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Our Proposal Story

He proposed in the rain on a Sunday. Chivalrous, he thought, down on one knee in the damp, and shrewd as it’s one of the rare times you can find our bustling home sweet New York City empty and private.

We had secretly gotten, well, pre-engaged a few months earlier. On another Sunday one conversation led to another and we set a date, one special to us, about a year later.

Just a few months prior friends got engaged and someone said, “She knew it was coming, I think they’ve already booked a venue.” “How unromantic!” I thought sadly. I had bought into the cultural story, in films and television, that what makes the moment so powerful is the element of surprise.

When it came to our Sunday conversation, none of that mattered. It was one of the most special, memorable days without yet a ring or a knee. I cried every day for weeks afterward I was so happy. We were dreaming about our future and to me — a very private person — it was all the more romantic we got to share it with just a few people during that season.

Best of all we told my family when we went home for Christmas. Rather than over FaceTime, or him in essence telling them by gallantly asking for their blessing, I got to tell them in person. I will cherish that moment always. Not thinking I would be back to California in the coming months, I was able to take my first trip wedding dress shopping secretly with my mom, sister and aunt.

Note to self: The standard story in movies can be overrated, and your own unique story the most romantic.

Knowing a proposal was coming in the next few months, I was of course on guard. I said yes to anything he suggested — a date, a trip, not wanting to thwart any of his plans. This included a trip to Miami, which he tried to suggest nonchalantly but was rather out of character. I’d never been to Miami, but figured he thought it would be warm, and low key enough not to ring any alarm bells that it was a proposal trip.

In preparation I made sure to get my nails done. I knew which white floral sundress I would wear. I stumbled upon a gorgeous park there while on Instagram and sent it to him with, “Oh we should go here during our trip!” in case he hadn’t found the right spot yet.

Then a few days before we left, on Saturday night, about sixty seconds after he’d fallen asleep it hit me, “He’s going to propose tomorrow!” In an instant a handful of little things throughout the night all clicked into place.

He’d put new laces in his shoes. Came home with a large clear umbrella “his friend gave him” (what dude gives another dude an umbrella to walk the 20 feet from the car to his front door?).

He was very casual about what time we needed to get to church the next morning (we had just switched our service schedule and I forgot when the volunteer call time was, but it was never casual, we always tried to be there on time).

He had gotten someone to cover volunteering for him (which never happened) so we could skip second service (which we never do) and get lunch before I taught an IG Live I had committed to.

(Poor guy, I never work on a Sunday! But as evidence I totally believed this was happening in Miami, had announced I’d be teaching a class that day during a big launch, while making sure to check in with him before committing to my teaching schedule in Miami! I casually mentioned this IG Live in passing maybe on Thursday and he managed not to blanch at the news I had just ruined his plan. He then sweetly mentioned the next day that I'd be hungry if I went straight from church to teach, so we should skip second service and go eat.)

He’d asked what I was wearing to church the next morning, showed me what he was wearing, suggested maybe I should wear a skirt since it was finally a little warmer out. This wasn’t typical, but also not so unusual that it never occurred to me I was choosing an outfit for engagement photos.

Note to self: Any casual Saturday night can become a story you’ll tell for years because of what happens the next day.

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I woke up at 4am and couldn’t go back to sleep. When he woke up I was practically ready for church and he was thrilled. All he wanted was for the morning not to be rushed (hence being casual about when we got to call time) and he thought it was a Jesus miracle I’d woken up before him.

When we got to church he went in to volunteer and I had 20 minutes in a coffee shop before I headed in. I’m so thankful for that time.

I wrote and posted this (yes, intentionally taking one more photo of my hand sans ring). I journaled my prayers. I’m tearing up just thinking about it again. I’m so thankful for the time that morning to be really present to the reality that, while in my heart the decision had been made long ago, I was in fact making the biggest decision I had ever and would ever make. To remind myself that God created marriage. That it is not a modern invention about white gowns, big parties or achieving some next level, but His idea since the beginning of humanity because when it's good it brings joy, peace, growth and impact.

After church we headed to what he described as, “some cool looking brunch spots I’ve passed on my bike rides”. Translation: a part of town we absolutely never hang out in. We had a lovely brunch, where hilariously he was on his phone texting the entire time and didn’t think that was obvious at all.

Meanwhile I was looking at my watch. The time of my IG Live was coming up and I was surprised he wasn’t a bit more urgent about wrapping up brunch. (Turns out he was waiting for the photographer to get out of church because in the IG Live confusion he'd told him the wrong time an hour later and now the guy was rushing to get there.)

We were just about to leave brunch when it started to torrential downpour. It had been raining, but this was next level. “There’s no way you can even hear each other in this,” I thought.

I suggested we wait it out for awhile and frantically texted my business partner: “I think he's about to propose but it just started pouring rain so we’re waiting it out. Idk if I’m going to make it for class without looking like a drowned rat. Can you prep an email in case we need it??” I texted his wife, “Please tell F to check his phone!” I then called them both repeatedly from inside my purse trying to alert them to their phones and finally received an, "ON IT!!!!!" reply.

Eventually the storm died down a we went for a walk. There was a park he wanted to show me, he said. We walked along the water which was was magical in the fog. Then turned into this dark park, shadowed by tall skyscrapers on all four sides, with construction all over. “This is not the right spot” I thought to myself (of course, ever the creative director even at my own proposal).

I spent the next 10 minutes casually mentioning, “We should go over by the water, there was such great light there, wasn’t that view spectacular, didn’t it remind you of Paris…” Meanwhile he was freaking out that he couldn’t find the photographer, basically tuned out what I was saying, and only agreed to walk over to the water to buy time.

As soon as we headed that way he saw the photographer trailing us. He’d been there the whole time.

To hear him tell the story he was so focused on making sure he could open the ring box behind my back so I wouldn’t see. Meanwhile I wasn’t even thinking about the ring. I just remember how intense it felt to be looking in his eyes, both silently knowing what was happening. He said some special things (babe, you did a great job) and by the time he got down on his knee I was in the most hysterical ugly cry of my life (full on Jason Mesnick for you fellow Bachelor fans!).

He went through the proposal and I said, “Start again from the beginning!”

He obliged and started again from to top. “Do it one more time!” “Again?!” he asked laughing. “We’re only going to do this once, we want to remember it!” So he proposed a third time, and I said yes.

We kissed, laughed, cried with our friend the photographer, and another friend I hadn’t even noticed was sitting on a bench in the rain because originally there had been something with candles that was (wisely) nixed that said friend had brought along.

Then one of the best things happened — our photographer’s camera was running out of battery. He headed to a hotel across the street and we had maybe 10-20 minutes alone to just soak in the moment privately before we  took more photos, drank champagne with friends, FaceTimed our parents. (Advice for photographers: Pretend this has happened even if it hasn’t! Give the couple some time to be present before more photos.)

Note to self: Rain, tech glitches and other hiccups can be what leads to perfection.

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5b

[ photography: Jurien Huggins // location: New York, New York ]

A few days later we took that trip to Miami for what had become an engagement-moon. (Advice for gents: Plan a trip right after you propose! It gives you time to call everyone important while the news is fresh, and lots of time as a couple to just revel in the moment.)

I kept taking off and making him hold my ring while I took photos and videos for Instagram. Then on Sunday night, a week later, eating room service from bed in white hotel robes while watching the Olympics and NBA All-Star Game (#BasketballWifeToBe)… I posted about our engagement on Instagram.

The most private thing I had ever shared. My heart was racing being so vulnerable. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I had the same feeling three months later when I shared this video and Beau’s face for the very first time.

But love begets love. Love shared is love expanded. And being able to finally freely share our sweet relationship has been such a joy.

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