FROM THE GROOM // We met in college. It was the first couple weeks of our freshman year at UCLA and we were trying out the Wushu Club. We met after practice when we sat down in a circle with newly-met friends and introduced ourselves to each other. Even then, I thought that Eileen had a unique personality and perspective on life. It was part of the reason she was always pleasant to be around. We grew closer during our sophomore year when we spent a lot of time talking about our lives and aspirations in the stairwell balcony of our dorm building. It was one of the nicest places to watch the sunset because of the solitude and clear view of the westward skies. We would talk for hours during the sunset and we would later meet each there again to talk more before saying goodnight.
I love Eileen’s personality. To me, Eileen has always been a bubbly, joyful person. She has this disarming personality that makes you feel comfortable being around her. There is no judgement or silent bitterness because Eileen will accept and love who you are as her friends. She is filled with optimism and love that she doesn’t hesitate to share. This manifests in her helpful nature too because she’s always offering help to her friends when they need it. At times, Eileen can also be super random, but in such an adorable way. Whether it is making cheesy puns/jokes or making quirky dances and expressions. It makes me want to give her a big hug!
For my proposal, I brought Eileen to Hawaii on our first big vacation together. To keep it a surprise, I intentionally misled her into thinking that we were going to Alaska! I had planned out the whole trip so Eileen wouldn’t have to worry about anything. I decided to ask on the 3rd day of our trip. That morning I planned for us to go on a hike. Long story short, our rental car got towed, but a very kind restaurant manager helped us out and we got to our hike! We were only a little delayed, but I wanted to be back at our resort by sunset. Our relationship developed during our time watching the sunsets in college. I thought it would be meaningful to watch it one last time as a boyfriend-girlfriend couple. It was how we began so I wanted it to be a part of how we would start our journey into marriage. Anyway, while we were walking to the exact location that I had chosen on Google Maps (never been to Hawaii before after all!), Eileen was looking for pockets to put her phone since she was wearing a beautiful sarong. She instinctively slapped my pockets and had actually slapped the ring box! She initially thought that it was our action camera, so I tried playing it off and thought it worked. Instead, Eileen surprised me later by revealing that she knew it to be a ring box based on her sensory perception and my nervous answer! She had shown me a selfie video that we took while walking to the Google Maps location; in the video, she would silently freak out whenever I looked off into the distance, since she was also nervous herself!
When thinking about our wedding, I am most looking forward to seeing and feeling the emotions of the day with Eileen. I want to see the excitement and joy in her expressions. We have spent so much time dreaming about our future together that it is hard to believe it is almost here. This wedding is going to be a culmination of the love that we have shared for the past several years. I hope to see the joy in her eyes when we realize how much we love each other.
FROM THE BRIDE // Andy and I met in our first year of college. We started as friends after both of us joined the UCLA Wushu Club (performance-based Chinese martial arts). After being friends for over a year, we began to grow closer as we spent more time learning about each other. We would meet up when the school day ended and spent hours together. On many early evenings, we watched sunsets together in the stairwell balcony of our dorm building.
Andy soon became the best part of my day, and the sweetest person that I had come to know. He always thoughtfully and generously gave his time and heart to see me smile. One of the first gifts that he had given me was a sketch of a willow tree – which was my favorite tree – drawn with my hometown as the setting. On Valentine’s Day in 2011, he made a bouquet of paper flowers for me after I had once mentioned how much it saddened me to watch flowers die.Before going home during an uneventful weekend went home April Fool’s Day came, and we met up at the stairwell balcony again. I played a prank where I told him that I was moving to another college….in another country. Andy later told me that he got really sad and almost confessed to me right before I blurted out “APRIL FOOL’S!”. It wasn’t very nice of me, but it warms my heart every time that I recall his sentiments and emotions at the time.
Our beginning was sweet and fun and filled with wonderful memories. Somewhere along the way, we realized that we had embarked on a journey and we never looked back. I sometimes feel like I have known him my whole life. Our “official” dating anniversary is May 15, 2011, but our relationship flourished gradually. There was no “first date,” and I am sure that he did not explicitly ask me to be his girlfriend (or vice versa). Instead, it was a steady pursuit, and constant, gentle force that we somehow just knew was so natural, and beautiful, and so right. It has now been 7 years since May 15, 2011. On every 15th of the month since then, we would wish each other “Happy 15th” – most of the time, he remembers first and calls me at midnight even after he had initially gone to sleep. “Happy 15th, Eileen. Happy (x) years and (y) months. Happy (z) months.” So far, I have received his 84 wishes of a happy 15th. I love that Andy upholds this tradition with me. It is not in the numbers that we find meaning and excitement; it is in our unspoken stories of any single day in this period of time and the way that we celebrate all of them with intention with our spoken wish. On our next 15th, we will be flying out for our honeymoon!
I love Andy for his humble and ever-growing heart, for the tender way that he takes care of me, for the way that his gentle smile brings me home. We have so many memories together through the years, and I am filled with joy to continue onto the next adventure in life together. Our wedding will soon be here. My heart overflows with excitement and anticipation as I think about experiencing all the moments of the day together. I look forward to our entire wedding ceremony, especially our vow exchange. There is so much beauty in committing our lives to each other. On our wedding day and into our marriage, I pray that we keep our hearts open and connected and always guided by our love for each other.