When Sgt. Adrian Yanez left for another tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was in for a bigger surprise. His fiance, Marcella Botero, gave him the word that he was about to become a father.
That was when they became the first couple in New Jersey to be married via proxy, or to be more precise, via Skype. Yanez's father stood in for his son with Marcella, in the Colonia section of Woodbridge where he lives, while Sgt. Yanez repeated his vows to his fiance while entrenched in Kabul.
That wasn't the only first for the young couple, who hope to repeat their wedding vows - this time in person - when Sgt. Yanez comes home in a few months to meet his new daughter.
They found out they won third place in a wedding contest sponsored by Venus Jewelers in Somerset called 'Operation: Tie the Knot.' Marcella and Adrian told their military love story, about the impending arrival of a new baby, their proxy marriage, and their hopes to celebrate it in person when Sgt. Yanez returns home.
Sgt. Yanez sent a video, posted by the jewelry store, urging people to vote for them on the Venus Jewelers' Facebook page. The couple so charmed the store's followers that they received a prize package that includes a wedding reception at Galloping Hill Caterers in Union.
George Thomas, Galloping Hill owner, was so touched after reading about the couple’s story that he gave them a Sunday wedding reception for 125 guests upon Yanez's return to the US. The prize package, valued at $12,356, also includes matching 14k white gold wedding bands courtesy and matching Victorinox Swiss Army Watches, said Kimberley Bronsky of Venus Jewelers.
“We are looking forward to the day when we can say our ‘I dos’ in front of our loved ones. Waiting at home for my soldier to come home is not easy, but being pregnant and waiting for my baby’s father to come home from war is even harder,” said Marcella in a statement.
“Just being a part of the top ten finalists felt like a dream, to come in third was a completely wonderful experience, and now to know that because of it we will be getting a gorgeous wedding reception, is too much for us to ever truly express our thanks for," she added.