A member since 2012, Vanessa Vlahakis, has been a friendly face in our WiO Community and we are thrilled to announce her engagement to her now fiancé John! Read all about how they met and the very touching proposal! 

How did you both meet?

  • John and I met through his older brother. I used to work with his brother Greg and one day I learned that Greg had a younger, single brother and like any single 30 year old woman would do, I casually mentioned that I wanted to see a picture of him and asked him to set me up with him! He showed me a picture, but refused to introduce us because we worked together and I dropped the conversation because I didn't want to make it weird for him at work. All the while, Greg told John that a girl he worked with thought he was cute! A few weeks later I woke up and saw a blank email from Greg to his brother that I was CC'd on. After I received that I took it upon myself to email John and we started talking for about 4 weeks via email before our first date. Later I found out that Greg did not mean to copy me on the email and the whole communication between John and I was a mistake! Best mistake he ever made in my opinion.

How did you know he was the one?

  • I didn't meet John until I was 30 (almost 31) so I had spent my fair share of my 20's dating very unimpressive guys in NYC and Chicago. I did Match.com, eHarmony, bad set ups by my friends, family and co-workers and so I guess when I met him I just knew something was different. I didn't know right away that he was the one. It took some time for me to realize that he was different. Everything with him was SO easy, so calming and I was able to be myself all the time. It was not how I felt with other guys and I just knew that I had to hold onto him! He balances me out in every way possible and I do the same for him. It's a very natural relationship and it's nice to have someone like that in my life. I feel very grateful.

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When did he propose?

  • John and I have been dating for 3+ years. I have obviously been hoping it was going to happen sooner than later but I genuinely was surprised by his proposal. We went to Mexico in early November and he popped the question!

How did he do it? 

  • We were vacationing at Secrets Silversands in Riviera Maya and on the second night we got dressed early and went to grab drinks at this bar on the beach. After about 20 minutes John pointed at this gazebo that was out on a pier on the ocean and said " we are having dinner there tonight for our anniversary!" It was such a nice anniversary gift (so I thought). The entire gazebo was decorated with candles on the floor surrounding the table and the table was decorated with rose petals and beautiful flowers. We had a lovely private 4-course meal and then after dessert the waiter came out and brought a bottle of wine that had sand in it and a message. He said it was a tradition in Mexico similar to a fortune cookie and we should read it. John unscrewed the cap of the wine bottle and attached the to the cap was a string which he pulled up and a letter was attached. He began reading the letter (which at that point I realized was not a Mexican tradition, but rather John had written the letter) and after he read me the letter he proposed! It was so exciting and so fun! I don't remember much of what he said because I was in total shock, but needless to say it was really amazing and something I'll remember forever. 

So…what are the wedding plans?

  • We are both pretty laid back people and did not want a big 200 person wedding in NY/NJ so we decided to invite our closest friends/family to Mexico to celebrate there. We are getting married in the Riviera Maya on June 7th,2014 and I can't wait! It's shaping up to be just the wedding we want. Very laid back and a fun time for all of our friends and family who will be joining us! 

How will you be getting ready for the big day?

  • There is so much to do before the big day, but the biggest goal for me is to just look and feel my best! I mean I have to look at these wedding photos for the rest of my life so I want to make sure I am the best version of myself! I'll continue with my work out routine at WiO and I know Kara, Heather, Aliyah and Monica will get me into shape with my weekly work outs BUT I will also just try to relax and not get to stressed because that will allow me to be in the right state of mind for the big day! I have to give a BIG shout out to fellow WiOer and the person who can help calm me down in an instant Meg McHale! Without her I would be a crazy bride, but she's helping me to keep it in perspective and just HAVE FUN with all of it!