Not being together physically didn't stop this groom-to-be from proposing to his girlfriend
This pandemic isn't just throwing weddings and other milestone events a curveball, it's also providing a challenge to men who want to propose to their lady loves. For entrepreneur Stephen Suico who's been in a long distance relationship with wedding photographer Regina Roque, it's kept him from executing his well-planned proposal that was set to take place amid the cherry blossoms of Japan.
But Stephen was determined and the lockdown also helped him realize that if there's a will, there's a way. Despite being unable to see each other--Stephen is based in Cebu and Regina is based in Manila--and not knowing when they might be able to see each other again, Stephen proposed to Regina via a video call on the eve of her birthday. Because "Amidst the uncertainty, I was still certain that I want to marry Regina."
Read the rest of their story below and how Stephen proposed to Regina with the help of technology and see their beautiful online announcement via a long distance photoshoot! (Eds--we love the handwritten proposal of Stephen cut out and put on top of their photos! And look for the last photo and that classic "engagement ring" shot for a giggle!)
How did you plan on proposing?
Stephen Suico (SS): Since 2018, Regina planned on bringing her photography team to Japan for a vacation during cherry blossom season, and I thought that was the perfect time to propose! I planned secretly with her team and we thought of doing it in Lake Kawaguchiko where cherry blossoms were abundant and Mt. Fuji is visible from the background. Everything was ready, our tickets were booked, our visas were ready, the ring was with me, and the team was ready to execute our plan.
Sadly, COVID19 disrupted these plans. But I think the most important part of proposing to Regina was asking for permission from her parents--not that her parents have the final say, but I know how much she values her family and I know she would appreciate it if I talk to her parents first. So part of the secret planning was actually to fly to Bataan from Cebu to talk to her parents. Happily, her parents were supportive.
How did you feel when you proposed? What were you thinking? Did you (Regina) have any inkling or clue?
SS: I proposed on May 20, 2020 and it was spur of the moment! It was the night before her birthday and we were on a video call. We were kind of emo because we don't know when we will see each other, and thought that the worst case scenario would be next year. But I committed to myself that this will be the year that I will propose. The next thing I knew, I got the ring, and surprised her on-screen with the ring and popped the question, “Will you marry me?” She thought it was a joke! She was even sad because she wanted it live so that she can wear the ring already, but I narrated to her that I’ve been planning this for more than two years, I collaborated with a lot of people to make the Japan plan happen, and even told her that I already talked to her parents, her siblings, and her mentor, Nicolai Melicor, and asked for their permission. Amidst the uncertainty, I was still certain that I want to marry Regina next year. If I’m not going propose now, then when? So I did it there and then!
RR: When I saw the ring, I'm like.. wait.. what.. what? What's that?!!! I was in denial! At the back of my mind I thought, "Why propose this way?!" It has to be special! But when he told me every preparation he did, most importantly, when I learned that he asked for my parents' permission, I started crying and that's all that mattered to me. It triggered the yes, ha ha ha! I was on a high during my birthday!
Can you tell us a about the shoot you did?
RR: As soon as I said yes to the proposal, Nicolai was the first person I spilled the beans to. Being the mentor, friend, and second mom that she is, she suggested that we do a special online announcement. So Stephen and I each took the photos ourselves with just our phones and all the graphic manipulation was amazingly done by her and Toto Villaruel.
Do you have wedding plans already?
RR: Still scouting but nothing concrete. My dream venue is still closed as we speak, guest list is another concern, and most importantly, logistics because his family will be coming from Cebu and Sydney. But what's sure is we want do it next year no matter the circumstances.
Stephen, any advice for guys proposing in this pandemic who might feel they have some new limitations?
SS: The circumstances will always change. There will always be another reason or excuse to put off the proposal. But if your declaration of love to your future wife is greater than these limitations, reasons, or excuses, you’ll find a way.
Photos by and courtesy of Stephen Suico and Regina Roque, graphic manipulation by Toto Villaruel and Nicolai Melicor
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