Samara and Mikhaile

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How We Met

It was almost 7:00 pm on a Tuesday night in September, and I was a first-year law student sitting by myself in the law library at Columbia Law School.  I had just finished my Contracts readings for the next day, and I still had a long night of Torts and Civil Procedure readings ahead. After a few weeks of endless studying and fear of getting called on in class, I had given up on my Legally Blonde aspirations of dressing nicely for school every day.  Instead, I sat there in a green Princeton t-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and multicolored sneakers.

Then it happened. This really cute guy came over to talk to me on his way out of the library.  He was wearing a watermelon colored polo shirt, and I was instantly struck by his smile. He asked how my first semester was going, and told me he liked my outfit (the one with the holey shirt…). The conversation only lasted a couple of minutes, but I was smitten.  As soon as he left, I looked up and studied his Facebook profile and messaged my best friend online to tell her all about “my new crush,” how in love with him I was, and how I wanted to marry him.

Of course, I wasn’t actually in love that day.  But over the next several years, I would develop the most amazing friendship and relationship with someone I now consider my best friend.  Mikhaile is the most supportive, caring, thoughtful, and kind person I know, and I’m so blessed to share my life with him.  I’m also so excited that several years to the day after that first conversation in the library, we’ll exchange vows in front of our closest family and friends.

How He Asked

I knew the proposal would be coming at some point in the fall, but it was hard to guess when (and trying to keep my nails “proposal ready” was becoming an expensive habit).  About a week before Halloween 2015, one of the ladies in charge of recruiting at my law firm, emailed me and asked me to represent the firm at a recruiting event at Columbia Law School (my and Mikhaile’s alma mater) the following Friday evening.  The request wasn’t particularly unusual, but the timing (i.e., the start of my weekend) was rather inconvenient.  Still, for whatever reason, I hesitantly said yes.  That week, two other associates approached me about riding together to Columbia, and I figured it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to go alone.

When it was time to leave for the event that Friday, I really didn’t feel much like going.  I had had a pretty busy day at work, I was running late, and both of the associates who were scheduled to go with me cancelled.  Then, when I finally left the office, there were no available cabs in sight.  And to make matters worse, my Uber app wasn’t working properly.  At that point, I seriously considered bailing on the event, because I knew I was going to be very late (at least twenty minutes) and the event was only scheduled for an hour.  But I stuck it out and waited for a car…thankfully.

When I finally pulled up to the law school, I saw a saxophone player in jeans playing jazz on the corner. As I rushed into the school, I thought to myself: “This is such a strange neighborhood for that.  He’d make so much more money in Times Square or at a subway station.”  Then I heard my name.  I turned around and there was Mikhaile holding a bouquet of red roses.  As I saw him and walked over, the saxophone player began to play “Only You” by the Platters (which happens to be our song), and I realized what was happening.  Mikhaile dropped to one knee, and explained to me that the corner we were on was the first place he had ever seen me (unbeknownst to me until that very moment).  He then proposed with not one, but two stones.  The first stone was a rock I had given him to remember me when we were dating long-distance.  He told me that he didn’t need it anymore because, if I said yes, we would always be together.  The second stone was my beautiful engagement ring!  With tears in my eyes, and a crowd of strangers gathered around, I said YES!

Because he’s the most thoughtful and romantic guy ever, Mikhaile had the foresight to hire a videographer to capture the moment. After the proposal, our videographer, Jen, took us on campus for a photo shoot before the sun went down, and we left to celebrate our engagement.  I texted and called my best friends and my mom on our cab ride home to share the good news.  When I got home, I realized that most of them were actually together at my apartment, because Mikhaile had planned the most incredible surprise engagement party, and my mom, my aunt, and my best friends since high school were all there to celebrate with us!  We toasted, enjoyed a slideshow Mikhaile had put together, and had the most amazing night!

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Our Video

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Special Thanks

Jen Alvarado | 
Photography/videography