words “it was love at first smile.” He asked me my name, bought my drink, and showed me his killer dance moves to Jason Derulo’s hit song “Talk Dirty to me.” I laughed and smiled the whole night, he walked me to my car, made me promise to answer his call the next day and then said goodnight. I seriously went to bed that night with butterflies dancing at 100 mph and could see my heart pounding outside my chest. The next day Brett called me and said how much he enjoyed meeting me and would love to take me out on a date. Our first date was April 25, which is the perfect date, not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket (Miss Congeniality reference). And it truly was THE perfect date, we talked and talked and I shared my heart for Mexico and orphans and Brett shared his heart for Jesus and ministry and I totally cried and he was a complete gentleman; opening doors, ordering for me, walking on the outside of the sidewalk and planning everything. I remembering thinking, this guy is brilliant and kind I want to spend more time with him, thankfully he felt the same.

How He Asked

The moment we start talking about marriage, I told Brett I want to know nothing about my proposal. I want to be utterly shocked, like grocery store, after a run, or in the middle of a hair appointment shocked. I was driving to work on the morning of November 18th, 2015 when my phone rings. I answer and Brett asked if I want to have lunch with him on my break because he will be dropping of some projects for a client in my area. I told him probably not because my break is so short and there won’t be much time and there aren’t many lunch places near my work (excuses, excuses, I know). Poor Brett kept presisting and finally got me to agree that he would bring lunch to me.

Lunch time comes, Brett was in the is car waiting for me, I get in and immediately say “Where’s the food?” I know, so embarrassing. Brett says he found a little park right up the street where we can have a picnic. In my head I’m thinking, I’m wearing white pants, it’s cold, and I only have 30 minutes. But I think it’s sweet so I agree.

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When we arrived, Brett said the potted flowers are for my classroom, I teach preschool and mentioned wanting some live plants and flowers for the kids to water and care for. So I think nothing of it. He stopped at Jimbo’s and got all my favorites, including coconut water, fresh blueberries and a Tampico dessert. We eat and walk about each other’s days. Everything seems normal, I keep looking at my watch and practically swallow my food whole making sure I’m not late to work.

Side note, I’m obsessed with a different kind of PDA (public display of affirmation), as in it totally makes me weak at the knees when Brett posts any social media pictures with a thoughtful caption, especially since he is not a social media type. When we are getting up to leave Brett says “you should check your Instagram, I posted a picture.” As usual I turned and grab my phone from my purse, I refreshed my feed only to find a picture of a ring in a box, the caption read, “Hillary Rivera will you….”

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I don’t remember the rest because I turned around to look at Brett who was down on one knee holding the same ring in his hand, with watery eyes, telling me how much he loves me and wants to serve me for the rest of his life, and asked me to be his forever. I screamed “NO WAY!” at least a dozen times even though I knew full well that that “yes” had been waiting there, just for him.

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My dear friend/mentee Halli (who is super talented) jumped out of God knows where and started snapping pictures. I laughed a lot, cried even more, and felt like I was living a fairytale. Needless to say I was definitely surprised.

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Special Thanks

Halli Aldous
Photography