She made sandwiches, he ate them. That’s how Tanya and Tyler met. “He started coming in every day to get a sandwich during lunch and was a huge flirt,” Tanya says of her now-husband. Eventually, they started talking. “He would always wait for me to be free so I could be the one to make his sandwich.” She used to work at Nugget Market and jokingly called him her “Nugget boyfriend.” This went on for about two months. For his part, Tyler says he tried to ask her out three times but Tanya never got the message. It was only when her co-worker spelled it out for her that she decided to write her number on the wrapper of his order. “We still have it,” she says fondly.

Almost four years later, Tyler planned the perfect surprise proposal. Tanya would have never foreseen a Valentine’s Day proposal because she thought it was corny. So, of course, that’s exactly what Tyler did. Tanya said she should’ve seen the signs—the fact that he insisted she did her nails and, more suspiciously, that his friend, Nelson, was calling his cell  phone…on Valentine’s Day…during a romantic night out. She brushed it off and they went to Roxy Restaurant and Bar. Tyler ate a little too fast and Tanya noticed. He then retreated to the restroom and after a little shadow-boxing and a glance at the mirror, said to his friend Nelson, “Let’s do this!” Once back, he whispered, “this is for real” in her ear and the next thing she heard was shouting. “I can be really loud,” he confesses. “Excuse me, sorry to interrupt your meals,” Tyler addressed the crowd. “This beautiful woman sitting here has been the love of my life…I want to spend the rest of my life with this woman and have a family with her,” he said sincerely. He then got on one knee, put the ring on her finger and asked her to marry him. She said yes and asked if the ring was real. It definitely was.

Their wedding took place at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento, and their reception followed at the Elks Tower Ballroom. It was a perfect blend of her Indian heritage and his American background that included a traditional send-off ceremony, Tyler tying a necklace around her neck and draping a gifted saree over her head, a symbolic rallying cry by her relatives and first dances. Indian food, brightly colored lehengas and ‘90s rap music completed this unique shindig. “I didn’t want to do anything trendy, no matter how cool I thought it was. I didn’t want to look back on our photos in 20 years and wonder—what was I thinking?” says Tanya; because what really mattered was just the two of them. “Now I feel like it’s us versus the world,” says a smitten Tyler. “And she’s on my side forever.” 

— Tara Mendanha