Orange County Professional Photographer
I consider the day I poured out my heart and proposed to Josie as one of the best days in my entire life. She is my everything.
Josie and I met back in 2017 at Marcello and Cheyenne’s wedding at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach, where I was, of course, the photographer, and Josie was Cheyenne’s maid of honor. After some back and forth, including the “friend zone,” a relationship pursued, and I knew Josie was the one for me. She did too. She just didn’t know it yet. Ha!
As many of you know, I love to do things extreme, do things big, and be elaborate in my plans. So, with the help of my amazing friends, event planner Brandi of Brandi Jane Events, and Beth of The Pink Daffodil, we came up with this incredible plan.
But, before I share the events of that special day, there’s a bit of a back story I would like to share with you. A journey if you will.
Our Story Leading up to the Proposal Day
Prior to planning out my elaborate scheme, my original plan was to propose to Josie while we were visiting Israel. But that plan changed rather quickly when right before we left, Josie randomly said to me, “just whatever you don’t propose in Israel.” I always thought it would special to propose to her in such a unique location, but she had a very good reason for it, well two of them. First, visiting Israel was so important to her that she wanted to take in the experience as it is. Getting engaged there meant having a beautiful memory of being proposed to erasing the memory of Israel itself, as well as the spiritual purpose of our visit. The second reason is that her family is very important to her and she wanted them to be there and take part when it did happen. The issue here was that while we were in Israel, her family would be back home in Orange County.
Ok, so proposal idea number two is. It would be when we were on a trip to Yosemite with our church group a few months later. After all, her family was going to be there with us. So, this would be a perfect time. However, the opportunity never really materialized. And looking back, I am thankful it didn’t. During this 5-day family camp trip, I actually had a chance to achieve a deeper connection with Josie’s family in a way that hadn’t happened before. So, I truly believe that a Yosemite proposal was not meant to be. That additional time gave me more time to cultivate my relationship with them and to meet with her parents to ask for her hand in marriage. Once they gave me permission, I then asked all her siblings out to dinner, so that I could ask them all for their permission to marry Josie as well. The whole family was excited, so I knew it was time to plan. Having all their permissions meant everything to me as I know it would mean everything to Josie.
Looking back, the Israel trip was six months before I actually proposed to her and I don’t think her family was quite ready to accept my proposal yet. But having that time together in Yosemite gave Josie’s family an opportunity to see me for the person I truly am and how I interact with the people. After all, for five days, they got to meet and interact with my church family and pastors, and it gave them an understanding of who I was as a man of God.
The Day of the Proposal
September 15, 2019, the day I looked forward to all my life was finally here. The day I would ask the girl of my dreams to be my wife. By the way, this would also be two years to the day that Josie and I had our first “official” date and when I asked her to be my girlfriend. So, today’s date had some meaning behind it. Remember what I said earlier that I love to do things extreme, do things big, and be elaborate in my plans? Well, put on your seat belt because it’s an awesome ride.
My goal was to propose to Josie where it all began, at the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort. I love this wedding venue because it brings you as close to the waves as you can truly get without getting you and your guests wet and it includes breathtaking views of the ocean as a background. As a fun side note, not only did I meet Josie here, but years earlier, Josie’s parents got married at the Hilton Waterfront. Small world.
So, the first question that came to mind as we planned this out was, how was I going to get her there? What was it going to look like? What journey should I take her on?
If you remember Josie originally told me that she wanted her family to be there when I proposed, so I wanted to incorporate them into the moment. But then along the way, she changed courses on me and said she wanted a more intimate setting when I proposed with only the two of us. So, I wanted to figure out a way to make it intimate, but yet still include her family. Time to get creative. And then suddenly it all came together.
The plan was to have it be an all-day event. Set it up to have Josie revisit many of the locations that we spent our earlier dates at prior to arriving at the Hilton Waterfront. Of course, the key to this whole thing was to get her out and about without me.
The day itself arrived and it started off without a hitch. First, it was our very own Melissa’s birthday, so she, along with Kiku, took Josie with them for some girl time and to get their nails done all the while thinking it was a birthday beauty day. But then came the first twist. Right in the middle of the salon visit, Josie’s friend and old church youth leader Deborah, along with Debbie, showed up to interrupt the nail salon appointment and whisked her away for lunch at the place where we first went on our first date, Maggiano’s in Costa Mesa. Ok, it wasn’t actually “our” first date as that came later, but it was the first date for me with her. That’s a whole other story. Josie was confused and a little upset that her friends would just come in and kidnap her from a nail salon appointment and the time she was having with Melissa and Kiku. She had no idea what was going on.
By the way, there’s another aspect to all her “interruptions.” We set it up so that each person that was picking up Josie throughout the day would present her a rose and a card from me. Now is probably a good time to give you the back story to the single rose and card. When I was younger, I went to a Christian camp called, Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp in the Bass Lake area. Every Sunday while I was there, they called it Flower Sunday, where you give someone a flower and tell them something you admire about them and give them some words of encouragement. When I first started dating Josie, I tried doing this, but she felt I was coming on a little too strong. It kind of scared her away from a little, so I explained the Flower Sunday story to her. I continued to give her the rose and told her what I admire about her and why I wanted to get to know her better. I told her eventually I would give her the rest of those roses individually. Well, silly me I totally forgot to give her those roses over the two years prior to the proposal, so I figured I would give her the rest of those individual roses on our proposal day.
Throughout the day every as each person intercepted her, they gave her a single rose with a card that explained what I admired about her in our relationship and getting to know her better. Deborah and Debbie presented her with the first rose and card and she quickly realized today was her proposal day.
In the middle of her lunch, her friend Anna arrived at Maggiano’s and picked her up. She took her to the same bowling alley that we went to on our second date. Waiting for her at the bowling alley was Josie’s mom. She had some dresses there for Josie to choose from and to change into. Ironically, the dress Josie picked out just happen to match my suit perfectly as the dress pattern matched my tie. Seriously that was not planned. From the bowling alley, Josie went out to get Boba with her dad at the Boba Place where we went the third time that we hung out together.
After she had Boba with her dad, he took her to Balboa Island, which is where we went on our first official date. They took the ferry over which is something we also did on that date and once they got to the Balboa Island Fun Zone, Josie’s brother Robert took over. He and Josie rode the Ferris Wheel together, just like we did. When Josie and Robert got off the wheel, she was surprised when she saw the rest of her siblings waiting for her at the bottom, all holding roses and cards for her that told her the things I admire about her. From there, the family spent some time praying over Josie. Then her brother Robert and his wife Saraii, drove Josie to the Hilton Waterfront for the final stage.
At the Hilton Waterfront, Beth had given me a beautiful floral arrangement and Brandi had helped set everything up. She put together the table with all the photos and décor. These two were amazing. Then my friend Moses of Moses Lynn Music was there playing some music for us on his guitar. And our very own team from Three16 Photography was there to photograph and video the proposal.
Once Robert and Saraii arrived with Josie, Brandi met her in the parking lot. Josie was so filled with excitement that she was already tearing up before she even got upstairs. As for me, I was nervous as can be as I hid in the bathroom upstairs praying that all would go well and praying for Josie and my future, it was the most nervous, and yet excited, I have ever felt.
Josie was ushered to where the table setup was located to see what we had on display and she looked at all of the photos of our journey together. Then when she read the very last card that I had set aside for her on the table, I snuck up behind her and confessed my heart to her. I then bent down on one knee and proposed. Remember the part I said I was nervous? Well, I forgot to pull the ring out as I proposed. But she still said, “Yes!” Eventually, I pulled out the ring and gave it to her. The ring I got her was from Princess Diamonds in Huntington Beach, where they helped me create a custom ring that was specifically made just for Josie. After I proposed, we went down to the beach and took some photographs. Afterward, we went out to dinner at Mastro’s Steakhouse, which is where WE had dinner on our first official date exactly two years ago to the day.
Oh, it’s not done yet. After dinner, Josie and I went back to my house in Fullerton, which is right near the Summit House Restaurant, and we had a surprise engagement party. All of our friends and family were gathered there to celebrate with us. We felt the love and had such a great time with all of them.
The day was nothing less than perfect.