Our story started from afar. A mutual friend introduced us, as she knew both of us very well and thought that it would be a “good fit”. I was living in Orlando and Rozana was living in DC. She came to visit family in Orlando, and we went on our first date at Morimoto at Disney Springs. We talked for hours about what we valued most in life and continued to build on that through long distance for almost a year until I moved to DC.
We spent our time leading up to the proposal meeting our respective families in Orlando and Trinidad, who were very happy that we had found each other.
The day was April 14, 2018. I had already bought the ring in January and set up the proposal in February, and with the trip planned as a first time visit for both of us to Napa, I spent the couple of months leading up to this date hiding the ring from Rozana.
We went to three wineries that day, Mumm Napa, V. Sattui, and finally Castello Di Amorosa. To say that is was an amazing day was an understatement. Clear skies with the temperature in the low 70’s followed us as we cruised through our day, trying various wines and cheese at the first two wineries, all the while the ring was hidden in a drawstring backpack containing my large camera to not arouse any suspicion. We then headed to Castello Di Amorosa, with me dropping the comment in our conversation that we should get engaged here in Napa, to Rozana’s under her breath response of “yea we should.”
At 2pm we arrived at Castello Di Amorosa, and with this arrival brought nervousness and excitement. I constantly kept looking at each worker at the castle, not sure who was going to be our tour guide, when I was supposed to be given the signal, where I was supposed to stand, etc. With so many emotions built up, I asked Rozana to sit on a bench and walked over to the nearest worker, informing him that I was to propose today. He said he was fully aware and gave me a brief rundown of the events to come, which calmed my nerves for the time being.
We then started the tour, visiting different aspects of the castle, concluding with a tasting for the group. Our sommelier provided tickets to each member of the group and announced the following: if your ticket was blue, you would be receiving 7 wine tastings, and if it was brown, you would be receiving 14 wine tastings and a tour of the south tower of the castle. Rozana and I of course received the brown tickets, as this was part of the engagement package which the castle offered. Rozana however, unaware of her impending proposal, was beyond overjoyed and starting telling people in the group “I never win anything!!!”
We finished our tastings and then was led to the south tower of the castle, which was a narrow staircase directly behind our tasting area. I let Rozana walk in front of me to allow time for me to take the ring box out of the bag, place it in my back pocket, and also for me to gather my emotions, as each step brought more nervousness. When we emerged from the top of the staircase, everything was picture perfect: There was a table with two chairs, a bottle of champagne and two glasses with a rose bouquet to the far right, with the photographer and his assistant standing to the right of this setup, capturing our moment.
What I just explained was my first impression. Rozana’s first impression was not noticing any of what I just described (which was mind you in plain view), and instead immediately walking directly to the nearest wall, looking over it, and saying “Man we are pretty high up”. I guess this is how our proposal was meant to happen, because it gave me enough time to put the bag down, take the ring box out of my pocket, and get down on one knee. Rozana turned to her right and saw the adorned table, the photographer and his assistant. She said “Hi!!” to them as an initial reaction, not realizing what was occurring. She then turned to me getting down on one knee, and the rest as they say is truly history, our history.
I barely remember what I told her. I remember telling her that I know she always wanted to go to Italy, and since I couldn’t afford to take her there, I found the closest thing to it in an Italian inspired castle in an place she spent the day falling in love with. I’m still not sure if she said yes, but the pictures and video which I saw a couple weeks later confirmed it for me.
On a side note: Immediately after the proposal, we had an engagement shoot, which took about an hour. The reason I mention this is that I forgot to inform Rozana’s parents and sister of this photo shoot, and had numerous missed calls and texts awaiting me. They didn’t want to message Rozana and ruin the proposal if it had not already occurred. We headed back to San Francisco and met Rozana’s cousin for dinner to celebrate. A perfect end to an amazing day, filled with some many “in the moment” reactions.