On her Facebook fanpage, Lily Jang posted a photo of Bryant as he proposed a life together. The magical backdrop of Bruce Munro's Field of Light added to the romantic once-in-a-lifetime moment that Jang never saw coming, but she knew exactly what to do.
"I thought we were going out for a quick glass of wine, but voila . . . holy engagement."
"I thought we were going out for a quick glass of wine, but voila . . . holy engagement," Jang tells CultureMap. "We shared a bottle of wine and cheese at The Grove, went outside to enjoy Field of Lights, and Kevin got down on one knee!"
For a newsie chick that describes herself as "such a dude" and is never at a loss for words, a video posted on Facebook by photographer Quy Tran shows the petite gal in tears and practically speechless — except for this:
"I said yes!!!" she writes alongside a bunch of hashtags including #FutureMrsBryant, #WeddingBells, #Ido and #LuckiestGirlAlive.
Bryant had thought of everything.
Two of his besties had saved a bench near the restaurant and arranged for Tran and his team to capture the proposal incognito. The chef led Jang to the street where her bestfriend, Kelly-Ann Clarke, whom Jang has known since grade school, greeted them with roses, champagne and a carriage ride.
After all that merriment, Jang thought they were headed home.
"Kevin drove me to Nara where friends were waiting under the assumption that it was my 'surprise birthday party,' until they realized we were newly engaged!" Jang says. "Food, champagne and dancing until our feet hurt rounded out the night."
Here at CultureMap, we are thrilled for the lovely duo, and we can take a little credit in the matchmaking. Jang appeared in the first edition of CultureMap contributor de Luna's "Most Eligible Bachelors and Bachelorettes" in August 2012, in which Jang describes her ideal mate as smart, kind, thoughtful, ambitious, giving and loyal.
"I'm no bridezilla . . . not that girl who grew up dreaming about the dress, so I want it to be low key."
De Luna, call her our "inhouse yentl," first introduced Jang and Bryant at CultureMap's "Last Chef Standing" competition in June 2013. Jang was then spotted dining frequently at Eleven XI, although the relationship was first kept private until too many people observed that they were hanging out casually often (read that: all the time).
Jang couldn't have asked for a better holiday present.
"It was all magical — really," she adds.
Although no date has been set, Jang says that the wedding might be next summer at Bryant's family's lake house in Arkansas, where his grandparents live and where he spent many summers as a young man.
"I'm no bridezilla . . . not that girl who grew up dreaming about the dress, so I want it to be low key," Jang says.