Can't fight that loving feeling
How chance brought two strangers together at local jewelry store
By Justin Formanek 11/21/2012
Two years ago, Kara Erickson was leaving Ventura and moving back home.
“I was going through some personal stuff at the time,” she said. “I was born and raised in San Diego. That’s why I was going back home to where all my family was.”
That was the plan, at least, until a last-minute farewell celebration with co-workers fell apart and everything changed.
Erickson, 27, and Chris Torrez, 32, were the only two employees from Jewelry Couture to show up for dinner and drinks at the nearby Wood Ranch. Erikson was leaving her position as a manager, having spent 10 years in the jewelry business. Torrez, a federal police officer at Port Hueneme Naval Base, was moonlighting as a part-time security guard for the store.
“No one else showed,” said Erickson.
It was an awkward situation. Neither one had even spoken to the other before that night.
“I looked at him and said, ‘Are you OK? Do you want to have dinner or do you want to go home?’”
Torrez stayed. The two had dinner and became friends.
The relationship quickly took a romantic turn and the couple has carried out a long-distance relationship, between San Diego and Ventura, for the past two years.
On Sept. 5, they got engaged.
After spending the afternoon at Sea World San Diego, Erickson and Torrez had dinner and took a stroll along the beach across from Coronado Island before settling down on a blanket beneath a crystal clear pre-autumn sky.
“We began talking about our future together, which we often do,” Erickson said.
Then Torrez presented a ring from the very store that brought them together and proposed. Erickson, without hesitation, said yes.
The question, now, was where to get married?
The couple was short on money and that really left them only two options: have a small wedding or elope.
One thing was clear, however; they would certainly be purchasing their rings from Jewelry Couture. They did, and had them custom designed by one of the store’s owners, Shahar Sehati.
It was during this acquisition that a unique opportunity presented itself.
“We started talking to them and Shahar was like, ‘Well, why don’t you guys just get married here?’ ” said Erickson. “That’s kinda just what happened.”
After a chance meeting and an improbable two-year long-distance courtship, the couple had come full circle, right back to the very place everything started.
It was hard to believe.
“If someone had told me that, in two years, I was going to get married here at the store and I was going to end up moving back up here, I would have laughed, “ said Erickson.
Erickson has recently moved back to Ventura in preparation for the wedding, which took place in the middle of Jewelry Couture’s 14,000 square feet showroom this past Sunday.
It was a joyous and heartfelt affair as Erickson and Torrez exchanged vows among a modest crowd of 70 close friends, family and co-workers from both the store where they met and the military base where Torrez also works.
Nevertheless, Erickson and her new husband remain optimistic about the future and have a sense of humor regarding the near heavy-handedness with which fate seemed to bring about their eventual union.
“Chris and I joke around about it. We’re like, ‘Isn’t it crazy how things just, you know, catch you all in the face?’ ”