Happy Monday and welcome to a new week! I have been waiting and waiting patiently to tell our proposal story after my Prince Charming popped the question one year ago. It’s also my sister’s birthday, so this day is like exponentially awesome! These stories are meant to be cherished. Don’t skip the details! You won’t want to forget anything. My fiancé and I are suckers for love stories so if you’re reading this, break out the tissues. I hope you enjoy our fairy tale =)
‘Mint To Be’
Once upon a time, there was a girl from New Jersey who traveled to the small Caribbean island of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos for a destination wedding. She had never been to the Caribbean, let alone ever expected to meet the man she would someday marry. He would be a Texan. She had never visited Texas. She had never even met anyone from Texas. That Jersey girl happened to be me, Ariana Infozino, and the native Texan was Hunter Travelstead. We met on the shores of Provo in 2012. The first words he ever said to me were “Do you like mint?” when he overheard me trying to decide what to drink for the evening. This question would start us on a journey neither of us could have ever predicted, and the famous ‘Limey’ from Seven Stars Resort would eventually become our signature cocktail at our wedding.
During this week in Provo, Hunter and DeWayne, Hunter’s father, immediately treated me like a long-time friend and showed me some of their favorite spots on the island. I knew this was one place I would never forget. When we parted ways at the end of the week, we had decided to each come visit the other once and see if we wanted to try and make something work. I was one of those girls who thought ‘I’ll never try a long distance relationship again (LDR).’ But here I was, without a doubt in my mind, that I couldn’t let this one slip away.
Hunter was the kindest man I had ever met (not to mention, not hard on the eyes). He never let me open a door to anywhere. ‘Yes mam and no sir’ were a regular part of his vocabulary. We both had a big love for travel, so naturally we met halfway across the country for various events and trips. He was always surprising me, planning romantic evenings for us…but romance can be fleeting. I knew he was ‘the one’ because his standard for compassion and faith were so high, I knew he would make me a much better person. And that he did. He encouraged me to follow my dreams and always do what made me happy. We both enjoyed discussing engineering together and he genuinely brought out the sweetest and most youthful side of me. We both loved our families, and getting to be a part of them was greatly important to us. We shared the same view of the world. There was never a doubt in my mind that I should be patient enough to let God bring us together in the same city-whenever that would be. It has never been easy, but it has never been questionable. After a year and a half of dating from Texas to New Jersey, and traveling thousands of miles back and forth across the country, God directed me to move to Dallas, Texas and work at a new company and be close to his family.
On August, 2013 we departed from DFW to PLS (for those of you wondering, the only direct flight leaves on Saturday on American) and arrived at Seven Stars resort on a Saturday. Our 2 year anniversary was this week. The day after we arrived, he had me believing that we were going to his favorite restaurant that night. He also had a mysteriously large suitcase and brought all of his camera equipment down for this trip. We had planned to do some photoshoots for my blog, and I tried not to think much of it.
All day he kept checking the weather on his phone. We were SCUBA diving the next day, which he pawned off as an excuse. We relaxed by the pool that day and then he disappeared to our room saying he had to finish a project. He was always planning surprises for me, so again I tried to put it out of my mind. Later on in the evening we got ready for dinner, and he escaped downstairs with a bunch of boxes and his camera. He said he had to go down to meet our dive masters (good friends of ours) for a drink and sign some paperwork for tomorrow. I didn’t object because I took more time to get ready. (The beach was so windy, I don’t know why I even bothered to curl my hair!)
Little did I know, while I was finishing getting ready for dinner, he was busy down at the beach- stuffing hand-written letters into a variety of glass-colored bottles and carefully placing them into the sand which led to our own private dinner, literally on the beach where we took a sunset walk our first day of meeting.
Hunter called me on the phone and asked me to ‘meet me at the place we first met’. I nervously headed down to The Deck on the beach and to my surprise the only thing waiting for me was a letter in a glass bottle asking me to take a walk on the beach.
As I skipped anxiously from bottle to bottle, reading all the heart-felt messages Hunter wrote to me, all I could think was ‘Where is this man?’ I obviously knew at that point, because there was a photographer taking pictures of me. (there ended up being two! these pictures are priceless to us and a friend shot them). It didn’t matter that I knew, I would still be shocked when I saw him down the line.
Each letter had some really nice words and memories about our relationship, but I honestly flew through them and just wanted to get to the end. (I read them every few months and they make me cry!) While I read the last letter as I faced the ocean, Hunter snuck up behind me and waited until I finished reading the note. It was so quite, I had no idea he was even kneeling behind me. The last line of this letter read “The first question I ever asked you was, ‘Do you like mint?’ If you’ll turn around, I would like to ask you a bigger question…” There he was on one knee asking me to marry him. After a few moments of shock, of course I said yes.
He shared with me that my ring was a family heirloom passed down for four generations and I completely lost it. I was not expecting a ring at all-let alone this insanely unique sparkler that he placed on my left hand.
The tent that I saw in the distance with the dinner table-that was meant for us. He had a special gift waiting for me there that means so much to me today. Our faith is our bedrock, and without it we would not work. He had a bible in my favorite color with my new future name engraved on it.
We spent the entire week celebrating with champagne, Snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and special dinners. I can’t wait to post pictures from the rest of our trip! It was so amazing to have that time together to dream of how would would want to get married (even if that plan did change) and not let any opinions influence our happiness for those moments. I guess it was ‘Mint’ to be.
When we arrived back in Texas, my entire family was waiting to surprise me at the Travelstead residence. This was actually the biggest surprise of all, as I know how difficult it is to get 5 people across the country for one weekend. We all celebrated that weekend the blessing to be joining two great families together, and I know our parents couldn’t be prouder. We are so thrilled to put together all the details for the perfect #OnceUponATravelstead fairy-tale wedding at the Ranch House at Vaquero Country Club on June 04, 2016. This next year will be full of many more adventures and memories.