This romantic proposal story will melt your heart. When I photographed this Oakland engagement shoot, I had no idea of truly incredible story of how they got engaged.
I had been working with Falisha and Jorge to arrange the session and they loved the results.
Soon afterward, I thought about getting their engagement photos published by a well-known wedding blog, and Catalyst Wed Co immediately came to mind.
I knew this would be a great fit for them, given their focus on feminism, intersectionality, and inclusivity.
When I looked at their submission guidelines, I realized that a much deeper dive with the couple would be in order. Catalyst love to hear from the couple themselves – their words, their unique story, their values.
Pictures are great, after all, but it’s the words that contextualize and give meaning, thus honoring the couple’s whole story.
So I met up with the couple over ice cream in Oakland, and asked my questions as per the Catalyst Wed co guidelines. I had no idea that the story would be so epic, so interesting. I’d truly never heard anything like this before!
So without further ado, here is Falisha & Jorge’s amazing story with photos from their engagement shoot in downtown Oakland and Port View Park.
Words by Falisha, as told to Zoe Larkin. Previously published on Catalyst Wed Co and reproduced with permission.
About the couple!
We are young parents to my 9-year-old son Isaiah, and we are Bay Area natives by way of the Fiji Islands and Mexico.
We are trying to live the American dream. We’d describe ourselves as hardworking, fun and ambitious individuals. We’re homemakers, inspired and motivated by family. I like to say we’re modern people with old-fashioned values.
One of our values is to embrace our respective cultures and have our children know and respect where we’ve come from.
As minority cultures, we don’t have the advantage of resources, but we are very blessed to live and have grown up in the Bay Area and to tap into the many resources that are available to us through hard work and God’s grace.
How the couple met
We met working at Wells Fargo. I started there in September 2013 and Jorge was my supervisor. We locked eyes the day we met!
When I was hired, he was on a 4–week vacation in Mexico. The first day he got back, he opened the door for me. He struck me as a real gentleman with values like chivalry, courtesy and respect.
That same day, his best friend came to the bank as a customer. This friend asked me straight out, ‘are you in a relationship?’ And said I wasn’t, and he said, ‘you should give my boy a chance!’
It was pretty awkward as I had just met Jorge and he was my supervisor! But something was sparked within us, if it hadn’t already.
How the relationship developed
From then on we would flirt constantly with one another! He took me out to sushi in San Leandro and we’d chat a lot.
Our first date was horseback riding on his uncle’s ranch in Los Baños. It was so romantic!
We set off at sunrise, had breakfast with Jorge’s uncle and aunt and then went horseback riding. It was so perfect!
I felt so comfortable with Jorge – like I could be myself. This was about three months after we first met at our work at the bank. Soon after that, he asked me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes!
The romantic proposal story
Our proposal was a fairytale! We had planned a trip to Mexico City for the three of us.
First, we visited Jorge’s hometown, Tizapan El Alto, then flew out to Mexico City. We had been looking at engagement rings beforehand and he knew the setting, diamond and design I wanted, but I had no idea he’d bought the ring!
We were going up the Teotihuacán pyramid and halfway up we ran into Jorge’s friend from California, who was there with his son!
Still, I didn’t suspect anything. We took some pictures of one another. As Jorge and I were posing for a picture, he dramatically turned me around and got on his knees.
My immediate reaction was ‘what are you doing, there are people here!’ because Jorge always jokes around.
‘Great prank!’ I said.
The engagement ring of her dreams!
All of a sudden he pulled out the ring. I blacked out for 5 seconds.
There it was, the ring that I had my heart set on was right there! I was in shock and disbelief for a few moments, covering my mouth the whole time saying ‘shut the fuck up!’
So he called me by my full name and said ‘I want to spend my entire life with you’.
I fully blanked out – I was so overcome with emotion! However, I do remember him saying ‘will you marry me?’ All that time I hadn’t said anything.
He put the ring on my finger and I bawled my eyes out!
Then Jorge got up off his knees and pulled me close and said ‘so… is that a yes?’ ‘Of course!’ All three of us hugged.
After the fairytale proposal
That sounds incredible in itself. But Jorge went one step further.
He knew that what I would want most during a moment like this would be to have all my family there but of course that wouldn’t be possible!
So, well before the proposal. he had all my friends and family members record videos congratulating us on our engagement!
They’d sent their well wishes on video to a dedicated email address Jorge had created especially for this occasion!
The night he proposed, he said to me ‘log into this email address. Here’s the password.’ I had no idea what was going on!
So I logged in and clicked on video after video of all our dearest ones wishing us the best on our engagement. Yep, I bawled my eyes out yet again. It meant so much to me!
The engagement shoot
We chose to have our engagement photos in Oakland sometime after the proposal because it’s a special place for both of us.
My grandparents migrated from the Fiji islands to Oakland, and his parents from Mexico to Oakland.
It was the landing place for both our families – their first taste of a foreign culture where they longed to be. The start of their American dream, you could say. And the start of ours.
We chose Zoe because she’s so skilled! We connected, and she explained she wanted to experiment artistically and try something different.
Budgets are always real for us, and honestly we didn’t think an engagement shoot was a splurge we’d be able to afford but we made it work.
It certainly wasn’t on Jorge’s radar – especially as we had a friend capture the proposal – and I began to think it probably wouldn’t happen.
But when we met Zoe, it felt like such fortuitous timing!
Final advice on finding your life partner
Never limit yourself when it comes to love.
Jorge and I come from backgrounds that don’t mix much, even though they rub shoulders all the time in the melting pot we call home.
Each culture generally sticks together. In this day and age however, it’s wonderful to mix cultures.
That’s what we celebrate and embrace in this shoot and in the whole romantic proposal story that is us.
If you love somebody, don’t feel like you can’t be with them if they’re from a different culture from you.
Original post about Falisha + Jorge
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Thank you Catalyst Wed Co for the feature!
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