Alexa & Zachary


Alexa Novales


Zachary Hemminger

August 12, 2023

Fallbrook, CA

How We Met

When Alexa first started grad school at UCLA in 2019, she was very eager to make friends with fellow grad students. During the first week of school, she met Zach, who was a few years above her in the same program, and without even asking for his name, she asked if he was free for drinks-- and he surprisingly said yes! That same day, we went out to a local bar in Westwood (shoutout to Barneys for helping us fall in love!), where Alexa nervously asked Zach so many questions about grad school (zero flirting whatsoever). We made our way to the Santa Monica Pier that evening, where she showed him the one constellation she could recognize (in a failed attempt to impress him) and he told her about how beautiful the night sky is in his hometown in New York (which definitely impressed her). On our two-mile midnight walk back to Westwood, we found it so surprising that two people who just met could talk so effortlessly, and we knew very quickly after that we were meant to be.

How We Got Engaged

With the Covid pandemic beginning about six months after we first met, it seemed like everything in the world felt uncertain, but we were always certain of each other. In 2021, we were finally able to meet each other's families, and shortly after Zach met Alexa's mother that July, he purchased an engagement ring immediately. That ring sat in its box on a shelf for a whole year while Zach waited for the perfect time to propose (and of course Alexa had several requirements that he needed to check off before he could get down on one knee, so I guess it's also my fault I had to wait so long!). For our three-year anniversary, we took a weekend trip down to San Diego, where Alexa said to Zach during the drive, "what if someone steals my engagement ring from our apartment while we're on vacation?!" not knowing that he had packed it with him for this extra special weekend. We made a stop at our favorite place in San Diego, the Rose Gardens at Balboa Park, where Zach popped the question, and without hesitation, Alexa said yes.

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