Once upon a time, there was an highly-esteemed high school athlete who, in the midst of a basketball game, spotted a 6 ft. tall blonde, rocking pink fuzzy boots, walking into the stands of Jesuit’s 6th Man (the beloved all-boys school’s fan club). You could really say it was love at first sight…of those boots! because after the game, Joe used them as the “ice breaker” to start the conversation with the darling (i.e. me), from the all-girls sister school. Maybe it was the boot compliment or the strategic play to buy her a chocolate milkshake, whatever it was, this girl started to take note, too.
This meet-cute launched the start of an ever-lasting relationship (unbeknownst to the two main characters) that started more as a friendship with a few twists and turns. After dozens of car phone calls from a mutual friend “slyly” trying to connect me with Joe, who “just so happened” to be sitting in the passenger seat while the boys were en route to practice, a misstep asking an old fling to Junior Prom, a realization that I should have actually asked Joe, a period of distance, a re-connection that was misguided at first when friends tried to set-up my best friend with Joe and Joe’s best friend with me, a switch-up when the 4 of us decided to change partners, and learning the news that college football scouts were also taking note of the said stud, a budding romance developed.
By February of Joe’s senior year, my junior year, we were on!! …and we had the best. time. ever. Our two best friends were also dating, so we spent every single weekend together, celebrating all of the highs and milestones that marked the guys’ senior year of high school. By summer, it was clear, our relationship was something special and we became inseparable. This was around the same time “The Notebook” premiered in theaters, so naturally, in my mind, this was exactly how our summer romance played out: boy worked a construction job, girl nannied, boy helped dad with housework, girl spent the days at the country club playing tennis, boy drove a truck, girl liked to sneak out and ride shotgun. Every non-working waking moment, boy and girl were together.
Just when things were getting REAL, it was time for the recruited football stud to make his way to his accepted school…3,000 miles across the country to the University of Pennsylvania. Oh NO, you were not going to take my Ryan Gosling away from me :,(. Well, I wasn’t THAT dramatic, but it was truly a heart-wrenching, defining, confusing, sad, “all the feels” time in my life and our relationship. We had a lot of serious heart-to-hearts during the few final weeks before Joe left for school and one sentiment kept recurring: “we wish we met each other 10 years later!!” Why, you wonder?! We knew we had an one-of-a-kind relationship, but there is nothing quite as daunting as thinking of lasting a 3,000 mile long-distance relationship between a collegiate freshman athlete and a high school senior, looking to make her own mark on the world. But, we figured, why not try?
This was the most challenging year of our relationship, but the second year was no walk in the park either because I was headed off to Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, creating an even greater gap in the distance. As tough as it was, there was a silver-lining that came with the distance: we grew an even stronger friendship and respect for one another because most of our relationship was spent communicating with each other over the phone. Even more so, we were able to grow into strong, independent individuals, focused on our own goals and aspirations, ultimately making us better partners and support systems for one another. We were also able to get a taste of different college experiences (with Joe’s football and my Cali/Beach living) and we both developed life-long friendships with our college roommates thanks to our main distraction (i.e. each other) being 3,000 miles away.
By Joe’s senior year of college, we were at our 5-year mark and I had made over 20 trips back-and-forth from Los Angeles to Philadelphia (due to Joe’s football schedule). It was clear, we were committed to each other. But, I had another year of school left AND I was heading to Ireland for a summer study abroad program. Despite this, Joe decided to look for jobs in Los Angeles. The weekend before I left for Ireland, I helped him move into a place down the street from LMU. The weekend before I was coming home from Ireland, Joe called sharing the company he had just joined was relocating him to San Jose…….hey, at least San Jose was in California!! Looking on the bright side, I was already used to college without Joe, so, in a way, I believe this helped preserve our relationship. Plus, Joe was easily able to attend my important events, dances, etc. that he had to miss because of football in the years prior.
Right before I graduated, Joe took another job that brought him to Newport Beach/Laguna area, while I landed my childhood dream job, working at E! Entertainment! From the moment I started, I knew I was going to pursue a career in media. We continued living separately with roommates in our respective cities, but our relationship grew stronger and stronger as the distance between us shortened. We spent the weekends going back-and-forth between Los Angeles and Orange County. After almost 8 years, 6 different cities and 1,000s of phone call hours later, we decided to move in together in a beautiful little loft in Hermosa Beach.
FINALLY, our dream of “wishing we met 10 years later” […which at this point, was almost 13 years] …“so we could spend the rest of our lives together” became a reality when Joe, my high school sweetheart, studly athlete, Ryan Gosling, man of my dreams, and best friend, proposed under the Rockefeller Plaza Christmas Tree, the day after Thanksgiving, in front of both of our families (this comes with a great story, too ). It was truly the perfect ending to the dating chapter of our relationship, and the start of a new magical one. Reflecting on all of this, makes my heart so full and giddy; I could just burst and I am very, very happy to report that these two love birds are living happily-ever-after, almost 14 years later!!!
Ceremony Venue: Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Tahoe City, CA
Wedding Reception Venue: Granlibakken Tahoe
Coordinator/Planner: Aimee Salcido, Blue Sky Events
Band: Lucky Devils Band
Florist: B&B Designs
Hair: RAH Hair Studio
Makeup: Mandy Makeup Artistry
Wedding Dress: JINZA Couture Bridal
Rehearsal Party Dress: Grace Loves Lace
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bari Jay
Jewels: Heirloom Necklace & Cocktail Ring | Earrings & Bracelet: Madison Avenue Diamonds
Rings: Sarah Malim
Cake/Dessert: Lake Tahoe Cakes
Invites: The Paper Garden