How We Met

Like most great love stories, this one begins with a piece of pizza. I first met Alex through a mutual friend one night at a pizza place in Athens, GA where we both were in school at UGA. Upon introduction, Alex immediately offered me a slice of his pizza like I was an old friend. You know when you meet someone and you’re instantly struck by the kindness in their face? – That was Alex. I also remember thinking that he was cute ( & tall!) and seemed really genuine. Plus, he was generous enough to offer up a slice of cheese and pepperoni -major brownie (err…pizza?) points. After that, we would say hi to each other in passing, but never much more than that. Fast forward to a few years later. I was living in Atlanta, and Alex had just been called up to play baseball for the Atlanta Braves.


Little did I know, but he had moved into a place less than a mile from me on the very same street! I had no idea I was passing by his building every day. So how did we reconnect? Like any other modern day romance; Instagram. Alex saw I was living in Atlanta, and asked if I wanted to get dinner with him to catch up. Although he had to ask two or three times before I said yes (lolol, sorry, babe), I finally agreed to go out with him. We spent the evening eating sushi and drinking red wine, as the conversation flowed like we had known each other forever. The first date turned into a second date, and the second date turned into a three-year relationship. And now, I don’t know how there ever existed a time where we weren’t in each other’s lives.

How He Asked

The proposal… Alex had been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and we spent the summer doing the long distance thing between ATL and LA. We were looking forward to our off-season vacation in St. Barths. I scoured many a travel blog to put together an itinerary. At the top of my list was a private beach called Colombier, which was said to be stunning, and only accessible by private boat or 45-minute hike. Alex vetoed the hike immediately (too much work for an athlete on vacay apparently), but was onboard (pun intended) for a day trip via boat. The week of our vacation arrived, and Alex let me know he had booked a sunset cruise instead of a day trip to Colombier Beach.

I was a little bit confused (read: annoyed, lol). I couldn’t figure out why he would book a sunset cruise when I really wanted to do the day trip. My confusion turned into mild suspicion (whoa, could this be it? I wondered), but Alex quickly diffused that notion with his logical explanation that the sunset cruise time simply worked better for our schedule. Made sense.

Once we made it to St.Barths, we were completely obsessed with the aqua waters, delicious food, and romantic French culture. We spent our first days relaxing on the beach while enjoying charcuterie, drinking rosé (gotta love the French) and savoring every moment. Saturday night arrived, and it was time to head to the marina. When we made it there, the captain, crew and crew dog greeted us in matching uniforms (ok, the dog didn’t have one but how cute would that have been?!). On the way to the dock, I asked Alex if we would be the only people on the cruise. Alex shrugged, and said he wasn’t sure. Then, my mouth dropped open. In front of us was a 69-foot yacht, sparkling white against the azure sea. “Is this just for us?” I asked him, stunned as I looked to see we were the only two there. Alex laughed, and said our resort must have upgraded us.

We took off across the Caribbean as the sun melted into the horizon. While we sipped champagne, I noticed one of the crew had a fancy looking camera. I hoped he would be down to take a picture of us. The ship slowed, and the crew began to anchor. Alex led me to the bow to watch the sun set. The beach where we had anchored was breathtaking, lush and green, straight out of Jurassic Park.

As we took in the view, the guy with the camera started towards us. Perfect, I thought, picture time! I turned to Alex to tell him, when I noticed how serious he looked. “I have something for you,” he said. The camera guy began snapping away (turns out he was a hired photographer, disguised in a crew uniform!). Alex placed a white envelope in my hands. “What is it?” I asked, surprised. “Open it,” he said.

I begin reading a letter in which Alex described how much he cherished our past, present, and soon to be future. I tried hard to focus on the page, as my hands trembled. I finished reading, and looked up to find Alex on one knee, holding a blue velvet box with a glittering ring inside.

“Suzanna Villarreal, will you marry me?”

He asked. When I found my voice, I said,”yes!”. I had pictured this moment many times, but it was more perfect than I could have ever imagined.

But, the surprises weren’t over. Alex went on to tell me he had planned a dinner the following weekend with our friends and family in Athens, GA, where we first met. He also told me the beach where we were anchored at was actually Colombier Beach – the very place I had wanted to go all along.

I don’t think I slept a wink that night, and looking back on it now it still feels like a dream. I am so fortunate to have this man in my life, and can’t wait to marry him later this year.