Simona and Ward

Simona's Proposal in Polignano A Mare, Italy

How We Met

We met back when I was only 19 and Ward was 25. I had just started working at the Canadian Consulate and he was finishing up his last month there. I sat behind a bullet proof glass and the first time Ward and I saw each other, Ward placed his hand on the glass to say hello and slid a piece of gum to me through the security slot.

One of my closest friends worked there too and was the reason I got the job in the first place. Juliana was also good friends with Ward by then. Behind the scenes, Juliana was having conversations with both of us separately about the crushes we had on eachother. Ward told her how pretty he thought I was, and how much he liked “halfies” (half Mexican, half Italian, for example) and I told her how handsome and funny Ward was. During our weekly spin classes, Juliana would tell me, “pretend that Ward is at the top of the hill and you have to get to him”!

The World Cup was happening that summer and though Ward thinks this happened in reverse, I emailed him and asked who he was rooting for during one of the Mexico games. This then started an ongoing emailing conversation between us.

On Ward’s last day of work, a bunch of us coworkers went to a friend’s house for a BBQ. Afterward, Juliana dropped me and Ward off at a bar on Market street. I was hesitant, since I was only 19 (sorry, Mom!) but Ward and I hit it off and at the end of the night, he asked me to go on a date with him to see Toy Story 3.

During our first date we had plenty of blunders. Ward cut his finger on the bus and was bleeding all over when we first hugged and I awkwardly fumbled when ordering drinks. We saw the movie, ate dinner and walked 2.4 miles all in one night until the very end when Ward uttered his famous line , “I’m going to do something now… I don’t know if you’re going to like it” and swooped in for the kiss.

Simona and Ward's Engagement in Polignano A Mare, Italy

How He Asked

In July of 2017, Ward and I took a trip to Italy to visit my family in Rome. We took a weekend trip while there to visit some southern beach towns and to celebrate our 7 year anniversary.

On our actual anniversary, July 10th, Ward kept asking me to swim to these caves we had seen during a tour but they were at least 1.5 miles away and I didn’t want to leave my spot on the beach. That night, we went to a really fancy seafood restaurant. We couldn’t get a spot on the outside balcony overlooking the ocean so we sat inside. It was delicious but no proposal happened and I thought that maybe it wasn’t going to happen on this trip after all. The next day, Ward kept asking to take me to these caves. I finally said yes with the condition that I could ride on his back if I got tired.

As we approached a cave we had seen on our tour called the Cathedral Cave, Ward said, “oh no there are tourists in there today”. I didn’t know why that mattered and kept swimming. The tourists left as we entered the cave and Ward and I perched ourselves on this rock formation in the middle of the cave. That’s when I started to think, OMG is this the moment? As I was somewhat panicking (in a good way), Ward started fumbling in his pocket. He had this huge grin on his face and said, “I’m going to do something now…” and pulled out the ring! He had had the ring in his swim trunks for two days hoping for the right moment to pop the question!

I put it on my finger so fast – we were in open water after all and said “are you friggin kidding?!” and he asked if I’d marry him. Obviously, I said YES!

The swim back to the beach was a little more difficult because I refused to release my left hand from a fist position because I didn’t want to lose the ring in the ocean.

What made our engagement all the more special is that we are both surfers and both grew up near the ocean so getting engaged IN the water was magical.

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Special Thanks

The Lees Photography
Photographer