Our Saga, by Dana :-}

The Set Up:

We met in August 2002 through our mutual friends Kevin and Merinda. I often go out with my friend Merinda on Wednesday evenings to dinner. On such evening after a long day at work, I showed up to their house ready to go to dinner, when Merinda’s husband Kevin answered the door with a big grin on his face. I knew something was up, so I asked him what, and he said “I’m coming to dinner tonight and we’re bringing somebody for you”. I was not too thrilled with this idea, so I almost turned around and went home...then Merinda came downstairs and convinced me that I had briefly met this guy before and that it wouldn’t hurt anything for me to just go. I figured what the heck, I had nothing to loose, so I went.

Merinda, Kevin and I met Danny at the restaurant; evidently they had convinced him a few days earlier, while at an X-Box gathering, that he needed to meet me. Merinda had decided that since we were single, tall and interested in computers that we needed to be set up. Funny, nobody told me! Dinner was nice; I was fairly quiet, but Danny asked a lot of questions and kept the conversation moving pretty well. We all continued the evening by walking over to the ice cream parlor to get a treat while continuing to talk. Everything seemed to be going pretty well, and I actually felt OK about agreeing to go by the end of the night. Danny and I exchanged cards before saying goodbye, so I emailed him the next day explaining that our friends had sprung the whole thing on me unexpectedly, and asked if we might try a date.

Our first real date was a week and a half later and we really started to hit it off. By a few dates later, we both knew we were at the beginning of what was turning into a very good relationship. We were very comfortable with each other right off the bat and we have very similar outlooks on life.

We also realized just how interesting it was that we had never really met before. For one, we were both at the same high school for two years. I was class of ’98 and Danny was class of ’96. Danny’s twin brothers were class of ’99 and it turns out that I knew who one of them was because he hung out with people that I knew. Also, we both knew Kevin and Merinda while we were in high school too! I lost track of Merinda and Kevin while I was a senior in high school, but I met back up with them 7 or 8 months before they set us up. There were so many times we could have met, but I think the timing was perfect. I am so glad that we both decided to just go to that set up dinner!

The next few months that followed just flew by as Danny and I grew closer. We started to get to know one another’s families and we were spending a lot of time together. By the time we knew it, we were a bona fide couple and enjoying every moment of it.

The Proposal:

Danny proposed to me on Valentine’s Day 2003 and it was such a surprise to me; he had been planning it for almost two months! He took me to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse near Downtown San Diego for dinner. We got there a little early, so we sat at the bar while we waited for our reservation time. The night before we had been out late because he went with me to watch a movie for school, so I chalked up the fact that he wasn’t making much eye contact, to the idea that he was probably tired. After a few minutes we were seated at a really nice booth looking toward the water; little did I know, he had informed the restaurant when he made the reservation what was going to happen!

We sat down, looked over the menu, ordered, and decided to exchange gifts. He said he wanted to open his first and I was happy to oblige. I was proud of my gifts to him! I had gone through holiday See’s Candies madness in order to obtain a box of the coveted V-day chocolate truffles. Also, I had gone to 4 stores before I found the exact truck cargo net that he had been wanting. I’m all about practicality, and I thought it would be perfect since we were planning to go on a weekend camping trip in the desert starting the following day. Anyway, he opened his lovingly wrapped gifts with a big smile; I was pleased that he liked them. Next was my turn. First, was a handwritten card that made me smile. Second, I pulled a nice box of candies out of the gift bag. Lastly, I pulled out a cuddly white teddy bear holding a red heart…so soft! Upon closer inspection I noticed that there was a zipper on the heart and that it was actually a pouch and that there was something in it – a box. As soon as I touched the zipper, Danny took the whole bear from me! He unzipped the pouch and pulled out a red box. I recognized the box from a local jeweler and since he had been hinting about getting me a pair of earrings, I assumed that is what it was. I couldn’t wait to see.

He started to get all serious and he cracked open the box. I saw the top of a single diamond and it was just then that I realized what was going on! It hit me all at once: fancy dinner, special occasion, nice table at a popular restaurant, avoidance of eye contact, grabbing the bear back to pull out the box himself…my hand went automatically to my mouth, covering my gasp of disbelief!

Then he says “I’ve been thinking about this a long time, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Dana, will you marry me?” By the time he got those words out, and finished opening the box, I was crying and shaking all over. I kissed him and hugged him tight! All in one motion, I pulled off a ring that I had been wearing on the middle finger of my left hand and presented my hand for him to place the beautiful engagement ring on my ring finger. I hugged him again and I realized that I had not yet spoken a word…so I blurted out “YES, yes, yes, yes, YES!” We just sat there for the next few minutes in each other’s arms smiling and talking softly.

By the time the salad came, all I could do was give the waiter a look - like, “you have to be kidding me!” I was still shaking pretty hard. Dinner was fabulous, as much of it as I managed to eat anyway, and we finished off the evening with my first ever crème brule.

After dinner we drove by the harbor, then of course started toward my folk’s house to tell them the good news. Along the way we made a few phone calls from our cell phones spreading the word. Danny’s whole family, and some of his friends, knew that he was going to propose that night, but I had no clue! I was figuring that he was going to propose a month or two down the line and did not expect it that night at all. Considering he had kept the whole plan a secret for almost two months, and I didn’t have a clue, he did extremely well! He had started a design for a ring based on a Celtic style puzzle ring, took his design to a jeweler, and had my ring custom made. The beautiful diamond that is set on my perfect gold ring belonged to his Grandmother. We are grateful to his family for allowing us to use that stone because it makes the ring just that much more special! It was a night I know that we will never forget.

The Engagement:

Since then we obviously have picked the date and have been planning our wedding. My parents threw us an engagement party and we set to work on a few of the basics…like picking a date. When we got engaged, we planned on getting married about a year out When we realized what the date would be on the fourth day of the fourth month of 2004, we just couldn’t pass it up. 04/04/04 it is!

After considering a few county parks, some popular San Diego wedding spots, and a hall in Alpine - we realized that we also have access to some of the Officer’s clubs on the various bases in the County. I called and temporarily held the date at the Oceanview Club on the Subase in Point Loma and made an appointment to visit. After seeing it we decided where better to throw a beautiful San Diego wedding then at a venue that sits a few feet away from the Pacific Ocean! I called later that week and we booked for 04/04/04.

The dresses are in and we’ve now got most of the planning done. We look forward to celebrating our new beginning with all of our friends and family. We are so happy.

Thank you to Merinda and Kevin who decided we just had to meet, I couldn’t imagine a better match to make than Danny and me. Also, thank you so much to our friends and especially to our families who have been so supportive from the word go.

Finding The Love of My Life,
by Danny

It all began one night when I was out playing X-box at Kevin and Merinda’s house. Merinda came up with the idea that Dana needed to be “hooked up” and I was the target. So just sitting there playing X-box, Merinda says to me “Danny how would you like to go on a blind date?” I just briefly looked to see who was talking to me and said “sure why not”. That was pretty much the end of that conversation other than “you have met her before briefly.”

The next day I realized that I was set up on a blind date, and for the next week was quite excited to meet her. I honestly could not remember what she looked like from that brief meeting before. All I know is that I was to meet at the Islands restaurant in Mission Valley. So that night came and waiting patiently in the parking lot I saw Kevin drive up in the jeep and we all said our hellos and went inside to eat. I was not nervous at all, I was just so comfortable that it was like I did this all the time, where really I have never done the blind date scene ever before.

Dinner went well and it was more like meeting with old friends versus a blind date. We talked about computers mostly and our work (surprised?). At this point there was not sparks or falling deeply in love, just a friendly date that began the rest of our lives together.

The next date we had, that we count as our first official date, was a week or so later at Bennigans in Mission Valley. This time it felt much more like a date and we started to talk more about school, our families and other such topics away from work and computers. At this point, I was quite excited to have met Dana and I was sure another date was in the near future. One of the most interesting things, was all the chances we had to meet at High School as we were probably crossing paths for 2 years. A few dates later and we end up at the Santee drive in. Can’t think of the movie at this time, which was not the top priority at the time; I was happy to be next to my girl Dana! That night we were saying good night and then the first kiss. I still can’t remember who initiated it but we both caught each other off guard. From the moment on, I guess you could say we started getting a bit more serious.

Now, thanks to several women at my work (you know who you are), the idea of being even more serious was pushed into my mind. It seemed that they were asking daily, so how are you love birds doing, did you get her flowers? Did you make nice dinner reservations? And then the big one, the ring; I still can’t remember how that got started. My boss kept telling these women to back off and that they were corrupting the boy. But they kept at it and helped me design the ring that eventually made its way onto my now soon to be wife on Valentine's day.

The Proposal:

The scene was Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse on Valentine's day at sunset. I had made reservations almost 2 months ahead of time and we were both excited as neither of us had ever had a Valentines dinner. She brought a few gifts for me and I brought a few for her. Mine was a Teddy bear with a heart on the front. This heart held a special surprise for a special girl. I had been keeping this a secret for over 2 months and couldn’t contain myself anymore, so I opened her gifts, and then handed her the bag with the Teddy bear. As she started to unzip the heart, I quickly grabbed the bear back to get the ring box. As I looked at her face with the curious look on it, I started to talk serious. I said to her, “I have been thinking a long time about this, I want to spend the rest of my life with you.... will you marry me?”..... As I slowly opened the box I watched as her face turned from a curious look to a, “ok honey breathe!” look. As I slipped it on her finger, she was so excited that she almost forgot to say yes. Moments later she fell into my arms and said yes, yes YES! Our salads arrived and she had a little bit of trouble eating for some reason, but the rest of the night was wonderful as we called our friends and drove to visit her parents and then mine. Everyone was so happy for us.

Now almost a year later, we are sill very much in love and anxiously awaiting our wedding date 04/04/04. We thank our friends Kevin and Merinda for setting us up, the pushy women at my work ;) and of course most importantly, our parents and families for their love and support.