Diary of a Destination Bride – Meet Christel & Daniel!

“We’re best friends and we both still cannot believe how one phone call turned into over a decade of being in each other’s lives.”


This morning our blog is being graced by our newest Diary of a Destination Bride Christel who is marrying her high school sweetheart Daniel at our gorgeous Sunset View Terrace wedding venue in Santorini in September 2017.

The bride to be will be sharing her wedding planning experience on the blog on the run up to her big day so keep your eyes peeled for lots of wedding talk! But before we start talking weddings, we wanted to find out a little bit more about Christel and Daniel, their engagement story and why they have chosen to marry on the beautiful Greek Island of Santorini! Enjoy x

Tell me a bit about yourself and your partner…

My name is Christel, a Filipino American who works in Fashion Merchandising. In my spare time I also run a lifestyle blog (www.stelavie.com) where I’m able to share my two greatest passions, travel and fashion.  I’m loud, goofy, outspoken, enjoy dressing up and love sweets.

Daniel is a mix of Filipino, Mexican and Japanese American. He’s a Foreman in the refrigeration trade and spends much of his free time cultivating his hobbies of tattoos, classic cars and riding his Harley Davidson. Daniel is funny, outgoing, loves fixing things, burritos and Samurai movies.

We both enjoy art, great food, live music, travelling the world and the romance of vintage things and times. One of our favourite things to do is spend time with our families and friends, whether it be movie nights at home or adventuring in distant lands together.

diary-of-a-destination-bride-meet-christel-and-daniel (3)

How did you meet?

As crazy as it sounds we’ve been dating for 13 years! We met during our senior year in high school through mutual friends. He was a family friend of a girlfriend from high school and I actually met his mum before I met him! My best friend, and maid of honour who also knew him and said to me one day, “Christel, I met this guy today that you would really like!”. We saw each other at parties, school dances and he asked for my phone number a couple times and mentioned he was interested. (Although if you ask him, he will say I was the one hitting on him first.) As it turned out, one day my other friend told me, “Hey Daniel’s been asking about you, today’s his birthday you should wish him happy birthday!” So I ended up doing just that and we’ve been crazy for each other ever since!

We’re best friends and we both still cannot believe how one phone call turned into over a decade of being in each other’s lives from every day after. So you can imagine that getting engaged after 13 years there was simply one reaction, “Finally!” Although waiting 13 years to take this next step seems incredibly delayed to most, for us, it actually feels like the perfect time. We were high school sweethearts and grew up together in so many ways. We were never in any rush and always preferred to do things on our time and now we feel the time couldn’t be more perfect.

diary-of-a-destination-bride-meet-christel-and-daniel (2)

And your engagement story? How did he pop the question?

It was a warm August day in San Francisco, Daniel had planned a picnic for us, which wasn’t too out of the ordinary as we’d often enjoy picnic dates together. He took me to a great local market that sold quality cheeses, charcuterie and wine to pick out the day’s snacks because he knew it is one of my favourite things to do. As I gawked over the truffle cheeses and salamis, I thought it was odd he wasn’t steering me away as he usually does when my eyes drew close to the priciest treats. Even when I picked out a tiny $75 jar of caviare.

Once we were ready with our packed goodies, he drove us to The Palace of Fine Arts, my absolute favourite place in all of San Francisco. In the moment I thought that was odd since it wasn’t one of our usual picnic spots. We got comfortable under the shade of a tree and enjoyed our meal and a bottle of Rose. As he popped open the second bottle of champagne I wondered why he was quiet and not pouring me a glass. “Um are you going to pour me some?” I said. “Just hold on” he said. In the moment I thought that was so weird. In hindsight I realize he was waiting for the large group of loud high school students behind us to finish packing up. As soon as they did he said to me, “Babe, you know I hella love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you right?” I jokingly answered, “Well DUH, why wouldn’t you?!” He told me that no matter what happens he would never stop trying to show me how much he loves me and will never stop trying for us. Then he got on both knees, not one knee, as he was so nervous, but BOTH knees! Then said, “Will you marry me? and held out the gorgeous ring! I felt like I had thought about how this moment might happen many times yet in that actual moment I was still in shock and just smiled big and said YES! Still nervous, he even followed it up with an, “Are you sure?” After his nerves had calmed we shared a champagne toast and a nice gentleman came up to us and said he saw the entire thing and thought it was so awesome.

diary-of-a-destination-bride-meet-christel-and-daniel (1)

Daniel was then eager to tell me the story of how he chose my ring and the events leading up to that day. A month prior my sister asked me to accompany her and our younger sister to pick out a new watch her husband was buying for her anniversary. Being my usual self, I tried on all sorts of jewellery while we were there, including several rings. Little did I know both my sisters and the jeweller were making careful note on what I had my eyes on. Since I was playing dress up, I asked to try on a gorgeous emerald cut ring, much larger than what I knew I would probably ever have. Even the jeweller told me, “Oh wow, you like THAT one? That is a dream ring!” So much to my surprise on that beautiful day when that very ring was in Daniel’s hands!

He then told me that earlier that month while I was in New York for work, he stopped by my parents house to properly ask their permission. They gave their blessings and in true fashion my mum told Daniel he also needed to face time my 92 year old grandmother in the Philippines to get her blessing as well. So he did just that, showed my Lola the ring and got her happy approval along with my uncle who was with her, but then my mum called to his attention that since he had gotten the approval of one uncle, it was only fair he did the same with her other two brothers as well! So there he was, face timing all my relatives in the Philippines to ask for their approval. Daniel also told me that as he was driving that evening, from his heart he also asked my late grandfather for approval and told him he would always take care of me, and at that very moment, my grandfather’s favourite song “What a Wonderful World” came on the radio, which was an extremely odd choice as the radio station he was listening to played only reggae music.

What made you choose to get married abroad over a USA wedding?

Weddings in San Francisco are among the most expensive in the country. We both have very large families and even bigger groups of friends, and we always preferred to have a more intimate wedding so that we can enjoy our special day with those closest to us. We wanted to do something different and the idea of our special day turning into several days with our loved ones in one great vacation sounded beyond amazing. We’ve also attended a few destination weddings and have left with unforgettable memories. One of our favourite things about each other is pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones to learn and discover new ways of enjoying life and we wanted to share a bit of that feeling with our guests as we urge them to embark on this destination adventure with us.


How did your families react when you announced you were getting married abroad?

Many friends and family said they could only expect something of that level from us since we both love to travel and have been making it a point to do so in the recent years. Some close friends and family initially thought we were out of our minds, considering the distance and cost of course. While others were immediately eager to join us on this adventure. Now as the beauty of the island hypnotizes both family and friends, and our promise of life long memories soaks in, the excitement is building all around.

You’ve chosen to get married in Santorini, was this an easy decision or did you look at several other destinations before choosing?

We considered several options including Japan, Bali, France, The Philippines and an African Safari. We literally looked at a world map and started calling out countries we wanted to consider.

We preferred to choose a place both Daniel and I had never been before. We ultimately narrowed down our choices by considering a location most of our guests have also not visited and most importantly want to visit. The location needed to be convenient, practical and fun for all our guests. Initially we felt Europe was out of our budget and thus out of the question. As we first began to research Santorini, the images immediately took our breath away. After seeing a few photos of weddings held in Santorini we both instinctively said, this is it. There’s no need to keep searching.

Who else is looking forward to reading all about Christel and Daniel’s wedding plans on the run up to their big day!? We sure are! Leave your comments in the box below and don’t forget to share!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *