An intimate dinner may be the perfect way to propose marriage for most men, but not Hector Ramirez. When the Journal employee and Livingston resident decided it was time to pop the question to long-time girlfriend Arianna Herrera, he wanted to go big — 8 feet by 16 feet, to be exact.
“I wanted something straight up that would stand out,” Ramirez said. “The bigger, the better.”
Ramirez proposed to his girlfriend on Friday night by driving to a billboard with the words “Arianna, will you marry me? Love, Hector” printed on it.
Once the couple arrived at the public proposal, Ramirez went traditional and got down on one knee.
“I am so happy and shocked,” Herrera said, wiping away tears of joy. “I couldn’t believe it. I started crying. I didn’t know what to think.”
Despite not knowing what to think about the method of the proposal, Herrera said there was no hesitation in her answer to the question — “yes.”
Ramirez, Herrera and friends were on their way to dinner to celebrate Ramirez’s birthday on Friday when they all pulled over on the side of Golden State Boulevard near Golf Road.
“I thought his car broke down,” she said, laughing. “All I could think was ‘we are going to be late for dinner.’”
Then Ramirez got out of the car and pulled down a white tarp that was covering the billboard. He took Herrera’s hand and got down on one knee.
“The way he proposed, I didn’t expect it at all,” Herrera said. “I always know what he is thinking, but he surprised me on this one. I thought he was just getting out of the car to be funny because it is his birthday. But I couldn’t have pictured it happening in a better way. It is perfect, the way he proposed.”
Ramirez said he brainstormed many different ideas for this special moment and was happy he came across the billboard idea — something that will be up for four weeks.
Being an artist since he was little, Ramirez thought about painting a wall mural proposal, but couldn’t find the right place, he said. Then he thought of a movie advertisement, but that also fell through. He then stumbled upon the billboard and everything worked out.
“It was expensive, but love is priceless,” Ramirez said.
The two have been dating since 2005. Ramirez still remembers Herrera’s smile from that first date.
Herrera said she knew Ramirez was the one for her the moment she realized she could tell him anything and everything.
“He is my best friend,” she said.
Ramirez and Herrera are looking forward to planning their wedding and future together.
“I love him and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him,” Herrera said.
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