Local lovebirds get engaged with a Rose Ceremony of their own
Story By Kelby Vera | Photo by Nikki Ryan Photography
For Alexis Wirth and Joe Talarico, Playa Vista is more than home — it’s where their fairytale love story began … and still continues every day as they walk their dog Everly around the neighborhood, catch a movie or eat together at one of their favorite spots along Millennium Drive.
But their romance might never have happened without a trip to the gym back in 2014. Then-single Alexis had decided it was time to focus on herself, so she joined the local LA Fitness and invested in a personal trainer. The situation was business-as-usual until her original trainer got promoted and Alexis was passed off to a new guy — Joe. At first she was annoyed at being ditched, but Joe made everything more than all right.
“At first I was kind of disappointed,” she recalls, ”but then when I saw who he was, and I was like ‘Well, hello.’”
There was instant chemistry, but the pair kept things professional.
It seems the universe had other plans for them, however. Alexis kept running into Joe at the grocery store and other spots around town. They exchanged phone numbers because of Alexis’ busy schedule, and soon conversations about the gym turned into chats about real life.
Bonding over their half-Filipino heritage, love of “The Bachelor” and quirky senses of humor, there was a spark.
Joe, a gentleman of the truest form, knew he couldn’t be the first one to make a move. Luckily, Alexis didn’t hesitate to take the first step.
“After about a month [of training together], I just said: ‘Are you going to ask me out or what?’”
While their connection was clear, their first date had a few bumps. They started the night at Sweet Fish, one of Alexis’ go-to spots. Though she was in her element, Joe felt like he was under the microscope.
“All the sushi guys were like her chaperones,” he recalls, laughing. “So they were already protective of her. … For this guy to be coming in and taking her on a date, they were keeping an eye on her.”
But the duo soared through their conversation and, just like that, the couple was inseparable. Seeing as they were spending all of their time together, it only made sense for him to move into her Fountain Park spot three weeks later.
Five idyllic years together led to their March 2019 proposal, which was an epic affair. Inspired by their mutual love of “The Bachelor” franchise, Joe knew he had to go all out. He wrangled all their closest friends and family to a gorgeous spot in Long Beach overlooking the water. There, they had their own Rose Ceremony — a staple of Bachelor Nation — with their own personal camera crew there to document everything.
But the night was far from over after their TV star moment. After Joe got down on one knee, he whisked Alexis away on a helicopter. The couple arrived home to a stunning sushi spread.
With Playa Vista as the setting of their story, they knew exactly where their engagement photos had to be: the ultrachic Playa Vista fitness center The Resort. It would be easy to mistake the couple for celebrities in the pictures, with Alexis’ long raven hair and Joe’s razor-sharp jawline. But their sense of humor and all around charm can’t help but shine through in the pictures.
Alexis looks radiant in a plunging white gown as she slips into the role of a Real Housewife of Playa Vista, sipping champagne and sauntering around The Resort with their charming Chihuahua. All the while, Joe plays the part of the hunky pool boy, chiseled trainer and, of course, doting other half.
“I know it’s over the top, but it was also hilarious,” Alexis says with a laugh.
Though there is tons of planning to do for the wedding, the couple is going about life as usual, spending time at their jobs — Joe at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica, Alexis as an Operations Analyst at Swenson He — and just soaking in the pleasure of the community in their off-time.
Their obsession with the romantic even bleeds into their hobbies. The duo host a hilarious relationship podcast called The RelationSH*T Show, where they discuss their very different strategies for making love work.
And since none of it would have happened without a simple Playa Vista connection, this community will always hold a special place in their hearts.
“I am not leaving this town,” Alexis says proudly. “It’s too perfect.”