Soul Story: Natalie and Eric
March 9, 2015
When ERIC LEIDER decided to ask NATALIE SUN to marry him, he knew wanted the proposal to be SOULful. So he enlisted instructor ANGELA DAVIS, the Soul WeHo staff as well as her family and friends. She said "yes!" and now the happy couple share their Soul Story…
Tell us about the proposal!
ERIC: When I was thinking of how I wanted to propose to Natalie, I knew I wanted to make it fun and a day that she would never forget. She's not the type that is wooed by fancy dinners, luxury cars, or exotic getaways — but SHE IS all about her family, friends, and sweating! I did a little research and asked around on creative ways that people have been proposed to, and I came across the "scavenger hunt" theme. Because I'm a deep thinker and I liked the idea of making each stop significant in some way, I knew this was how I wanted it to go down.
I started planning close to November when I had asked Natalie's parents for their blessing, but I did not have all of the logistics figured out. However, the most important stop and the anchor holding this entire plan together was Angela's WEHO SoulCycle class. Natalie LOVES SoulCycle and I know that Angela is one of her favorite instructors! I also knew that Angela has been married for over 10 years (Instagram) and is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met.
My plan was to ask Angela if she could intentionally say things in class about "finding someone that makes you better," "surrounding yourself with people that help you grow," "love," and other inspiring things that may make Natalie think about me while in her ride. I couldn't think of a more fitting way for Natalie to start her day, on such a significant moment in our lives together. I also wanted Angela to give Natalie her first note/clue that would have instructions on how to go about her day, what's ahead, and where the next stop would be.
SoulCycle would be the first stop on the scavenger hunt, but Natalie wouldn't know until after she finished her ride (and got her note). This is because Natalie always goes to Angela's Friday 8:30 AM class with one of her close girlfriends, Eryn. I was able to email back and forth with Angela's assistant, and then I came down on a Saturday about a week before the proposal to wait for Angela after class, to steal a few seconds of her time. (She's a busy woman, and rightfully so - she's awesome!) Caitlin, the studio manager at SoulCycle WEHO , was super helpful in connecting me with Angela after her class. We chatted briefly and Angela was totally on board. Caitlin was so kind and offered to hold onto the first note/clue for a week, and give it to Angela on the day of that Friday ride - on Feb 27th, 2015 at 8:30 AM. They both gave me their cell phone numbers, so that I could remind them the night before. They were so great!
After SoulCycle, Nat would get the note/clue and it would lead her to Copa Vida, which is a local coffee shop in Pasadena. This place is significant because we did a latte art class there on our first Valentine's Day together. We had so much fun doing it together and that was such a special night for us, that I wanted to remind her of that day. I coordinated for Natalie to participate in that same latte art class, but she would be doing it with three of her best girlfriends. She would already be with Eryn (who was a big inside help with making this day run smoothly), and I also managed to have two of Natalie's best friends from San Diego come down to surprise her. At this point, Natalie already knew today was the day that she would be proposed to by me, but she didn't know when, where, and how. At this point, her day was all about spending it with her closest girlfriends and enjoying the day that I had planned for her.
The next note/clue sent her to this diner in Pasadena called Russell's. I planned for them to have brunch and mimosas there - after SoulCycle, they needed to fuel up! Nat and I had several meals there and would often go to a Farmer's Market around the corner on Sundays. The next note led Natalie and her friends to a Nail Salon in Pasadena. I got some inside information that having one's nails done on the day that one is proposed to is a must!
The next note led her to her apartment in Pasadena, which was decorated with rose petals, Hershey's kisses, tons of balloons, and another note. I also laid out the dress that I wanted her to wear for the next stop that the note/clue instructed her to go to. This note that she got at her apartment instructed her to wear the dress and meet at an address. That address was Arlington Gardens in Pasadena, which was where I would be proposing to her. However, the next clue led her to find "two young and beautiful women" at the edge of the garden to give her the last note/clue. Those two ladies were her grandmas, who came down from San Diego. They had the last note, that led her to me.
After the grandmas, Natalie met me at the top of the garden, holding a huge bouquet of flowers. On her walk up towards me, she had to follow a Sunflower path that I created, by sticking them in the ground. Nat's favorite flower is the Sunflower. We hugged and kissed, then I walked her through a little path that led to a secluded and beautiful area in the garden, where I would drop down on one knee and ask her to marry me. Once it all went down, we had a mini picnic to toast and celebrate, just us two. Then there was one more note that I pulled out, and it was to Natalie, but from her parents.
The note said that her "fiance" knew where we were. After that, I led Natalie down to the lower end of the garden, and there her parents were. We all embraced, they congratulated us, and we prayed. Tears were shed and they were so happy for their daughter and us as a future husband and wife.
Next, I told Natalie that we would meet her family and friends for dessert & drinks later, but now we would be going to dinner, just her and I. She totally bought it!
What really happened...we got sat for two at Il Fornaio in Pasadena, but close to when we were about to order, the manager told us there was a mix up to our seats, and that they needed to move us to a different section. The manager then led us through the restaurant, and then into a big room, and in seconds Natalie was almost in tears. We were led to our surprise engagement dinner, with all of her family, closest friends, and some of my family and closest friends. I coordinated this with Nat's parents, and it couldn't have worked out any better. We all had such a great time celebrating that night.
Wow! What was Natalie's reaction? Angela's? The class? Surprised?
ERIC: As soon as Natalie got her first note, I received a text saying "Babeee!!!!" but I didn't respond. I soon got a second text from her saying how much she loved me. I really wanted to text back, but I had to keep along with the plan, and keep her waiting until she finally saw me at her last stop - the Garden, where I would be waiting with a huge bouquet for her.
NAT: After I read the first scavenger hunt card from Eric, I broke down in tears and could not believe it was actually the day I have been dreaming of my entire life. The little detective inside of me, I thought for sure I would know when he would be proposing. And boy was I wrong! The first thing I did was text Eric, and of course, he didn't respond back to me alllll day! This built the anticipation especially because I wanted so badly to tell him everything I was thinking. I also called my parents on the way to my next stop and of course they already knew (since Nov. 14th) everything that was going down. It wasn't until after I read my first card when Eryn started asking me if I heard any of the parallels Angela was making in class. Everything was about unconditional love, sacrifice, and surrounding yourself around others who encourage you to be your best self. Her words are always so inspiring and motivating. It could not have been a more perfect way to start my day!
Let's back up... how did you two first meet?
ERIC: We actually met while working at lululemon athletica in Pasadena. I started working there as a Key Leader while also working as a personal trainer at a private gym nearby. I only worked at lululemon for about three months because I really got into personal training - I started working at Equinox, and have been there ever since. I wouldn't have traded those three months for anything, because that was were I first met Nat. We connected a month or so after I stopped working at lululemon, and totally hit it off. I played basketball in college and she played soccer in college - we both loved being active - and once we started to get to know each other on a deeper level, we knew there was something special between us.
NAT: Pasadena Lululemon!
Do you ever ride together at Soul?
ERIC: Yes — she rides more often than I do, but whenever I go, it's always with her! My first ride ever was with Natalie at one of Angela's WEHO classes. I was working as a manager-in-training at the WEHO Equinox, and she told me she was going with some friends from work — and I went for it. I knew what SoulCycle was all about, being in the fitness world, but had never tried it. I loved how inspiring and motivating Angela's class was, and it was a killer workout. I just need to work on my rhythm!
NAT: Yes, and when we do it's so great! We love pushing each other so much that sometimes I'll even lean over in class and turn his resistance up! I do ride every week.
What first brought you to SoulCycle?
ERIC: I wanted to make this day unforgettable for Nat, and by incorporating Soul into her day, I was showing my future wife how well I knew her, while at the same time allowing her to do something that she loves! If just asking in general, I've only heard great things about SoulCycle, and for me being in the fitness world, I always want to be open to all of the different ways that people are working out/training. I'm grateful that my fiance is such a Soul Enthusiast!
NAT: I was first introduced to SoulCycle through lululemon Glendale. I worked at the Pasadena lululemon for about a year and a half and then was promoted to work in the Glendale location in May 2014. What I knew about this team is that they LOVED to sweat at SoulCycle. I heard about the company briefly but never tried it out on my own. My very first ride with my new Glendale team was with Angela in WEHO. After class I am pretty sure I called my family in SD and two best girlfriends telling them they needed to come up to LA ASAP just so I could take them to SoulCycle. To this day some may call me crazy, but hey, I am a PROUD SoulCycle addict!
Any wedding plans?
NAT: Oh, the wedding plans have already begun! I joke because if you were to look at my "Say yes to the Dress" Pinterest board, you would think I already have everything planned out to a tee. However, I had no idea I needed to get on it right away. The morning after the engagement I met my family for breakfast and my mom asked if I knew of any venues I was interested in. I laughed, asking if I could enjoy being engaged for at least 24 hours. I quickly realized after calling two venues that same day, that wedding planning is no joke, especially if you want to get married in 2015 (which we absolutely do!). As of now, we have four venues lined up to look at this week, so hopefully we like at least one. Most likely it will be some time in August, September or October of 2015. We can't wait!
ERIC: I feel very confident that Nat is ready to plan! I've seen her Pinterest boards, and this girl has got everything covered. I also know that both of her parents are huge planners, so that helps. I'm ready and cannot wait to call her my wife!
Anything you want to add?
ERIC: Caitlin and Angela made this happen, and I can't thank them enough for how easy they were to work with. Caitlin even offered up a celebratory ride sometime, so I will have to take that on with Nat very soon! I also greatly appreciate your interest in our story! SoulCycle rocks!
NAT: I cannot say thank you enough to the master creator, my fiance Eric, for the amount of thought, time, energy and love he put into the most magical day of my life! He knows me so well that he knows my day would not have been complete without a SoulCycle ride. Thank you, Eric, I am SOOO excited to be your WIFEEE!
Do you have a SoulStory to share? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!