Sunday, May 19, 2024

Just meet the coach. This time, Sara Wacker Johnson had been telling her friend Julie Lorraine Estrada Ewart. After nearly two years, Ms. Estrada Ewart finally agreed to meet Robert James Bishop, Ms. Johnson’s son’s ice hockey coach.

The two, along with Ms. Johnson and her husband Ryan, met for dinner and drinks at Omni La Costa Resort in Carlsbad, Calif., on June 25, 2021. “I’ll always remember the date because it was the day before my son Evan’s 18th birthday,” Ms. Estrada Ewart said.

While drinking Cabernet that night, Ms. Estrada Ewart was giving Mr. Bishop a hard time for drinking Coors Light, and when they went back to his apartment that night, she discovered his wine collection. “I realized there was hope for him yet,” Ms. Estrada Ewart, 53, said. “We ended up making out like teenagers on his couch.”

Despite the teasing, when the evening ended, Mr. Bishop, 51, said, “I really wanted to see her again.” And he did, the very next day.

That night, June 26, he brought dinner to her place and unexpectedly met her sons who were supposed to be out for the evening. It turned out to be a good thing. “It was easier,” Mr. Bishop said. “No stress like if it had been planned.”

After they started seeing each other every day, seven days after their first date, Mr. Bishop met Ms. Estrada Ewart’s brother, sister-in-law, niece, and mother, while watching Mr. Graves’s band, Midnight Ride, perform at a sports bar called The Point in Dana Point, Calif.

Before they went to watch the band, the two had dinner. They sat at the bar and started becoming chummy with the couple sitting next to them. A half-hour into conversation they asked how long the two have been together. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Eight.’” And they said, ‘Oh, eight years?’ and we said, ‘Eight days.’ We already appeared as a couple in love,” Ms. Estrada Ewart said.

After two months of dating, Mr. Bishop started telling Ms. Estrada Ewart that he wanted to marry her. When she asked him why he had never been married before, “he said he never found the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with until me,” Ms. Estrada Ewart said. And in February 2023, Mr. Bishop moved into Ms. Estrada Ewart’s home in Vista, Calif.

On March 11, the Vista, Calif., couple went to the Beach House in Hermosa Beach for a weekend getaway. They arrived, and all Ms. Estrada Ewart wanted to do was lay on the couch and rest. But Mr. Bishop pulled out a ring and proposed. “I love you more than words can say,” Mr. Bishop said. “Will you marry me?” She said yes.

The couple were wed before 100 guests on Nov. 4 at the Mission Beach Women’s Club in Mission Beach, Calif. Steve Graves, Ms. Estrada Ewart’s brother who was ordained by American Marriage Ministries for the occasion, officiated.

The bride’s bouquet included the crown her mother wore when she got married and the tulle hair piece complete with butterfly clip that her late maternal aunt wore in the 1950s as the maid of honor at Ms. Estrada Ewart’s mother’s wedding.

Ms. Estrada Ewart said her wedding has been very emotional for her sons. She did a mother-son dance to Bon Jovi’s “Thank You For Loving Me” with each of the boys, both of whom escorted her down the aisle in place of her late father.

For their first dance, the couple began by dancing to “Love Like This” by Ben Rector. When the dance seemed to be coming to an end, Mr. Bishop dipped Ms. Estrada Ewart and the two began a choreographed Latin-style dance to “Suavemente” by Elvis Crespo. “His family and my family freaked,” Ms. Estrada Ewart said.

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