Our Engagement Story: Winnie & Jovin
It’s almost been two months since Jovin and I got engaged! Everything happened at once so I was just taking time to soak everything in. I got engaged on April 20, 2019. I moved out 5 days later to my own apartment. This all happened as I was entering my last 4 weeks of clinical staff relief and clinical management in my dietetic internship before graduating! It was basically one big thing after another so I wanted to spend more time being present in real life and not having to post all over social media or share here yet. Well, I’m excited to be finally sharing with you all!
How did you two meet?
We met through a dating app called Coffee Meets Bagel. I was actually very hesitant before downloading this app because I wanted to meet someone organically. I wanted to meet someone through work, mutual friends or church. I remember downloading CMB without any expectations of meeting someone. In fact, I told myself I wouldn’t go on a date with anyone on through the app, but I wanted to entertain my curiosity to see how this whole online dating thing worked. I didn’t want to meet anyone on it because I would never know the intentions of the person on the other end. I wanted to play it safe. On the second day of using the app, it said that Jovin “liked” me. I scrolled through his photos & thought, “Ok, he seems like a safe guy. He’s cute. I like his hair. He has a really nice smile. He has a photo of his family, that’s good!” I pressed like back and it connected me to a chat room.
This is where I got really confused because on CMB, there’s an icebreaker on the very top that shows whenever two people connect. His icebreaker was “I make YouTube videos!” I thought that was him chatting me…. but it wasn’t. Turns out, I messaged him first which he told me later was a HUGE shock. To be fair, it was MY FIRST TIME I connected with someone on the app. I felt clueless. I had my Instagram on my CMB profile so he initially thought I liked him because I wanted more followers since he “makes youtube videos”…. HAHA well, we chatted it up and we really got to know each other more. We talked about our current job, where we went to school, our involvements in college, etc.
I put that I liked Phil Wickham and Chris Tomlin in my profile, and he said he liked them too. So apparently I was bold enough to ask him to go to a Phil Wickham concert with me. Yes, I invited him to a concert (JUST US TWO) before we met in person or even discussed meeting in person. He asked if I was sure since we haven’t met yet. I then took it back and said I will redetermine once we met LOLOL. We met up 5 days after connecting over dinner and donuts (YES)! Oh and we added each other on snapchat, facebook and instagram before we met up so you bet there was stalking on both ends!
The first time we met, we couldn’t stop smiling + talking and it was almost like I knew him already. Meeting in person was more of the confirmation that his profile was all true. I didn’t need to think about what to say or what to ask. Everything almost felt perfect. We talked about our careers, our family, our fears, our hobbies, our habits and SO much more. We talked until 2 am while eating donuts outside a movie theater since everything else was closed. When we left, he said to me, “we should do this again sometime”. O M G !!!!!<—— that’s how I felt internally but I responded saying, “we definitely should!” (probably with the cheeeeesiest smile ever). I remember calling my friend while driving home about how amazing the date went and I couldn’t wait to see him again! Well, you can guess there were many more dates after that.
How did the conversation of actually deciding to get married happen?
We both shared our intentions with dating and marriage in the early stages of our relationship. In the first year of dating, we talked about marriage often and made sure we were on the same page, which we always were! Before deciding to get married, we had many conversations on current and future family situations, finances, church, our way of raising children, career plans and more. We still have these conversations. These conversations helped us see where we stood individually on those topics because they’re important in a marriage where we’re required to make decisions together. It helped us understand one another better. We also spent a lot of time with family, friends and our church which contributed to our growth as a couple and to know each other better outside of just time alone.
Well, I still remember the conversation of deciding to get married very clearly! It was July 2018 and at the time, we have been officially dating for about a year. After spending a day with his family, we finally had some time to ourselves. We were in his car heading back to LA and he brings it up in our conversation. He starts it off by saying how he’s been wanting to share something with me and he said he’s been thinking about marriage more. He shared that he wanted to marry me. I got so happy because I felt the same way! I shared that I knew I wanted to marry him too but didn’t know how to bring it up. We shared why we wanted to marry each other and what his intentions were for a marriage together.
How did you know he was the one?
I knew pretty early on near of the end of our first year of dating but I kept it to myself for a while. I wanted to make sure my “lovey dovey” feelings weren’t deciding for me. To me, it’s not about falling in love with the beginning stages of getting to know each other. It wasn’t about falling in love with the idea of love. It also wasn’t the excitement of “clicking” with someone or “feeling chemistry”. It wasn’t only about the excitement of marriage with the love of my life, starting a family together or having kids together. It wasn’t the fact that we always had such a fun time together. It wasn’t the fact that he loved donuts as much as me either (had to throw this one in there). Although those aren’t things to neglect as reasons to why we love someone, it wasn’t the primary reason of why I fell in love with Jovin.
I fell in love with him because it was his confidence in God. It was how much I could see Jovin loving God more and more. I saw his unshakable confidence in God. I knew he was the one because I had no doubt that this was the man I wanted to spend with the rest of my life. I trust him in leading me towards God. I didn’t “feel” like I wanted to make the choice. I knew I want to make the choice.
This confidence is present because we strive to keep God in the center of our relationship. Although we aren’t perfect & will never be, we have God. Without God, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We don’t have a perfect relationship. We’ve hurt each other multiple times - said hurtful words, cried over painful moments and have acted selfishly numerous times. It’s often pride and selfishness that gets the best of us and I’m guilty of that. That’s every relationship though, it’s inevitable. The main thing is to make the daily decision to love even if you don’t feel like it. It’s going to get hard, but it’s up to you to make the choice. Don’t point fingers because it should never be about who is right or wrong. Forgive more. Be more sacrificial, selfless and take all opportunities to learn how to serve one another better.
1 John 4:19 - We love because he first loved us.
RING SHOPPING &
We went ring shopping twice together. First time was July 2018, about a week after our conversation of taking bigger steps towards marriage. We gave it some extra time to do our research and for me to look more into the exact kind I wanted. The second time I tried on rings was September 2018! This was when I finalized the type of band I want, color and the shape of the diamond. He knew I wanted a round cut & a band with diamonds. After this, it was all up to Jovin! The cut and clarity was all up to him.
I knew he would propose during the first half of 2019 (January-June) but I was unsure when. I always kept my eyes out for clues because I am a VERY CURIOUS person. I like to know everything. I always want to know why, when, where, all the above. Well, I didn’t really get to figure out too much, but I did find out that my mom and brother went out for dinner one night and I had a hunch Jovin was with them while I was out of town for the week. After that, everything was unknown to me. Jovin was really good at hiding everything. My friends were really good at keeping secrets. When January 2019 rolled around, Jovin told me to keep my weekends open to hangout with him. So basically, all my Saturdays were for him during the months of February, March and April. He told me these weekends were designated to spend time with family/friends as we prepare for marriage and also to confuse me. He took us to some special spots and dates, dinner with our friends and family, but no ring during any of those times LOL
As April 2019 came around, I kept wondering when it would happen because.. ahem, the first half of the year is coming to an end??? At this point, I was constantly wondering when it would happen. I thought it would happen during every hangout, so my nails were always done for those who asked LOL I usually always have my nails done but during these several months, I was on top of it. Leading up to Easter weekend, Jovin told me were were going to the Flower Friends in Carlsbad because his cousins were visiting from the Philippines. His family arrived a little before Easter weekend and he asked me to reserve that day in advance specifically to have some bonding time with them.
3 days before the proposal, I did my nails without having ANY idea the proposal was just around the corner. We always joked about when the proposal would be. I’d also joke about how my left hand was a bit too light or that I knew exactly when he would ask (but I really didn’t). I would send him photos of people getting engaged and photos of rings whenever I was out. It was just for fun though, I was patient! As patient as I can be!
THE PROPOSAL STORY
DESTINATION 1: COFFEE SHOP + TREASURE HUNT VOICE RECORDING
The plan was to spend time with his family in Carlsbad and San Diego for the weekend so I drove over to his apartment the Saturday morning of April 20. He told me his sister had to stop in the area to get something for work and she would be carpooling with us to his family’s house. I got to his apartment and he tells me he had to stop by to get some food for his family. I was just pacing around outside his apartment looking out for his car. After waiting for about 15 minutes, his sister drives down the street and I hop in. No questions asked, I just hopped in. She then drives away and I got confused. Shouldn’t we be waiting for Jovin to come back before we leave? (Note: at this time, Jovin is setting up the proposal location at his family’s house) Jovin’s sister then tells me she needs to pick up the cousins at a coffee shop nearby. The coffee shop was Document Coffee Bar which is where Jovin and I always go for coffee. When we got there, I was handed earphones and sent a voice recording from Jovin. Here’s what it said:
“Today, you’re going to go on a little treasure hunt. You’re going to find something that’s shiny, small and pretty expensive. But don’t worry, you’ll have lots of help along the way. I’ll see you soon”.
Shortly after the voice recording ended, two of my good friends come out of the coffee stop! One is holding my favorite coffee order and another was holding a DSLR camera. They haven’t met each other before so I knew. It was the day. My heart was racing and a huge smile was glued to my face.
We spent some time outside hanging out and talking, then I was blindfolded to the next destination. Little did I know that the blindfold was to trick me into thinking each destination would be the proposal location.
DESTINATION 2: MENDOCINO FARMS + SIDECAR DOUGHNUTS
Jovin and I love donuts. After church on Sundays in the past, we’d get lunch at Mendocino Farms and then Sidecar for donuts. This Huckleberry is a must try.
I thought Jovin would be meeting us for lunch or donuts but nope. I was thinking of maybe grabbing him a donut as well.. but I didn’t know when he would pop up. So we finished up lunch, took our donuts to go and I was then blindfolded again to our next destination.
This was where Jovin asked me to be his girlfriend so I thought this was it! I was blindfolded to this destination so all I heard was people talking. I was guided to an exact location where I had to put my earphones back in. They removed the blindfolds and I found myself at pacific palisades park. I thought I would see him when I took my blindfolds off but he wasn’t there. Jovin. Instead, he called me told me to hold on a second because he was going to send me a video to watch. The video was a collection of some memories we had at Pacific Palisades and a voice over describing the memories. At the end of the video, he said, “this place is very special to both of us, but today, it’s only going to get a little more special.” Ok, that totally made me think it was going to happen. I was on the lookout for him. Maybe he would pop up behind me? Surprise me?! But he was nowhere to be found!
When waiting for time to go by, we started eating the sidecar doughnuts. They gave me the sidecar doughnut box and inside was a ring box…. I opened it and it was EMPTY. This was only the beginning of the trolls and tricks for the day HAHA we enjoyed the donuts and then went off to our next destination. Blindfolded!
DESTINATION 4: THE GROVE, FAKE PROPOSAL FROM EASTER BUNNY
As I was blindfolded and we parked, I had a strong feeling I was at the Grove. I was blindfolded as I walked into the elevator and into the sea of crowded noise. Note that it’s Saturday afternoon so it was packed, a lot of people were out shopping. A random person then says, “That is so sad. You would blindfold your friend and take her to a dodgers game?!”. I then doubted myself and thought we might possibly be at a dodgers game. I also thought it wouldn’t be possible though because Jovin and I have no memories at a Dodgers Game or even expressed a desire to go to a game. I kept it on my radar because it was a stranger who made that comment. Either the stranger was messing with me or my friends told the guy to say it. I was guided in the outdoor mall area and was standing in line for something. I was unsure what it was but I was patient. Maybe Jovin might be there when I remove my blindfolds this time?!
Well, I removed my blindfolds and IT WAS AN EASTER BUNNY. The bunny was holding that same empty ring box in one hand and Pressed Juicery freeze in the other hand. Jovin and I always come to the Grove for pressed freeze! At first, I thought Jovin was inside the bunny costume but I knew he wouldn’t do that to himself!! We all then took a photo with the Easter bunny and went on our adventure.
We spent the next 2 hours at the Grove because they asked if I would be happy wearing the outfit I was wearing. I was wearing jeans, converse and a jean jacket. We stopped by several stores and I tried on different tops, shoes and dresses. My friends picked out a dress and heels for me. I was wearing a completely different outfit now.
DESTINATION 5: THE PROPOSAL
FINALLY! The destination I’ve been waiting for! The drive from Destination 4 to 5 was about 50 minutes. I was blindfolded the whole time in the car so I wouldn’t see what freeways were were taking. When we got there, they had me out the car and my friend was holding onto me but it somehow transitioned to Jovin holding onto me. I HAD NO IDEA until I saw this picture below. It was so smooth! I was guided to the backyard of the house as the song Marry Me was playing.
When I was guided to a spot in front of a TV screen, I still had my blindfolds on. Jovin then comes around me and takes off the blindfold. YES YES YES FINALLY!! 5th time taking off the blindfolds and it’s finally him. At this point, my heart is racing. I don’t notice who’s around but I know there’s people. All I’m focused on is being with Jovin and finally seeing him next to me. There’s about 2-3 cameras around us taking photos and videos.
On the TV screen was a video on all our memories and basically him talking to me through a video. I remember holding his hand and squeezing it multiple times. I was screaming with excitement on the inside!!
After this video, we walk down towards the gorgeous canopy which he spent hours with the help of friends and family to help set up. There’s candles in paper bags and lights in mason jars.
We get to the end and he talks to me for a few minutes about our relationship. A recap of the last two years together and how we have grown to love God more and one another more. I began crying happy tears at this moment. Then the moment I’ve been waiting for all day happens…
HE ASKS ME TO MARRY HIM.
And of course I say yes!!! When he went on one knee, I actually took my hand out with an attempt to grab the ring, but he got to it before me. Honestly, I don’t know why I did that. I was probably too excited. All good though!
After, we took some photos together and then spent some time to pray together. Prayer for our engagement, our future marriage and to look towards God in the midst of it all.
After, when we enter the house, both our families were there to congratulate us! There were about 10 people at the door.
But that wasn’t it… when we went into his living room, the lights turned on and a bunch of friends were there!! I was so surprised and SO happy. I loved seeing everyone. I’m so grateful for everyone who was there and also those who helped set up. You guys are so so appreciated! You all have made an impact on our lives and we are so thankful for you!! <3
Overall, the entire day was beyond amazing and more than what I expected. We’re so grateful for our family, church family & friends for their time and efforts in helping with the setup. We’re also so thankful for the investment and impact each person there has made in our lives. We’re beyond blessed with all these people God has placed in our lives!
I’m sure I’m missing a lot of little details but I hope you enjoyed reading the engagement story :)
It’s been 2 months since the proposal and so far, we’ve booked our venue so we have a date. It’'ll be early spring in 2020 - March 28. Also, we’re about to get our engagement shoot in within the next month so things have been busy. It’s a good busy though!
So here’s to my God-loving, forever adventure buddy, donut-eating and travel partner for life!! :)