Story by Alexandria Lindstrom | Photography by The Photography Smiths
In the great debate between comfy sweats paired with good old prime-time TV and the prospect of having to glam up and go out, the decision is usually firmly in favor of the former. Luckily for Adriana Hernandez and Glenn Lum, however, a case of FOMO and college-level worry about looking “lame” during Welcome Week 2013 at VCU won out; and after Adriana almost gave Glen the cold shoulder when he approached her at a party, the pair went from sharing some scintillating conversation and playing beer pong to exchanging numbers and setting themselves on a course bound for love.
That one night led to nearly five years of dating as the couple completed their college careers, with school transfers and new jobs taking them in different directions that put distance between them. Physical distance aside, however, Adriana and Glen were determined not to let their relationship fall by the wayside, and they used the time apart to deepen their growth both on the personal level as individuals as well as together as a couple. “Although that period of our lives was hard, the distance allowed us to progress separately as ourselves while developing a deep level of trust and respect for one another,” Adriana says.
Trust and respect are undeniably two of the cornerstones of a rock-solid relationship, and as time progressed, the pair seemed to grow closer and closer to cementing their bond forever. And when life began to settle down with plans for their futures more clearly in sight, they moved in together and started looking ahead at what they hoped their lives would hold. With distance no longer an issue, they expected that making time together would be less of a challenge; but their opposing work schedules presented quite the obstacle. As proverbial ships passing in the night, Adriana and Glenn soon realized the importance of being intentional in planning their time with one another so that their connection would not suffer; and it was with that intentionality that they booked a two-week vacation in February 2018 that would start with a five-day cruise to the Bahamas and end with a week spent in Venice and Rome.
Lovers’ paradise by all accounts, their each of their destinations had all the makings of the perfect backdrop for an epic proposal. It was only natural, then, that Adriana had high hopes that she would come home with the ultimate souvenir: an engagement ring. “I was super excited for the trip and hoped that Glenn might possibly propose,” she recalls. “I jokingly texted my best friend that if there was no ring at the end of this trip, it was going to be a long flight back to America!”
Fortunately for Glenn and Adriana both, the flight wasn’t long. So happy was her heart, in fact, that Adriana might easily have floated home on her own cloud, as Glenn had fulfilled her greatest wish. “We spent the first few days exploring Venice and taking in all the Italian culture, and on Valentine’s Day, Glenn took me out to a very romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant on the water. I took over two hours getting ready that night, filled with excitement at the idea that Glenn might propose to me. Glenn left me at the hotel to finish getting ready and came back with a beautiful bouquet of roses, and then we left for dinner. When dinner was over, I wondered, Why hasn’t Glenn gotten down on one knee yet? We decided to walk along the canals of Venice, with the stars above us, and then Glenn took my hand and got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. The rest of the night, I was filled with joy and could not stop looking at the ring on my left hand.”