When San Francisco couple Emily and Antonio started coaching girls’ basketball together in 2012, they never imagined they’d fall in love. By their second season, however, they were already a couple. “The first season we were friends and got along over basketball,” says Emily. “In our second year coaching together, the romance started to bud and he asked me out for our first date on Valentine’s Day.”
As the friendship organically grew into a romance, the couple found that they had a lot in common including a love of travel and great restaurants. Seven years later, Emily, an elementary school teacher, and Antonio, a member of the San Francisco Recreation, Parks, and Tourism department, still share a passion for helping others and both are dedicated to early childhood education.
Together since 2013, the couple got engaged at one of their favorite Las Vegas restaurants in November 2019. While Antonio admits he was nervous about proposing and even lost his ID before the trip, the proposal was picture-perfect and Emily was totally surprised. “The whole restaurant started clapping when she said yes, it was a really special moment,” says Antonio.
The couple originally planned to have a destination wedding in Tulum, Mexico, this year but as the coronavirus pandemic started to spread, they decided to put their plans on hold. Despite the sudden change, both remain hopeful that they’ll be able to have the wedding they’ve been planning.
A New Plan and a New Chance to Think About the Future
“We’ve gone through what so many other couples have gone through this year in trying to decide how to pivot from this,” says Emily. After considering a few different options, the couple decided to stick with their original plan of getting married in Tulum but to postpone the wedding until it’s safe for everyone to travel.
Because they’ve also learned to plan for the unexpected, the couple says they’re open to doing a small ceremony if travel restrictions continue into next year, and to have their friends and family celebrate their wedding anniversary instead.
Above all, Antonio and Emily are grateful for some of the positive things they’ve shared despite the challenges they’ve faced this year. During the height of the pandemic in March, Antonio provided daycare for the children of other essential workers while Emily brought meals to the family of one of her students whose parents had been affected by COVID-19. Emerging from that experience, they both feel they’ve learned valuable lessons and they’ve become even closer as a result.
Looking Ahead to Honeymoon Plans
While their wedding and honeymoon plans may be temporarily on hold, that hasn’t stopped the couple from getting a chance to celebrate their love. As one of the five couples included in the “Honeymoon for Heroes” program launched by the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, Emily and Antonio received a wonderful surprise in the form of a pop-up honeymoon experience inspired by their love of the outdoors.
To get a head start on planning their future honeymoon to Holbox, Mexico, the couple also received 200,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points that won’t expire and they qualified for Southwest Companion Pass®. Companion Pass is one of the most coveted benefits in travel as it allows one person to fly with you for free (not including taxes & fees from $5.60) every time you purchase or redeem points for a flight on Southwest Airlines. Companion Pass is good for travel for the remainder of the year that it’s earned plus the entire next calendar year. That can be a big cost savings when you take multiple trips.
Since Southwest is their airline of choice and Emily is a Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Cardmember, the couple already enjoys upgraded boardings, and they look forward to adding onto that. While their travel plans are still on hold, they’re excited for a special honeymoon in their dream location.
* If you’re thinking of traveling soon, you may want to consider a new Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card to help you earn the 125,000 points in a calendar year needed to qualify for the Companion Pass benefit. All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply, please visit Southwest.com/rrterms.