Chris and Sarah have been together for five years. Originally from the Bay Area, their jobs have taken them abroad but their favorite place to return to when they visit the states is a family home in Carmel. While they come back for vacations at the family home, they have a routine of walking to Downtown Ocean Ave and grabbing a coffee and then walking their dog back along the shoreline to return home. After contemplating how he was going to do it for almost half a year, he carefully plotted how it will happen without her ever knowing that he also wanted it documented.
Chris reached out to me weeks before the proposal and we discussed how due to the nature of the event and how spontaneously she may decide to stop at a shop or want to sit down for coffee instead of just grab and go, so he planned to share his location with me via the shared location app “Find Friends” on the iPhone. I followed them closely on the location map until they were in site and to throw her off, I was far away and used a telezoom lens while pretending to be shooting landscapes as they walked by. After he proposed, we walked back to their place and got a few intimate shots of them so they can share with friends and family.
We were both Student Athletes at Cal, I swam and Sarah ran Track. We both had many mutual friends, and actually had hung out and been at parties together throughout College without ever connecting. In our final year of school, we both attended a Halloween Party with a big group of mutual friends, at the time I was living with a teammate and close friends with Nick who happened to be dating Sarah’s best friend Hannah (who Sarah had set up years before). I was in a Buzz Light Year costume and Sarah was a Pirate. As we were on our way to the party in San Francisco, Sarah’s best friend and I were talking about potential friends of hers that I would get along with, unbeknownst to me Sarah was in the background pointing at herself to Hannah, and from there with a little bit of encouragement, I made the first move! We ended up getting late night Doughnuts and the rest is history.
In the Summer of 2017, after living in San Francisco for three years, we decided we needed a major change in our lives and were seeking a new challenge. We decided that we were going to uproot and move across the world to New Zealand. It was at this time that I was beginning to think of proposing and I wanted to start the ring search early so that I would be able to work on it while living abroad with the help of my sisters and a closer friend of Sarah’s. I had the ring made close to the holidays and when we were home I decided on the final design. Shortly after the new year, we had a trip planned back home in Late March for a work trip of Sarah’s, and I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to coordinate a proposal. I reached out to one of Sarah’s close friends and she helped me talk through some different ideas that I had. Because we lived too far away and time with friends and family had became so precious, I knew that I wanted to have them involved, but at the same time allow for us to bask in the happiness after we got engaged (assuming she said yes!). Now came the hard part, I needed to coordinate with Sarah’s work schedule, our two families and some of our close friends to all be in the same place at the same time without Sarah suspecting a thing.
Carmel is two hours south on San Francisco and being lucky enough to have a family home there we have spent many weekends on the beach with our dog Heidi, and it is the place where we grew closest and have some of our fondest memories together. My family, being in on this the whole time were easy to mobilize, along with a few of our friends that I knew would not say a thing. Now came the next big obstacle of coordinating with Sarah’s family to get down there on short notice, it was very important to me to ask her dad, Michael, for Sarah’s hand in marriage in person. I was left with one week to go before the planned proposal and luckily he enthusiastically said yes and he immediately jumped into action bringing Sarah’s brothers up from Southern California and arranging their schedule to head down to Carmel. I had the idea of arranging for a photographer to meet us there and take pictures from afar, this was made doubly difficult to coordinate as I was living in New Zealand, but luckily, I found Joie who was beyond excited to be a part of all of this and knew all about the area and I was able to lock that in a few weeks before. We had the idea for her to be able to track me using “Find my friends” and I did not have to give it a second thought, knowing Joie was all over it!
Fast forward to the morning of the proposal, our typical Carmel morning routine is to throw on exercise gear, grab coffee and take our Dog Heidi to the beach then return home and get ready for the day. This day, I suggested that we get ready for a wine tasting so that we could go into town, grab coffee, take Heidi to the beach for a walk and then go straight into town and have a fun day. Luckily, this suggestion landed without any suspicion, and we got ready for the day and headed into town. Once we got to the beach, I remember trying to act as normal as possible, commenting on the swell and surf conditions, playing with our dog and snapping a few photos as it was an absolute perfect Spring morning. As we got closer and closer to the spot on the beach where we usually sit and relax, my heart rate sky rocketed and I could not keep the smile off my face as I knew that I was about to ask the love of my life to marry me. At this point, my memory gets a big foggy, but I knelt down on one knee, looked Sarah in the eyes and told her that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, how much I loved her and asked her if she would marry me. Luckily for me she said yes!
We embraced, both of us crying with joy and our dog Heidi running around us in circles. We spent the rest of the day enjoying Carmel, wine tasting and walking in the sun until some of our siblings and close friends met us on the beach with balloons and champagne to celebrate. Later I looked at my Fitbit Heart rate data and found this – 46 minutes of fat burn heart rate stage leading up to the proposal!