Shalinee and Neil
How We Met
A little back story of how Neil and I met.. I’m originally from an island in the Caribbean called St. Maarten and Neil is from Los Angeles, California. We both attended a mutual friend’s wedding in Atlanta back in 2015. Indian weddings typically last a couple of days. And on the third day, I specifically remember my girl friends dancing on stage and I sat at the table in front of the stage cheering them on. (Neil would tell you I caught his eye on the second day) As I was sitting at the table Neil approached me and stood right next to me. Then we were all pulled onto the dance floor and we ended up dancing in the same circle of friends. Nothing happened and we did not end up dancing together, yet.
Later on that night, my girl friends and I decided to get some drinks at the bar where Neil also happened to be there, pouring the drinks for us. We all ended up having a drink together and since I’m not much of a drinker, I gave the rest of my drink to him. We ended up talking and joking with each other. At the time I was going to university in Los Angeles, which in that moment was a coincidence for the both of us since we were both living in LA. He then told me that I should follow him on Snapchat bc he doesn’t add people, which I completely denied. I told him if he wanted my contact he could add me, which he did. Later that night at the after party, we somehow ended up hanging out with each other. I went up to the DJ and asked him to play the song called, Bailando since at the time we both loved that song and “coincidentally” he wanted to request the same song. We ended up dancing the rest of the night. And yes, eventually that song was played.
When the party ended, we both headed back to our own rooms and Neil texted whether I wanted to meet him at the garden of the hotel on the 3rd floor. We ended up talking until 7am and watched the sunrise. I specifically remember thinking to myself, I hope he doesn’t try to kiss me since we had just met and he never did! We both ended up on the same flight back to LA and since then we kept in touch, which has led us to where we are now.
How He Asked
For my birthday in 2016, Neil and I decided to drive to Long Beach and head to Catalina Island for the day. It was such a gloomy day, but we decided we would make the most of it. We walked around town, rented a buggy and drove around, took pictures, had lunch, grabbed ice cream.. It turned out to be my favorite birthdays yet bc it was such a sweet and intimate birthday with just that one person that made me so happy.
A couple weeks ago, I had been bugging Neil to take a weekend off so we could go on a little getaway since we had been apart for ten months. He told me he would plan it since he wanted to surprise me for our three year anniversary. He told me that we could go away for the weekend, but that he had a work event to attend, which I would get to attend as his plus one. I was so excited since I’ve never been with him and on top of that his parents would be joining at this work event. I ended up planning my outfit with his mom since I’d never been and wanted to make sure I was dressed appropriately. (Neil even sent me an invitation to this work event) Leading up to the weekend, Neil then told me we were going back to Catalina Island to experience the summer days there. But we had to leave the island in time to make it back for the event.
Our plan was to get ready for the event and take the ferry back in order to head straight there. Neil then tells me he wanted to book a spa day for me, but his mom recommended that he book hair and makeup so I wouldn’t be stressed about having to do it in a rush. On the island, there were multiple weddings taking place so a lot of hotels and restaurants were fully booked. Neil said he wanted to take me to this beautiful hotel on the island higher up on the hill, which had a beautiful view, but was bummed that he couldn’t get lunch reservations. It’s normal for us to go around to nice places, get dressed and take cute pictures together so this was his excuse. I got my hair and makeup done thinking this was so sweet of him and his mom to plan for me yet still had no idea or thought about what was about to happen. As I got my hair and makeup done, Neil told me he would be going back to the hotel to have them call us a cab to head to Mt. Ada.
Once I was done, we took the cab and walked into Mt. Ada. I started walking around the hotel thinking how beautiful the view was. He then walked me down a few flights of stairs and at the bottom the floor was covered with rose petals. Still had no idea bc there were so many weddings happening on the island. I remember specifically saying, “baby look! There was a wedding here!”
He then tells me to read four hearts that were hung up with song lyrics on it, my favorite song of all time, Ain’t no mountain high enough. By the time I started reading the second heart I realized it was my song. I happen to turn my head to see my best friend and Neil’s brother hiding in the corner recording us and at that very moment I knew, and lost it. I was then filled with so many happy emotions. He turned a wheel around, which read “Wheel you marry me?” One of our inside jokes that we say to each other is “I wheelie love you”. I then turned around again to see if this was really happening and turned back to Neil. He was on his knee and told me, “I love you so much and I want to spend a lifetime with you, will you marry me?”
Filled with emotions and crying happy tears, I shook my head yes as I couldn’t even speak.
After he proposed I asked if we still had this work event to attend, which he said we did. We took pictures for about an hour before heading back to the ferry. On our way back to the ferry in the buggy, Neil points to a helicopter saying we were taking that back to our car. I did not believe him as he already planned so much and had already surprised me with this perfect proposal and my beautiful ring. He was serious and we ended up taking the helicopter back.
Once we got back we both called our parents, which I then realized they all knew. Everyone played it off as though we really had this work event to attend to. We begin to head out towards Santa Monica where we were then asked what we were there for. Neil replied saying, “we’re here for the corporate event.” The lady walks us up to two sliding doors, which were then opened and to my surprise both our family and close friends were there to celebrate with us. Neil reached out to one of my other best friends who also flew in from New York to be there for us. So once again I was filled with so many happy emotions and again crying my eyes out. By the end of the night my hands were shaking as I’m not good with surprises, but my heart was filled with so much love and happiness I have never felt before in my life. July 28, 2018 I said yes to forever with my best friend and I couldn’t be happier.