Their first date was at Olive Garden because she loves Italian food, but they had originally met at work. “They sat her next to me three years ago. At that point, I didn’t know I met my future wife,” Fernando says. He says he knew she was the one when she met his family for the first time. “Even though there was a language barrier, she blended in perfectly. And, of course, my mom loves her so, yeah, she passed the mom test.”
When it came to proposing, there was a bit of lying and heartbreak involved, but only with the best intentions of a true surprise. Terra says it was worth it in the end! Fernando says he “wings” everything, so the proposal was “a tactical, well thought-out plan. Not really.”
“We had gone to Greenberg’s just so he could get an idea of what I liked in a ring,” Terra starts. “We found one that I was in love with so they sent it to get cleaned and Fernando said I was no longer able to be involved so that he could surprise me. The jeweler had said it should be ready to be picked up on a Friday and when that day came, Fernando went on his lunch break to pick it up.”
“This was pretty much one of the biggest ‘wing it’ I had ever done. I had been thinking of proposing for some time. So when we found the perfect ring, we decided to buy it,” Fernando says. “The element of surprise was out the door so I had to come up with another plan. We sent the ring to get cleaned and polished (to stall for time). It was suppose to take a week so Terra had an idea when it would be ready to get picked up.
“On Friday, while we were at work, I received a call from the jewelry store to pick up the ring because it came back and was ready. I made an excuse that I was going to pick up some lunch and come back right away. I asked Terra what she wanted and she just wanted something to drink. I went straight to the store to pick up the ring and it was perfect. By this time, I have been gone for 20 minutes. Terra called me, worried, of course, because the restaurant is 5 minutes away from work, and when I answered I told her that I was a the jewelry store. It just slipped out. Then she asked if there was problem. I told her yes because they called and said it would take another 2 weeks because they failed to do their job (of course, it was a lie). I told her that I was made and told them if they don’t have it back within a week they should keep the ring and process a refund.
“Of course, this crushed her, but it was a necessary evil. They gave me the ring and I was already freaking out so I drove home to hide it. At this time, I was speeding just to get back to work as we’re only given a 30 minute lunch break and by now I have been gone for 45 minutes. I was about to pull up in the parking lot of our work when I realized I had forgotten her drink that she wanted. So I turned around to get her drink (you know since I already crushed her soul by telling her that she might not get her dream ring because the ‘didn’t do their job’). I made it through the day.
“That night I realized that I had given myself a one-week time frame to propose because I told her that if her ring was not back in one week that we will get a refund. I didn’t slept that night. My mentality was ‘how can it make her dress up without her having any suspicions?’ Then around 4 AM, I remembered the Sunday brunch at Iowa River Power restaurant. Then I remembered the pedestrian bridge and thought of proposing on the bridge.
“That Saturday we had our first snow. I realized if the snow stays until Sunday, it would be perfect. Everything was clicking into place. I invited her to get dressed up to go have a nice brunch. She agreed because she loves that place. I invited my two brother because I wanted them to be a part of it, but the main reason was to have someone to take pictures without being too obvious. Sunday came and I was freaking out. No one knew the plan, not even my brothers. We arrived at the restaurant and I asked her if we can take pictures on the bridge, because the snow had stuck and it looked awesome. She agreed and I told my brother to take pictures of us. As he was taking pictures, I was talking to Terra about how perfect the place looked. The I dropped ‘if i would have proposed, this would have been a perfect spot.’ She then told me stop telling her that and not to spoil it. But I kept going, ‘I would tell you how beautiful you look and that you made me so happy all these years. I would get on one knee like this’ as I was going to one knee. By then she was losing it. I took out the ring and I took her hand, then she started crying (a crazy amount). I asked her if she would marry me and she said yes. It was awesome and my brother was taking pictures to document the entire thing.”
Terra is a planner and Fernando is not so when he concludes that the moral of the proposal story is to never plan, just wing it, she rolls her eyes and says that’s not a good motto, even though it did work out for him that time. It only seemed fitting that we take their engagement photos back on the bridge where he proposed.
The dam is loud and there was no way I could give them posing instructions from so far away so I decided we’d have to use our phones, something I’ve never done before, but it worked! I called Fernando’s phone and we put both of them on speaker so that I could tell them what to do from half a bridge away.