Few days are more nerve-wracking and exciting for a man than when he asks a girl to marry him. My friend Ryan knows this all too well! Only last weekend he asked his lovely girlfriend Katie to marry him, and she said yes! Read on for their proposal story, as told by Ryan. Then when you’re done, GO VOTE for them in Crate & Barrel’s Ultimate Wedding Contest! All of the amazing photos were taken by talented photographer Will Chiang.
“I had finally decided to propose to Katie. Some might assume that would be the most difficult part…but when you know, you know. I knew I was ready to take our relationship to the next step and give all of my love to her, it couldn’t have felt more right. The tough part began when I started to think of how I could pull off the perfect proposal, and with so many things to think about…it seemed to be a daunting task. I knew it had to be done at a meaningful location for the both of us, somewhere that said Katie and Ryan all over it, and came with a dose of romanticism as well.
While we both live in Carlsbad now, during the first few weeks of dating we were not so close, with me in Orange County and Katie already in San Diego. For our first date we decided to meet in San Clemente at the Sun Dried Tomato Cafe for dinner. The plan was to take a late night walk on the San Clemente Pier afterwards if Katie liked me enough, and thankfully she did! We shared some really romantic moments that first night on the pier and I knew that being there again for the first time since would bring back all of those wonderful memories. The pier seemed to be the perfect spot to pop the question, but I couldn’t help but wonder if the weather and the crowd on the pier would cooperate with my plan.”
“I crossed my fingers and moved on to selecting a date, which is not easy when your girlfriend lives an active social life! Seemingly every time I settled on a date that worked, something would get planned on top of it, and it wasn’t like I could say anything to avoid the plans without being a dead giveaway. Since I was still in the process of getting her ring, I was not even sure when the earliest I could do it would be, but I was so ready none the less. After moving from March 5th to April 2nd and every Saturday in between, I finally found out that I would be getting the ring on March 1st…perfect! Every other date on the calendar had blow up in some form or fashion, and when the dust settled…March 5th was it. Whew! So I had the location, I had a date that I could make sure she was with me, and the perfect set up was falling into place. I knew that despite everything I would put into this evening, that when it actually happened, the excitement would leave it somewhat of a blur for both of us. For a couple who collectively has the worst memory around, I decided to ask my friend Will, a professional photographer to capture it all. He would do a bit of undercover photography leading up to the special moment, and then take a few shots with us afterwards.”
“Logistically everything was working out great…but what was I going to say to her? How do you possibly put into a short series of words how much you love the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? Keeping with the theme of tying in important pieces of our relationship, I wanted to incorporate how we met in some form or fashion. Katie and I originally met on EHarmony before deciding to meet for our first date in San Clemente. While it was a completely new and different experience for the both of us, we both agree that it allowed us to learn so much about the other in a short time. The questions we asked each other on the web site were our first interactions and lucky for me we had saved them! I took a few questions from her end and a few from mind and combined them into my proposal words, planning to retell those questions and end with the one question I had always hoped she would be the one I asked, and now knew she was.”
“We had tickets for the Lakers game the Friday night before and with a little help from my parents we made plans to stay at their house that night, leaving us still in Orange County the next day. Katie had brought up a few weeks back that she would love to eat dinner at our first date spot, an ideal lead in to setting up our trip to San Clemente. I felt like suggesting visiting the pier could tip her off, so I decided to hold off until the day of, couldn’t risk her catching on! Luckily, we had discussed dinner previously, so talking about those plans was natural. I made sure to build our Saturday night plans up as a “date night” as well, encouraging her to dress up a little with me…the last thing I wanted was to have pictures taken of our proposal and later have her feel like she wasn’t “dressed” for the occasion. Saturday was one of the longest days of my life, all I could think about was the proposal and what I was going to say, where I wanted to get on one knee, and of course how she would react. By the time it came to leave my parents and head to San Clemente, I was beyond ready!”
“Without knowing Katie continued to help me ease into the rest of my plan by suggesting drinks before hand, I simply replied “Perfect! Why don’t we grab one on the pier in the spirit of first date memories?” She agreed and we were off. The weather couldn’t of been better that day, and I knew that it would be a perfect setting once we arrived at the pier. Will was already in place with his camera and found us sitting at the Fishermans restaurant having a glass of wine…it was time. We finished our drinks and strolled down the pier looking at the surfers along side, enjoying being back at a place where it all began. We ended up in the middle of the pier standing together looking out onto the water, we were in the exact place I wanted to be and began to muster up the courage to get the words out. I turned her around to face me and began to work through the first part of the proposal, it all began to flow out just as I hoped it would. Finally, I reached the end of the story and as I reached into my pocket her face lit up even more as knew couldn’t believe it was actually happening. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me, shaking a little bit due to the excitement. She was so happy and could barely breathe to get the “Yes” out of her mouth at first, but she did! I put the ring on her finger as quick as possible for fear of dropping it through the many cracks in the pier, that would of been somewhat bad!”
“We had a wonderful moment on the pier, talked, laughed, and teared up a little and after a good 10 minutes or so, remembered Will was still taking pictures. He joined us and took a ton of great engagement type photos all over the pier, railroad tracks and on the sand. Seeing the pictures a few days later really is fun, and allows us to always relive a moment that neither of us will ever forget.”