William is patient - oh so patient. He’s loving, thoughtful, kind, intentional, compassionate, smart, caring. William is many things, but I didn’t know how much of a sneaky genius he was until now (especially when my best friends get involved).
Near the end of 2016, William and I started the process of designing a custom engagement ring and wedding band. We wanted it to be symbolic of the role of our faith in our relationship.
I knew a proposal was coming and was getting a bit impatient, ok very impatient, about when it was going to finally happen. I mean, come on… what was the hold up?
The new year came around and January started to pass by. My bestie Jill knew I was getting anxious and decided it was time to find out his plans and timing. She talked with me to find out what I was hoping for and didn’t want (such as being proposed to on Valentine’s Day or finding the ring in a piece of food or other cliché things like that). After talking with William, she assured me he had a plan and I should chill out, but wouldn’t say anything else.
UGH, the wait! I’m not a patient person by any means. I’d like to think I’ve gotten better since dating William, but really, I’m just not patient.
Jill sent me this text in the late afternoon:
“I'm going to have a convo tonight with Anthony about his plans for proposing to Izzy 😁
I don't think he knows that that's what it's about haha”
I really wanted to be in on it and she told me to join, but I already had dinner plans with William, so I made her promise to tell me ALL about it the next day.
She invited me to join, right? Seemed legit. Did this conversation actually happen? I have no idea.
The next morning I finally got details of the conversation out of her. She said Anthony had way more of a plan than she expected and that she had volunteered us both to help get his girlfriend, Isabell, to the location. So exciting!
The big day for them was going to be February 18th. Less than two weeks away!
The timing was perfect. Jill and I were already planning to hang out the afternoon of the 18th. And the previous week, Izzy and Jill invited themselves over for a sleepover Friday the 17th to have a girls night and to do girly things like nails and facials. It was falling together so perfectly to get Isabell ready for the big day.
How lucky were we? Seriously, it was perfect.
Then I had a selfish moment and went on a text message rant to Jill about how William and I have been dating so much longer than Izzy and Anthony and how we started the whole custom ring process before them and how I can’t believe that Anthony got his act together before William. Yeah, embarrassing now. Thank you God for Jill and her patience with me. Her response was perfect:
“Girl I know. It's hard. All the feels.
Super high ones and low ones. All should be embraced momentarily.”
Moment was over, back to being super excited for Izzy.
Then I tried to talk Jill into letting me plan a big engagement party for her, but she wouldn't let me, saying that Isabell wouldn’t like it. No fun, boo.
Last night I had a crazy intense dream - this whole proposal plan for Izzy was not actually for her, but ended up being for me. How cool would that be?
No Hope. Stop being selfish.
Friday night I get this email from Anthony:
Picked up the ring today and it's perfect!!!! So update -- checking the weather, I just realized - it's going to rain next weekend. Isabell usually complains that it always rains on her birthday too, so I'm gonna have to move it up! Can you still help me if we move it to this Sunday? I want to propose outside but not if it's going to rain!
My plan is to schedule a hangout with the guys this Sunday so that I can set up and be a nervous wreck.
What I need from Jill and Hope is somehow convince Isabell to go out to a spot around Baker Beach at 4:30 on Sunday. I'll meet you guys there. I have one of our photographer friends there incognito as well. If you guys can snap behind the scenes photos for us, that would be so great! I'll have cameras with me for you to use. I'll scout the spot tomorrow and send you the exact location then. I hope she says yes! Throwing up butterflies.
A Billion Thankss!!”
Holy cow, crunch time! The proposal was in two days now and our perfect plan would no longer work!
I started texting Jill, freaking out. We ended up FaceTiming past 1am. We schemed and schemed to create the perfect reason to get Isabell to the right location at the right time. Finally we agreed to a good cover story.
Deep breath, this was going to work.
My mind wandered back to the dream I had the other night about this all being a facade. No, you’re just being selfish again and this is too big of a production to not be the real deal. Anthony has been sending out all the emails and it sounds like him. He’s been texting me, freaking out about it, trying to figure out if he should wear a tie or bow tie. He’s gotten all his guy friends involved and this all happened after Jill talked to him about his proposal plans. And he seems really nervous and William doesn’t and that’s hard to fake. And on and on and on my mind went.
“Operation: Put a ring on it” began.
I sent our pre-planned text message to Jill and Izzy asking to hang out Sunday afternoon. Jill’s job was to suggest Baker Beach and say she wanted to do a photoshoot so we could dress up and get Izzy into something cute for the proposal. It was working great, until Izzy decided she wanted to got to Pacifica Beach instead of Baker Beach because it’s prettier and less windy. And then she kept changing the subject. And then she wanted to go to an open house viewing after church instead.
Isabell, no! You’re stressing me out! Just do what we want here.
I pulled all the cards:
- I’ve got all the feels and need to hang out with my girls! (truth)
- I need some fresh air because it’s been raining for weeks (truth)
- I really miss the beach (lie - I hate SF beaches)
- I want to photograph and get pretty pictures of us (truth)
- I need some creative time photographing (truth)
- I have a new fur coat that I want to wear so we should dress up beforehand (truth)
- I’ve never been to Baker Beach, so we should go there and it's closer than Pacifica (truth)
This all happened while I was attempting to make a pavlova for dessert that evening. Not smart on my part. The pavlova suffered.
But, we successfully talked Izzy into coming over Sunday after church to get dressed up for fun photos and beach time. I was feeling really proud of myself for pulling that off.
After that success, I met up with William and two friends for ice cream. I was stressed from trying to make sure things worked with Isabell and a bit annoyed with William for switching my morning plans from hanging out with me to hanging out with his sister instead. But, the night before we talked about picking out toppings for the pavlova after ice cream and then hanging out for the rest of the afternoon.
Change of plans again.
William was now going back to hang out with his sister instead of spending the afternoon with me. He knows I don’t do well with changes of plans. Not cool! Now I was even more frustrated with him. Lots of text rants to Jill happened. She tried to calm me down, didn’t work that time.
When I’m stressed, I clean. By the end of the day when William finally showed up around 7:30pm, my apartment was immaculate. There were a lot of factors going into my emotions - frustration from him not getting his act together to get engaged when Anthony could, stress over trying to get Isabell to her engagement, annoyance at the changes of plans, and more. I even said "I'm expecting an epic proposal since you're taking so long to plan!" All this resulted in me having an emotional breakdown while cooking dinner.
There were tears, it was bad, but thankfully I felt better afterwards.
During dinner, we had an interesting conversation about Izzy’s upcoming engagement. I said things like “Why would Anthony propose at a beach? The beaches here are awful and cold and windy. Who would want to be proposed to at a beach?” and “I can’t believe that she isn’t catching on to this, if this were happening to me I would totally know!”. I’m pretty sure I said that last one multiple times during this whole thing.
Sunday morning, the day of the engagement, I get this email from Anthony:
Snuck out this morning to scout and found the perfect spot at Marshall Beach that I like even more than Baker Beach! Jill and I chatted on the phone for awhile about the details and she knows exactly where it is! It’s about a 20 min walk from the parking lot to the beach. If you guys can get to the spot at 5:00 sharp just in time for Golden Hour, that would be fantastic. Thank you guys so much for helping! Now if only I can remember how to tie this bow tie...
No Anthony! Just NO! You can’t change the location and time on me!!! I just got her to agree to go to Baker Beach. This is not ok! Not ok at all! You’re stressing me out!! I can’t handle this right now!
Jill “miraculously” talked Izzy into the new location and we got ready for our fancy “photoshoot”. I had been planning to wear pants (because beach = cold), but Jill and Izzy forced me into a dress since they were both wearing one. I begrudgingly went along with it because I didn’t want to ruin Izzy’s day. They made me try on every dress I owned before picking one for me. Jill was obviously just trying to distract Isabell so I went along with it.
Time to head out.
Izzy had a cute dress on, her hair done up and some makeup on. Lyft was called and we were headed to the new location. It was going smoothly, yes!
Jill found the trail leading down to Marshall Beach that Anthony had told her about that morning. We took our time, taking pictures along the way so we didn’t get there too early. As we continued down the trail I started to recognize where we were - Batteries to Bluffs Trail.
“Guys! I know this place! This is so cool! This is where William and I went on one of our first dates. This is where he asked me to officially be his girlfriend!” I restrained myself from messaging William right then to tell him the awesome coincidence. Instead, as we continued down I told them all about our date. I even showed them the exact spot where a picture on my wall was taken of us during that date night.
Since I wasn’t told the final details, I was relying on Jill to know where we were supposed to be. We got to a lovely outlook over the water where you could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Jill positioned Izzy for me to take photos of her, telling her to close her eyes and look out to sea because it “looked awesome” (actually it really didn’t, but I went along with it to keep her distracted).
Ok this must be it. I had the camera to my face, clicking away when Anthony came into the viewfinder and surprised her from behind and started to get down on one knee.
Yes! It’s happening! We did it!!!
“HOPE! Get her stuff!!” I heard Jill yell. I immediately jumped up to where they were to take her camera and bag so they wouldn’t be in the pictures. Instead she tried to take my camera saying “No, this is for you”. Yes Isabell, your camera and bag are for me, because you’re getting engaged right now!
She kept trying to take my camera.
I was so confused.
I turned around cameraless as she and Anthony ran off and saw William now standing there. It finally registered what was happening. My knees started shaking and I had a hard time standing. He took my hands, smiled, and said the most amazing words (which I had to ask him to repeat later since it was all a blur). He ended by getting down on one knee, holding up the ring that we had designed together and said, “Will you be my wife?”
They were smart, so smart. The fake proposal (Isabell’s idea I later found out) was genius and they got me good. On top of that, it was a blessing to have my close friends there to experience it with me.
Isabell and Anthony (Chiarashine Photography) did the most amazing job ever of documenting the engagement. Aren't these photos amazing??? It's more than I could have ever expected in my wildest dreams. You guys are the best!
While we were taking pictures I whispered to William "We should make hot chocolate after this". He smiled. When we finished he pulled out a thermos and cups for everyone with still steaming hot chocolate that he had made earlier. Could he be any more incredible?