A blood drive leads to a Christmas-time proposal
When Darcie Valenzuela first met the man of her dreams, Gino, she wasn’t completely certain he was interested.
She had other things on her mind anyway. Valenzuela, who works at the Texas City-La Marque Chamber of Commerce, was in the midst of donating blood, and her future husband was the phlebotomist.
“The UTMB mobile blood drive would travel to our church every six weeks, and I always tried to donate when they did,” she said. “So, I would see him and try to talk to him, but he was focused on doing his job. Still, I was a terrible flirt.”
Eventually, they struck up a conversation and found out they each had a lot of things in common, including a mutual love for painting and other creative pursuits.
Gino proposed a couple of years later.
“When we would talk about it, I always said that I didn’t care if he proposed on a random Tuesday over dinner,” Valenzuela said.
But, Gino went the whole nine yards before kneeling down before his future wife.
“I love Christmas and I had never seen the Dickinson Festival of Lights before,” she said. “When we got our picture taken with Santa, he had gotten a huge sign made that read ‘Darcie, will you marry me?’ and someone held it up in back.”
After some more romantic high jinks, Gino came out dressed as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and popped the question.
“And, the funny part is, it was on a Tuesday,” Valenzuela said.
How did you incorporate your own personal style into your wedding?
My husband is a really great cook. So, as a wedding favor to our guests, we made our own hot sauce and the jar had our logo on it.
Tell us the story of picking your wedding dress.
I had a budget — I’m sure every bride does. So, I refused to go over that. I liked the vintage, old school, classy vibe. I tried on a total of five dresses. The third one was the one that ended up being it. Whenever I walked out, everyone I brought was wowed by it. It was an emotional moment.
Any advice to brides about picking a dress?
Bring your closest lady friends with you, who you know and trust will give you honest and assuring opinions.
Favorite memory from your wedding day?
Oh, there are so many. My husband, whenever he was removing the garter, he, his brother and his best friend did a choreographed dance. Also, the food was really good. Carriage Caterers did an amazing job. All of it was good, but especially the mac and cheese and the cake, which was red velvet. Also, my sister’s speech — I’m a twin. She got married in October and I had to do her speech, so I knew about the pressure. But, hers was so good!
What are you enjoying most about married life so far?
Just having the person who supports you by your side no matter what. I don’t have the words. It’s just so satisfying. We’re about to buy our first home in Texas City, and I’m looking forward to starting a family.