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Adaeze Obiajunwa and Daniel Girgis' Engagement Story

Girgis proposed amidst a grove of Joshua trees during a weekend getaway in California.

Photograph by Heidrich Photography


Engaged Dec. 18, 2016
Ring Asscher cut diamond, custom designed at Kaufmann de Suisse
Venue Joshua Tree Grove, Mojave Desert, Calif.
Photographer Heidrich Photography

Sometime in the middle of the night in the Mojave desert, the flimsy nylon walls of Adaeze Obiajunwa and Dan Girgis’s tent began to quiver as an intruder scratched at it from the outside. “I’m going through the possibilities of what sort of animals are out there,” says Obiajunwa. “Is it some sort of bone-creature? A person? What’s worse?”

Turns out it was a coyote — or so the park ranger of Hole-In-The-Wall campground informed the couple the next morning after a night of very fitful sleep.

Girgis had been planning to propose sometime during the couple’s California weekend getaway, and he jokes now that the restless night was all on purpose. “I set up the worst night ever so that I would set myself up for success.”

The opportunity presented itself while the couple was driving past a picturesque grove of Joshua trees and decided to pull over.

Obiajunwa just thought Girgis was having what she called “a U2 experience” (a reference to the Irish band’s classic album The Joshua Tree). She did notice Girgis seemed particularly nervous, though. “I was like, ‘why are you so nervous? We are just walking among the trees,’ and then the next second he’s down on his knee.”


Photograph by Heidrich Photography


Obiajunwa and Girgis met after being set up through a mutual friend. Obiajunwa, who will soon be a registered psychologist, says she admired Girgis’s intensity and thoughtfulness when they met. Girgis is a general physician who credits Obiajunwa with bringing levity to his sometimes frenetic energy.

She says they often talked about what they wanted their relationship to look like. “Any sort of union, like love, takes dedication. I think that’s some- thing we are constantly aware of and working on,” says Obiajunwa. For them, getting engaged was an important indicator of commitment. “I love the idea of marriage and making a commitment and really fostering and strengthening that bond as you go through those years together,” Obiajunwa says.

Girgis says they both believe in the tradition of marriage, as do their families. “For us, it feels like this is an important extra step. I’m not sure if I can philosophically back that up, but it just feels different,” he says.


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