In April, my mom and I planned to do a mini beach trip for my final college spring break. We rented a condo in Orange Beach for Thursday through Sunday, and we decided to make it a girls’ weekend by inviting my best friend Chelsea and Chad’s mom, Miss Robin. I wanted Chad to come, but because his senior project was due in a few days, he had to stay home to work on all his school work. Though I was sad he couldn’t come, I had SO been looking forward to this beach trip since we planned it in January, and I could not wait to spend some time soaking up the sun and fellowshipping with three of my favorite ladies.
So, on Thursday, my mom, Miss Robin, Chelsea, and I all packed up and headed to the beach. Unfortunately, both Thursday and Friday we had cold, rainy weather, so we were all so ready for some warm sunshine. We got our wish though… because Saturday was absolutely gorgeous! We spent the first part of the day laying out on the beach, which was fabulous. We went back up to the condo around 2:30 to start getting ready for our sailboat ride, which was going to be from 4:30-6:30.
From the day Claire and I started dating, I knew God had absolutely set us apart for each other. I was so in love with her, and I knew there was no way I could ever let her out of my life. I feel like God placed us in each other’s life to grow both of us closer to each other and closer to Him through our relationship. I knew I could marry Claire at any point during our relationship, but I felt it was best to wait until we were close to starting our careers before proposing. As we neared college graduation, I felt like I needed to propose quickly in order to set her up for a big surprise.
After being with Claire for over six years at the time, I had picked up on the fact that Claire had a few wishes for the perfect proposal:
- I had to have a ring.
- The proposal had to be photographed.
- It had to be a surprise.
- It should involve family.
- And most importantly, she had to look good.
With this criteria, clearly I knew this proposal was going to be no easy task, well that is excluding the part of Claire having to look good, because that just comes natural for her.
Here’s the story behind our going on a sailboat ride:
On my mom’s birthday the week before [Sunday, April 13], we were watching her open gifts at my grandparents’ house. My brother and sister-in-law, David and Morgan, got her a gift, but before they gave it to her, David said he had something cool to give her first. He said that he had “won” a sailboat ride at an auction at their country club for four people on the Windy Ways, which was so awesome because that is the sailboat right across the canal from my Granny’s old beach house. David said they couldn’t go because Morgan was eight and a half months pregnant, and he thought it’d be perfect for us to use on our trip because the tickets “expired” in May. We know the captain of this sailboat and his wife very well because we grew up going to my Granny’s place every single summer. When David told my mom about the tickets, I just thought it was the coolest thing ever because not only had I never been on a sailboat, but it was the same sailboat I grew up watching go out time after time. And how perfect the ride was for four people!! I immediately texted Chelsea about this awesome new addition to our trip, and I called Chad to tell him to tell his mom about this fabulous ride we were going to get to do. They of course were so excited, too! [Even know the sneaky devils knew about it for months beforehand, .]
After we all got dressed, we drove a few minutes to get ready to set sail on the Windy Ways. The sailboat ride was beautiful, SOOO windy but gorgeous nonetheless. We went up and down Wolf Bay, which is where I spent COUNTLESS hours throughout my childhood. Chelsea and I of course had to have a photo shoot while on the boat (everyone makes fun of my love for taking pictures of anything and everything, hehe). After two beautiful hours on the water, Mr. Skip (our fabulous captain) turned the boat back in to the canal to the boat’s dock. After Chelsea and I took one last picture, I sat down between my mom and Miss Robin to get ready to dock, oblivious about what was to come.
I knew I had come up with several different ideas for popping the biggest question of my life, but where did I begin. Once Claire told me about her plans for going to Orange Beach with our moms and her best friend Chelsea, I knew there would be no better opportunity to have everything fall into place. I wanted everything to be perfect, and most importantly I wanted Claire to be in for the surprise of her life. With much help from my mom and Mrs. Brenda (Claire’s mom), I decided to rent a sailboat that was located straight across the canal from her grandmother’s old beach house. Her grandmother was a huge part of her life, and I knew it would be great to include a place that meant so much to Claire and her childhood memories as a part of the proposal.
Convincing Claire to go on the sailboat was the easy part. If you know Claire at all, she is quite gullible to pretty much anything. Her brother David, the master salesman, came up with an elaborate story about how he had won a sailboat ride at some “made-up” auction. He told Claire that he would be unable to use the sailboat ride and that the girls should take the ride on their beach weekend. Leading up to the proposal, I planned to decorate her grandmother’s boat house with a “Will You Marry Me?” sign that Claire could see as the captain was docking the ship. I also bought all kinds of elaborate decorations to accompany the sign to help make the moment special. On the day of the proposal, I planned to set up the sign and decorations while the boat ride was taking place. With my luck, this would be one of the windiest days of the year. By the time the sailboat made it back to the dock, about three-fourths of the decorations were on the bottom of Wolf Bay. Thank the Lord, the sign was still in-tact along with a few of the decorations.
After pulling in to the canal to dock the boat, I saw some decorations (several lanterns and a banner) hanging from my Granny’s old boathouse and assumed the new owners of the lot were having some type of party. Here’s where we are when Chelsea begins videoing (I am oblivious to the fact that she was even doing that, hehe)…
If you can’t tell, I had absolutely NO idea that Chad was going to propose at this time; my face says it all! haha. After I saw the sign where Chad asked me to marry him, I then saw him waiting for me on the dock across the water. He was dressed to the “T”, and looking so incredibly handsome as he always does. It took Mr. Skip about 8-10 minutes to get the boat docked because the wind was so bad, but then I was finally able to get off to see my Chad!
(The video starts out sideways, but it turns back normal at the perfect time! Props to my sweet best friend, Chelsea, for the fabulous videos. She did SO good!)
Chad’s words during the proposal were the most beautiful ones I have ever heard, and they so perfectly reflected his love for Jesus and his love for me. He first told me that he thought we could both agree that we have been waiting for this moment for six years and five months now (amennnnnn!), and waiting not just for this moment but most importantly, waiting to spend the rest of our lives with the one God so perfectly made for each of us. (The tears started rolling even harder here!) As if that wasn’t enough, he then told me that he knew from the moment he met me that he could not give up the opportunity to be with me and that he can’t wait to spread the love of Jesus together through marriage. Then, he dropped to one knee and opened a box to reveal the most beautiful ring I have ever seen!! When he opened that beautiful little box and I saw the one he had chosen, I thought I was going to faint! Leave it to the sweetest man on the planet to choose my absolute dream ring. I am one blessed lady; that is for certain!!
(I saw this ring almost a year ago and tried it on just for fun because it was so beautiful. Around that time, Chad told me that I needed to give him some ideas of what type of ring I liked since he said he didn’t have a clue about them, haha. I showed him this and told him that I knew it would never be an option because it was so extravagant, but I told him that the two things I loved most was the infinity band and the halo around the center diamond. I figured he could use it as a guide when picking out the one he thought I would love.)
Everything else about the proposal went almost flawlessly. Claire was shocked about the whole thing, and her reaction was priceless. She started crying immediately, and it was truly one of the best moments for both of us. I was quite nervous about saying all the right things as I got down on my knee, but I knew she would say yes regardless. It was great day with family, and an even better way to begin our life together.
After Chad proposed, both of our families came out from hiding, hehe. My dad, brother, and sister-in-law were there, and Chad’s dad was there (along with my mom, Chad’s mom, and Chelsea who were there too of course). After we hugged everyone and soaked it all in for a few minutes, we all hopped in our cars and drove right down the road to actually get over to my Granny’s lot. We were able to take some beautiful pictures by the water with both the boathouse and the Windy Ways sailboat in the background.
Afterwards, we all went to dinner to celebrate, and our good friend Josh joined us for dinner. I couldn’t (and still can’t) get over the fact that they all kept this HUGE secret hidden from me for MONTHS. They are so good!! Afterwards, they said they were all so happy for us, but so relieved it was finally over so that they didn’t have to tell any more fibs, haha! Each and every one of them helped make our special day absolutely perfect. Chad and I have been seeking Christ and His will for our lives since the day we starting dating our sophomore year of high school, November 16, 2007. It has been a precious journey growing up both physically and spiritually together. We cannot wait to serve Jesus together as husband and wife and to strive daily to be His disciples.
Claire – I can officially say that aside from the day I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, April 19th, 2014 is the second best day of my life! I absolutely positively cannot wait to marry the man of my dreams and the one the Lord so perfectly created and molded so beautifully just for me. I am on cloud nine, and I don’t think I’ll be coming down anytime soon, hehe. I am the happiest I have ever been, and I am SO excited and thrilled to start this brand new journey with the love of my life. Let the wedding planning begin!! 🙂