BY YOLANDA ALEXANDER and JESSICA WESTON

Matthew and Yolanda Alexander are preparing to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary this summer. In honor of Valentine's day, Yolanda shared with the Daily Independent an account of their meeting, marriage and happily-ever-after.


It all started by chance, with an event Yolanda did not want to attend. She had worked late and was tired, but her close friend Delano Mayor Tess Santiago insisted she go to the Delano Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner in 2000. Once there she was seated near Delano Community Development Director Matthew Alexander and the rest, as they say, was history.


The two had one of their first dates on the fourth of July. They went to Matthew's second floor office at city hall to get a better view of the fireworks. All was well until they realized the door to city hall had been locked behind them. It took the police department to let them out, but this did not put a damper on the relationship.


When Matthew and Yolanda were engaged on Feb. 22, 2002, it was a family affair – literally. His mother and sister were along for an elegant meal in San Francisco, when Matthew popped the question with a family heirloom ring of rubies and diamonds. The ring doubled as both engagement ring and wedding ring.


Almost exactly 15 years later, Yolanda is not shy about gushing about her husband.


“I just want to say that I am so blessed to have Matthew in my life.  He is the most wonderful man in the world. Thoughtful, loving, caring, and only wants the best for me,” she wrote in a piece submitted to the DI.


“From the time I met Matthew, I received a dozen red roses sent to my work place on many occasions. He has never quit doing this. It seems like it is always Valentine’s Day for me.”


The two were married at Delano’s St. Mary’s Church on August 30, 2003.


She described the ceremony: “Over 150 friends and well-wishers attended the church service and the reception at Bakersfield’s Petroleum Club. In true Philippine style I had an entourage of 14 bridesmaids. Matthew couldn’t decide on which best friend to be his best man so he delegated two co-best men. Naturally, in pursuit of a balanced pageant, fourteen ushers were assigned to escort my bridesmaids.”


In 2006 Matthew was appointed the Ridgecrest City Planner.


“I wasn’t very enthusiastic about leaving my family, friends and job in the Bakersfield area. Matthew’s plan was to take me to Ridgecrest for a Saturday overnight. In an effort to pull out all the stops in order to make a good impression Matthew choose Mon Reve for dinner. The restaurant choice greatly inspired me to positively embrace moving to the Mojave Desert. But my most profound incentive to move to the Indian Wells Valley was my employer’s offer to transfer me to Ridgecrest,” she wrote.


“We bought a new home in Ridgecrest in 2010. This home is full of love and fun.”


Matthew and Yolanda speak highly of the friends they have made since coming to Ridgecrest. According to Yolanda, “we have thoroughly enjoyed our marriage and life here and are pleased that we came, we wouldn’t have it any other way!”


The two renewed their vows on their 12th Wedding Anniversary in 2015 officiated by the late Rev. Father Rick Fierros, at the St. Mary’s of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church in Delano following an anniversary celebration at the Petroleum Club in Bakersfield.


Since Matthew left his job as City Planner in 2016, Yolanda wrote, “we have placed our energy into the Democratic Club and establishing and implementing the annual International Community Day event. In addition to volunteering for community activities, we travel extensively. Last summer Matthew and I visited London, Paris, Nice, Monaco and Venice.”


She described the trip in poetic terms: “I have dreamed to meet a good Prince and dreamed to go to Europe; so far the best trip I ever had was celebrating my birthday at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I will never stop dreaming.”
The two will be celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary this August. Fittingly, the theme is rubies and diamonds.
“Since all my dreams have come true, I am choosing the theme 'A DREAM IS A WISH YOUR HEART MAKES'” for the celebration, she wrote.


“I would want to marry all over again with the same man I married in 2003.”