It’s a symbolic gesture of love and commitment known the world over. When someone gets down on one knee in front of another, there’s little doubt what will come next.
For two hopeful romantics, their local Starbucks stores were the perfect backdrops for marriage proposals and Starbucks partners (employees) played a role in the customers' declarations of love.
‘I saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen at Starbucks’
It was August 24, 2011. Jordan Yanco was on a coffee run to get his coworker a skinny latte when he encountered his future wife.
“I saw the most beautiful girl I had ever seen at Starbucks,” said Yanco, a New York City-based dialect coach for actors and English as a second language (ESL) speakers. “I knew that if I didn’t say something, she would disappear and I would never see her again.”
Yanco broke the ice by complimenting Nadia Udeshi on her colorful pedicure and kept the conversation going as they waited for their beverages.
“We discovered that we had similar interests,” he said. “Before leaving Starbucks that day, we had scheduled our first date.”
Yanco and Udeshi grew close over the next several years. They frequented Starbucks locations across the city, including the location where they first met near the Grand Central Terminal. When Yanco decided it was time to ask for Udeshi’s hand in marriage, he knew that Starbucks had to be involved.
“I returned to the Starbucks where we first met and asked one of the baristas to help with the proposal to make this an unforgettable moment for Nadia,” Yanco said.
“I have seen a lot of customers meet for the first time in my store, but I’ve never seen a proposal,” said Willie Almonte, Starbucks shift supervisor. “I was really excited and proud to have a chance to help Jordan.”
Yanco met with Almonte on four separate occasions to devise a plan. On September 1, they put it into action.
“I took Nadia out for a long dinner not too far from the store,” said Yanco. “To my complete surprise, she suggested that we go shopping after dinner and wanted to go to Starbucks first because she was thirsty. It was amazing how my plan just fell into place.”
After arriving at Starbucks and ordering her drink, Udeshi received a special beverage that Almonte created, which simply included a note attached to a tea bag string in a cup. The note had the words “open me” on the outside and “look down” on the inside. As Udeshi followed these directions, Yanco got down on one knee and recalled saying, “It all started with your feet [referring back to his opening line about her pedicure when they first met] and here I am now. I want to be your husband and spend the rest of my life with you.”
The two will get married in May 2018. They have already started thinking of ways to incorporate Starbucks into their nuptials, such as serving Starbucks® coffee with the wedding cake.
“Starbucks affects us every time we see one of the company’s stores,” said Yanco. “We can’t walk by a Starbucks without thinking about that other wonderful layer. It’s not only the place where we met, but it’s now the place where we started living the rest of our lives together.”
‘Proposing at Starbucks was a no brainer’
After meeting online and having phone conversations for three straight weeks, Dwight Thomas, Jr. and TaShauna Wardsworth agreed to meet for the first time at a Starbucks in Texas.
Thomas, an industrial networks architect, made the one-hour drive from Sugar Land to Tomball every weekend to see Wardsworth after that first date. It didn’t take long for Thomas to decide that he wanted to marry her and Starbucks was the perfect location to pop the question.
“Proposing at Starbucks was a no-brainer,” he said. “I wanted it to be special and different. Starbucks is the place where we met and now visit every Sunday on our way to church.”
Thomas spoke with Sam Compton, manager of the Starbucks he visits with Wardsworth, and asked for help with the proposal.
“I was honored to have a part in such a great love story. Starbucks really is a place that brings people together,” said Compton. “I worked with Dwight for a week to plan this memorable moment and all of the baristas in the store came together to make the night truly magical.”
Thomas has family night with Wardsworth and her mother every other week, so he used this occasion as a cover for his big plan. On October 28, the trio headed to the movies, but not without stopping at Starbucks first.
“Shaun fussed with me because I was driving a different route to the movie,” said Thomas. “She fought me every step of the way until we got to Starbucks and she saw what was going on. Then she was blown away.”
Thomas invited an acoustic guitarist and saxophone player to serenade his soon-to-be-bride with one of their favorite songs. He then got on one knee and asked Wardsworth to be his wife. After she said yes, each barista in the store presented her with a long-stem pink rose.
“I didn’t know how it would actually look, I only had a vision,” said Thomas. “Proposing at Starbucks with special music and family surpassed anything I could have imagined.”
The wedding will take place in April 2017. Thomas is still reliving the moment he proposed to Wardsworth and has advice for those who are thinking about their own engagement.
“Dare to be different. It doesn’t have to be a traditional proposal,” he said. “I chose to take some of our favorite things and put them together and I came up with something awesome.”