A Proposal Story: Mitchell and Marine

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Connected at their roots and destined by fate, Marine and Mitchell's story is an Armenian fairytale indeed! On April 24, 2017, Mitchel proposed to Marine at the Armenian Genocide Monument in Fresno, California. We spoke to Marine and she shared all the details about their love story and the significance of their proposal. Here is our interview with Marine:

Marine and Mitchell

All About Marine & Mitchell

Q: Tell us about you as a couple and how you met:

Marine: Mitchell is a 3rd generation Armenian, born and raised in Fowler, California. I was born in Yerevan, Armenia and immigrated to Fresno, California at the age of six. We met on April 24, 2015, in the middle of the Armenian Genocide Monument, at California State University, Fresno. The monument had just been unveiled for the campus and community, so it was a very special day.

Marine and Mitchell

We had noticed each other at a previous event earlier in the month – a screening of a documentary on Fresno Armenians at our local PBS station—but we didn't talk until the 24th. It was my Senior year in college and he had recently moved back from Los Angeles, where he worked as a journalist for Billboard Magazine. I was the president of the Armenian Students Organization and had just got done speaking and concluding our annual commemorative program. As the crowd of Armenians slowly dwindled, I noticed Mitchell hanging around the monument. He approached me when I was standing with other Armenian Students Organization members and offered to take a photo of us. This was his smooth way of starting up a conversation...and it worked! We met right by the symbol of eternity and the pillar representing the province his ancestors came from – Bitlis. After taking the photo, he introduced himself and we started talking and getting to know another. I actually ended up leaving the monument before he had a chance to ask for my phone number, but he found me on Twitter and a couple of days later, we went on our first date at a quaint little coffee shop.

Marine and Mitchell

The photo that Mitchell took!

We visited the monument quite a few times throughout our relationship. During one of our visits, he gifted me the Alex and Ani bracelet with the same symbol of eternity found in the center of the Armenian Genocide Monument as a way for me to always remember the role of the monument in the way we met.

Alex and Ani Bracelet

Alex and Ani bracelet: Endless Knot II on Amazon
(This is the closest one we were able to find to the Eternity design)

All about the proposal

On Monday, April 24, 2017 at the end of the evening's Armenian Genocide Commemoration Program, at the Armenian Genocide Monument in Fresno State, right by the pillar of Bitlis, where they met exactly two years ago, Mitchell asked Marine to marry him!

Marine and Mitchell

Q: How long was he planning for?

Marine: Mitchell knew he wanted to incorporate the Armenian Genocide Monument in his proposal because it was such a special place for us, but he wasn't set on the date until a few days before April 24th. He picked up the ring on the Thursday before the proposal, and didn't wait long after he got it to pop the question!

Q: How did he keep the proposal from you?

Marine: He was very silent about it all. A day before the proposal, he asked my father and brother for permission to marry me. It didn't cross their minds that he would propose so soon after. His parents were aware that he was planning to propose on the 24th, but aside from them, no one else knew until last minute. He didn't want to risk others finding out and accidentally giving away the surprise.

On the day of the proposal, he wanted to wait around a bit until the big crowd of people left, and the monument was empty for us to enter. That explains why he was waiting around for such a long time. I was surprised that his parents were hanging around for so long too, and even told them that they should go home. Their excuse was that they wanted to say bye to a couple of people but now I know why they were really sticking around in the cold and windy weather! He actually told his best friend and my best friend minutes before he was going to ask the question that he was going to propose. Thankfully they understood what was going to happen very quick and jumped to camera duty.

Q: Were you suspicious at any point?

Marine: It never crossed my mind that he would propose on that day because even though it is a very important day in my heart, he always told me our proposal would be intimate and private, with no one else around. This was definitely the opposite! He caught me by surprise! However, I did notice something was up when he brought me over to the Bitlis pillar in the monument and everyone else just stayed back. That's when my suspicion kicked in!

Q: Were there any challenges or uncalled surprises?

Marine: The weather! It was an extremely windy day and everyone outside was shivering from the weather. I was eager to head back into shelter after the Commemorative Program, and couldn't understand why he was taking his time and hanging around when it was so windy and cold.

Q: Describe your feelings when he proposed.

Marine: The moment I understood he was about to propose I felt shocked. I knew he would propose one day, but I didn't know it was going to be right there and then. He took me by complete surprise. I thought to myself "I can't believe this is happening" as I watched him get down on his knee and ask to marry me. I went from disbelief, to happiness, to tears, and finally bliss.

Q: Do you remember what he said when proposing? What you said?

Marine: He asked me if I remembered where he first met me and took my photo. He recalled the day we met, and said very touching words about how his life has changed since I came into it. I remember my response to his proposal just being "Oh my gosh...oh my gosh..." My brain wasn't processing the situation well enough to say yes. He kindly reminded me, "You're supposed to say yes" and I did. And the ring went on!

Here's a video of the proposal: 

Q: Did you go ring shopping before?

Marine: Mitch and I went to look at rings earlier this year. I was more excited about the idea of a ring and less about the design. He, on the other hand, was more intentional. He made sure I took note of what specific styles I liked and what details I wanted on my own ring. We both had a shared vision of a ring that was timeless. Something that would capture our own personal styles. I am also a big fan of vintage rings. After looking at countless designs online and in shops, he had the ring custom made. I remember watching him obsess over drawings of the ring he wanted to create for me. He still has all the sketches, and I plan to keep them and show our future children his work. He incorporated all the elements I loved – a three stone ring that tapers up, with peekaboo diamonds, and an engraved pattern. He pays great attention to detail, so I knew whatever he had made would be perfect. The ring is a thousand times more special to me because of all the time and effort he took into designing it and having it made. I absolutely love it.

Marine and Mitchell

Marine and Mitchell

Q: Besides being your first meeting place, does the Armenian Genocide monument have any other significance to your relationship? 

Marine: For us, meeting in the middle of the monument felt like fate. We often spoke about how our ancestors would be happy that on such a dark day, we were able to bring light and positivity through our love. More than 100 years ago from the day we met, the Ottoman Turks were determined to get rid of our people. They didn't want any of us to survive, to succeed, or to find love and be happy. Yet on the anniversary of that dark day, our meeting showed the world and those who hurt the Armenians that their attempts were unsuccessful. Meeting on this day is a symbol of the resiliency of Armenian people, the strength of our spirits, and our determination to find happiness despite any adversity. Some may say it is a day of mourning, a day that Armenians shouldn't be happy. We should always honor our ancestors. I think the best way to do it, the best statement to the world, and the best revenge, is survival and happiness. {See our movie review for The Promise... "our revenge will be to survive."}

Q: What's next? Do you have a wedding date yet?

Marine: We don't plan to have an engagement party, but we do hope to have our engagement blessed in Armenia. I always dreamed about travelling back to Armenia with my soulmate, and it's hard for me to believe that this dream is coming true. It's very exciting to think that we are soon going to walk in our homeland together. I look forward to introducing him to my relatives in Armenia and taking him to all my favorite spots.

As for the wedding, we're holding off until we both finish school, which will be by next May. I'll be graduating with my Master's degree in Educational Leadership and Administration and he will be graduating with his teaching credential. We know that we would like an outdoors wedding most likely in the spring or fall.

Mitchell tells me that my presence in his life allowed him to get a better understanding of his Armenian heritage. For example, within a few months of dating, he got to experience the traditional style of Armenian weddings. I was to be a bridesmaid in one of my good friend's weddings, and they asked if Mitch would like to be a groomsman. Having a very limited understanding of the traditions and ceremonies that go in a typical Armenian wedding, Mitchell learned quite a lot and was very open to the experience. We've talked about how we'd like to incorporate many of the traditional elements into our own Armenian wedding and both of our families can't wait for the day to come!

Special thanks to Marine and Mitchell for sharing their proposal story with us.

We got a sneak peak of the couple's engagement photoshoot in Armenia by Lumen Wedding Photo and Video Agency. Here is a one shot teaser! We'll feature their engagement photo shoot on our blog soon!

Marine and Mitchell Engagement

Congratulations Marine and Mitchell on your engagement. Your story is close to our hearts! We can't wait for your big day!

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