It was a simple question on OkCupid that brought Philicia and Seneca together.
Seneca put in his profile “What is the definition of insanity?” and Philicia responded “Doing the same thing over and over again.” Seneca shares, “From there we hit it off as we learned that we both like to debate and employ sarcasm in everything we do.”
When he was ready to propose, employed the help of two of Philicia’s closest friends and future bridesmaids to plan a romantic and creative dinner proposal that involved vocabulary cards!
For their engagement session, they took full advantage of the beauty of the fall in New York City by heading to Fort Tryon Park. Read more about their love story and charming proposal, and see their gorgeous autumn engagement session below.
- Couple: Philicia Castillo and Seneca Sanders
- Occupations: Philicia, Maternal, Sexual, and Reproductive Health Researcher; Seneca, NYC Department of Education Teacher
- Wedding date: June 26, 2021
- Wedding location: The Thayer
- Location of Engagement shoot: Fort Tryon Park
How we met
We met online dating via OkCupid. Seneca put in his profile “What is the definition of insanity?” and Philicia responded “Doing the same thing over and over again.” From there we hit it off as we learned that we both like to debate and employ sarcasm in everything we do.
No aspiring groom wants a lame proposal story. To give Philicia her ring inspired by Princess Diana, I employed the help of two of her closest friends and future bridesmaids. With their advice, we had an anniversary dinner at a restaurant in Brooklyn. The formal attire requirements (and price) of the restaurant confused Philicia and pushed her to the predictable question no one actually wants to know the answer to. “Are you proposing?” I called this question predictable because I planned for it. It just so happened that I was officially tenured as a teacher weeks before and told her that this was a celebration of that. With her questions eased, she enjoyed her meal.
Then, after dinner, and a quick “let’s do this” in the bathroom mirror, I handed her a stack of vocabulary flashcards and challenged her to see how many words she still knew. We used these to help her study for her GRE when we first started dating. As she flipped, she pulled a card saying “Will.” By the time she pulled “marry” and “me”, I was on one knee with a ring out. After calling my mother and telling her the news, she wanted photos of the proposal which I didn’t have someone take since it would arouse Philicia’s suspicion. So, we had to redo the proposal.
The engagement session
We had a (somewhat unplanned) Fall theme. We didn’t completely realize this until our jewel-toned wine and green colored outfits paralleled the natural yellows and greens of a late October afternoon. Managing to capture our most flattering angles, Sequoyah used green spaces, gardens, a unique rock formation, and a large tunnel to tell a visual love story. Somehow, she even managed to do it before the rain could ruin Philicia’s gorgeous makeup job.
What did you do on your first date?
Our first date began discussing our panic to look nice for each other. We learned of each other’s efforts as we discussed the stockings Philicia literally tore off in the bathroom before the date due to a run she just discovered and Seneca, in a last-minute decision to wear a blazer, wore part of his high school prom tuxedo. Nothing says love like embarrassing reveals over not-so-stellar Thai food. We then took a walk in a local park and when Philicia told me she couldn’t go on too many dates because she was studying for the GRE I told her our next date could involve some studying with vocabulary flashcards. Nerds in love since day 1.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple?
We enjoy watching hours of “This Is Us,” and crying over how much we relate to the show’s topics. This practice is also known as couples therapy.
How has wedding planning been so far?
Slowly but we have been moving along. COVID-19 has put many things up in the air but we are holding steadfast and have booked some stellar vendors. When you plan a wedding during a pandemic, the governors of the states from which your guests will be coming, become part of your wedding planning team.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day.
Philicia: Being able to commit to the love of my life and best friend and letting nothing stop us, even if we have to scale down the wedding further due to additional COVID-19 strains.
Seneca: This feels like the part where I say something about seeing her look gorgeous in her wedding gown as she approaches and fighting off tears. All this will happen, but that’s not what I’m looking forward to most. I’m looking forward to the moment it’s finally over where we can enter our room with privacy, knowing the stress is behind us. Besides, the bridal lingerie industry doesn’t exist because a spouse’s favorite article of clothing on a woman is the dress.
- Photography: @sequoyahdaniel
- Makeup: @IAMmadgeearle