Melody and Marcus

Melody and Marcus's Engagement in Coronado (San Diego)

How We Met

Marcus and I met at SDSU in 2012. I was an out of towner and he was a native to San Diego. We met through this on-campus ministry called 1825, which at the time, Marcus’s best friend was hosting. In this season, I was not particularly interested in dating anyone as I was solely focused on being a “content single woman” as most girls like to say. However, we became friends instantly and even though I was oblivious to it, he started pursuing me like every woman should be pursued. All his friends knew he liked me and so did all of my friends, but I was determined to stay single. We did everything together…gym, homework, life events, you name it. People start wondering why we spent so much time together but never dated.

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He jokes all the time that I put him through “hell” for two years, but looking back on it, I saw this time as us being friends so crucial to our relationship. He was the first guy that I felt I could fully be myself in front of. I could finally take my mask off and stop pretending to be someone I wasn’t. He made me see the worth that I could never see in myself. Over Christmas break in 2013, while he was in Atlanta, we talked all day and night and I started to realize everything was lining up. There was something in my heart that was telling me to give him a chance. January 13th, 2014 we entered a relationship and well…the rest is history.

Where to Propose in Coronado (San Diego)

How He Asked

Well, to give a little back story, one of our first and one of my personally favorite dates with Marcus is when he surprised me and took me to Coronado to rent beach bikes. We rode around the whole island which, if you’re not from San Diego, isn’t a very big island but it’s so beautiful! We stopped at the farmer’s market where he bought me flowers (featured in the basket) and we happened to see our friends over at the beach who snapped our photo (see above). I love Coronado and whenever he would ask me what my favorite date was with him, this one always topped all the other ones (which were also really great)! It not only has sentimental value (because we had just started dating) but it was just the perfect sunny day. I mean, who doesn’t love San Diego sunshine? Fast forward to the week of May 20th, 2016. Let’s just start by saying that had I not been one of the most gullible and oblivious girls on this planet, I don’t know if Marcus could have pulled off this proposal.

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At the beginning of the week, my friend Grace (and now bridesmaid) asked if I wanted to go get my nails done. She told me her cousin had given her a gift card to a nail salon as a “thank you” for hosting her bachelorette party the weekend before. (this was a lie…Marcus gave her the gift card so that she could secretly get me to get my nails done). But of course, I believed her and even thought to myself, “wow, how nice of her to want to spend her gift card on me!” After expressing to her that I didn’t want to intrude on her nail salon date with her sister, she insisted that I come. And let me just say, I’m horrible at keeping my nails done. I have no patience for it. Every time I paint my nails or get them done, I smudge them somehow or another! It’s kind of a lost cause. My point is, I had no idea that this was all apart of the grand proposal and I’m so thankful Marcus included this as small detail.

A couple days later, I go to hang out with my friend Dalia. She comes back to my house afterwards but I tell her that I need to leave for work. Evidently, “her ride wasn’t there to pick her up yet”, but I needed to leave to work so that I wouldn’t be late. So I tell her that she can wait inside my house so she can be safe until her ride gets there and to just lock the door when she leaves. Little did I know that she had made this story up too! She did have a ride, but the reason she wanted me to leave is so that she stay at my house and let Marcus into my bedroom where he snuck two white dresses in my closet that he planned to let me choose from on the day of the proposal. Finally, the morning of May 20th, 2016. It was just an ordinary day like every other day. Marcus texts me in the morning that we have dinner reservations at 7. This was not weird to me because we often have date nights on Friday and being that San Diego is packed on a Friday night, reservations are usually necessary.

I was feeling good! I had my nails done, my eyebrows were done and I had just washed my makeup brushes! The situation could have not gone any better and that’s when he texted me “there’s two dresses hidden in your closet, pick which one you want to wear tonight for dinner.” I quickly rush over to my closet and pull out the dresses as I gasp in excitement. There were two beautiful white dresses hidden in the corner of my closet. How I didn’t notice them the whole week? Don’t ask. One of them was lace, long sleeved, vintage looking and the other was a body con dress, off the shoulder and super sexy! Of course, me loving vintage, decides to wear the lace, romantic one. I quickly rush to get ready, curl my hair, put on makeup and slide on these new white Steve Madden wedges that Marcus had also bought me earlier that week. I hear the doorbell ring and quickly answer the door to my boyfriend who is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I start to ask questions right away. “Did I overdress or something?” He says “No, Melody. My clothes are in the car. Let’s just sit in the house for a while, it’s not time to go yet.”

I quickly get anxious and tell him “No, I’m super hungry, lets get there early! I’m ready to go now! We can just get appetizers while we wait for our table.” He quickly rebuttles and tells me to “settle down.” Little did I know that the reason he was stalling is because the people who were setting up the proposal were not finished yet. We finally get in the car and are on our way to “dinner.” Mind you, Marcus is still calm as feather as he drives us to our destination. Next thing I know, we are on the Coronado bridge and my stomach is growling with excitement! Side note: we hardly go to Coronado for dinner because Marcus hates bridges so I knew the restaurant he was taking me had to be super good for him to go through all this trouble.

I had saved my appetite all day for this! We finally get to the main street in Coronado and park on a residential street because Marcus says “it’ll be less crowded.” It’s a beautiful evening and I love looking at all the beautiful houses so this was no big deal for me. I quickly get out of the car and start marveling at the house I think “we will own someday.” He just laughs at me and grabs my hand as we start walking toward all the restaurants on the main street. The next few moments all happened very fast. Right before all the restaurants start there is a little park that has a gazebo in the middle of it. It’s usually lit up with Christmas lights, but this particular night it wasn’t. Instead, as we get closer, I notice that it’s lit up with candles. My heart starts to race. I start thinking that we are going to an event in the park and start looking around for more people to show up, but I couldn’t stay in denial for line as he leads me across the grass and up the starts to the middle of the gazebo where there was a dozen red roses on a table, a notebook of love letters that we exchanged to each other over the years and a red box.

Melody's Proposal in Coronado (San Diego)

I hardly remember how I reacted because I was in utter shock. He pulls out our notebook and starts reading a 3-page letter full of wonderful things about our relationship and at the end, how he wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

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I start to tear up as he gets down on one knee and slides the ring on my finger. I hear sounds of camera as I look to my left and our friend and amazing photographer Phil is taking photos of us.

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This couldn’t be happening, I felt like I was in dream… This wasn’t the end. After spending about a half an hour of our time there, he tells me that we “still have dinner reservations” to make.

I start pondering whether or not I should start calling friends and family to tell them the good news. He softly puts his hand on my hand and tells me to “just wait.” I didn’t know what this meant until we drove up to the restaurant, get out of the car and hear people cheering for us from afar.

There’s clapping, whistling, shouting and as we finally get closer I notice that all my close friends were there waiting for us, cheering us on into this next season of life.

I couldn’t believe it. Not only did he plan a romantic engagement for us, but the after-party was just over the top! All of the wonderful people there rooting us into one of the most beautiful seasons of life was one of the most epic memories of that night.

We celebrated all night with tears, laughter and cheers, and lets just say, I could not have planned for myself a better day of celebration for the best day of my life. Every girl deserves to be pursued this way. And I hope my story inspires tons of other girls to not settle for anything less. This is my story….

Special Thanks

Philip Tran
Shot our whole engagement and the after party too!