Leah and Carlos

How we met

I remember exactly where I was when I spotted Carlos on a dating website. I was sitting on the couch in my East Village apartment – I had recently taken a break from the whole dating app thing, but that night I was bored and something told me to log back on.

Carlos immediately caught my eye as he landed on my homepage, so I decided to click on his profile. I found myself giggling out loud as I read how he described himself and answered the [ridiculous] questions. My favorite part was his story about Bill Murray randomly walking by him and taking a sip of his Coca-Cola (which I’ve since learned was an entirely made-up story). By the end of it, I decided to shoot him a short and sweet note, something along the lines of: Hey! Welcome to NYC – what brought you here??

After a couple messages back and forth on the dating site, we swapped numbers, immediately began texting and then set up a date a few days later. I had suggested we meet at Ace Bar, one of my favorite spots in NYC because they have games galore – skee ball, darts, video games, pool, everything. With my suggestion, I challenged him to a game of darts, bragging about how good of a shot I was… (I quickly found out, however, that he’d been on many dart leagues in his lifetime, and that I had nothing on him).

On the day of the date we’d planned – June 3, 2014 – I’d spent the morning on Long Island visiting with my family. I hurried home that evening to get ready for my first date with Carlos, and I distinctly remember face-timing my friend Erica, expressing how excited I was to meet this guy and making sure my outfit for the night was cute enough. As I left the apartment, I remained on the phone with her and when I got to the bar a few minutes early, she encouraged me to go in and order myself a drink because it would ‘make me look cool and independent’ – LOL. Taking her advice, I walked in, went to the bar and ordered myself a Duval.

Moments later, with my ‘independent woman’ beer in hand, I turned around and locked eyes with a very tall and handsome man who turned out to be the man I was waiting for! We said our initial hellos, he ordered his own beer and then he suggested we grab a seat and get all of the traditional awkward-yet-necessary questions out of the way – where are you from, what do you do, what’s your family like, and so on. I loved that he was so straight to the point, kicking off our date with the game of 20 questions, allowing us to get to know each other and get more comfortable in the other’s presence with each question.

After that, it was time for that dart game I’d challenged him on. He showed off his skills and I…. not so much. Regardless, the night was full of game playing and fun banter, and at the end of the night, he walked me home and kissed me goodnight! It was late but our texts continued throughout the night into the early morning, both of us giddy about the night we had together. We continued to see each other almost every day for the following weeks and the rest is history!

How He Asked

It started off just like any other Saturday. My friend Brent was in town for Art Basel, so we went to the pool to soak in the December sun and then planned to meet back up at 5pm for a ‘work event’ he had along South Pointe. In my head, it worked out perfectly because my friend Chelsea had ‘won’ two manicures and the only appointment she could get us was for 3pm! Since the salon was right around the corner from this ‘work event,’ I got dressed for the ‘event’ and headed down to the nail salon later in the afternoon.

After we got our nails done, Chelsea grabbed her dog (my favorite non-human in the world) and she walked with me towards the event. I remember telling her that I was having a perfect day. Little did I know it was just the start…

We were near the restaurant where the event was being held, but were a bit early, so she suggested we keep walking together so her pup could keep playing.

As we continued walking, I noticed two of my close friends, Lindsay and Cory, holding a big pink balloon. They’re pregnant and had just passed their first trimester, so I thought for sure they were doing a gender reveal!! I ran up to them so excited and screaming, ‘Are you having a girl?!?!’

They both had sly smiles on their faces and as Lindsay handed me a note, she said ‘No, we’re here for a different occasion…’

As I unfolded the note, I saw Carlos’ handwriting and I immediately threw my head back and screamed, ‘Is this happening right now?!’ At that moment, I noticed a photographer and the smiles on my two friend’s faces, and I knew what was about to come.

The love note from Carlos instructed me to continue walking forward to the next pink balloon, and so I went on my way.

I started walking and not knowing who could be next, I finally saw it was my [soon-to-be] sister-in-law! She handed me another love note, and told me how happy her family was to now have me in the family. We cried and hugged, and then she pointed me in the direction to the next balloon.

At that point, I remember talking to myself and telling myself to try to take in the moment of what was happening. I tried to re-read the notes he’d written, but the truth is, my brain was too overwhelmed to make sense of anything, so I just kept walking.

As soon as I saw the next balloon, I knew immediately it was Stacy, my best friend who flew in from St. Louis!! She handed me the third love note and we both cried and hugged, and were giddy with excitement.

She grabbed my purse (so it wouldn’t ruin the pictures… great friend) as she sent me on my way to the final balloon.

To my surprise, my mom was holding the last balloon! With the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on her face, she handed me the final love note, gave me a huge hug and hustled me in the direction of where Carlos was standing.

At that moment, I caught eyes with Carlos across the path where he was standing with a huge smile, waiting for me. I couldn’t walk. I had to run.

As I was running, we both started to cry and when I finally got to him, I jumped into his arms and he gave me a big kiss.

He put me down and immediately got on one knee. After a few sweet words, he opened the ring box and asked me to marry him. The feeling was indescribable and without hesitation, I threw my head back again and screamed, ‘Yes!!’

The night turned into a big celebration with all of our friends and family and since then, we’ve been on cloud nine.

Special Thanks

Daniel Lateulade