Ever since I was sixteen years old, I’ve wanted to marry Manoah.
That probably sounds a little ridiculous, and honestly, it was! I had no idea at 16 what it meant to commit my life to another person in marriage, and I am sure that at 20 I still have a long way to go before I really get what marriage is all about. However, I am so so excited for what’s ahead, and it makes me thrilled that I get to do life with this amazing guy who has been with me for so long. I’m happy to share our little engagement story that means so much to me and makes me feel incredibly lucky. I hope you enjoy!
A few weeks before school ended in May, Manoah told me that he wanted to take me on a special “fancy” date to celebrate the end of the semester. We try to go out for dinner once every few months together which gives us the chance to dress up, try a new restaurant, and get some good quality face-to-face time. We hang out pretty casually for most of the time, so going anywhere for a specific “dinner date” is a big deal. 🙂
On Saturday, May 13, 2017, I was sick, exhausted, and slammed with homework. It was a pretty un-extraordinary day. My parents were going out that night to an event, so I had the afternoon to myself to get ready before Manoah came to pick me up. I borrowed a dress from my mom (that she helpfully chose, knowing that I would have an extra special date night!), and she helped me clasp a bracelet. I spent extra time on my hair and makeup so I could (hopefully) impress Manoah a little!
He opened the door to pick me up, and I swear, his smile was just a little sweeter than usual. And more mischievous, because I had no idea what was going on. He quickly ushered me to the car and informed me that we were going to get Sidecar Doughnuts for our first stop! We arrived at the best doughnut shop in the entire world and ordered whatever doughnuts had most recently come out of the fryer (in this case, huckleberry). The barista rang up our order and asked, “Are you guys going somewhere special tonight? You’re all dressed up!” Manoah must have been holding in laughter at this point, but he just smiled and said, “I’m taking her on a surprise date!” She told us to have a great night, and we headed back to the car.
Confession: the moment we got in the car, I might have sneaked a small bite of my doughnut… but what can I say?! It was fresh, warm, and dripping with icing. And I had no idea that I was supposed to wait for a special surprise.
Manoah told me that we were driving to the Montage in Laguna Beach for the sunset. I knew it was kind of a long drive, but it’s one of the most beautiful beaches, so I agreed and took on the task of playing our favorite old classic love songs during the trip.
When we got to the beach, Manoah had the perfect place in mind for us to sit and watch the sunset (pictured below.)
We walked across the property to this special little area, tucked away from all the crowds enjoying their Saturday evening.
We sat down on the bench together and ate our doughnuts. As usual, I finished mine in about 4 bites. Manoah smiled at me and asked, “How was your doughnut?” “Sooo good! It was amazing,” I responded.
“You know what would be even better?” he asked. “If we spent the rest of our lives together!” All in one motion, he jumped off the bench and got down on one knee (!!!!!). “Erin, will you marry me?”
All I remember after that is covering my face, nodding (probably 12 times) , my whole body shaking, and my own voice saying, “Is this real? Is this real?” over and over again. It felt like I was dreaming.
I looked up and saw my dear friend and wonderful photographer Anna Warner snapping away to capture one of the most amazing, sought-after moments of my life. There are truly no words to describe what I felt – I was completely on cloud nine, and I couldn’t stop jumping up and down to celebrate!
We spent the rest of the sunset taking photos with Anna. For a bit, I barely even looked at my ring because I was just so excited! When I finally did, I was even MORE excited.
I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and how thoughtful Manoah had been about the whole proposal. A lot of people have asked me, “Were you surprised? Did you help pick out the ring?” To answer those questions, YES, I was completely surprised. And nope! Manoah did it all himself.
Looking back on it, the overwhelming excitement of the day has faded to a more reasonable level, but it’s been replaced by this huge sense of pride (in a good way) that I have such a thoughtful, caring, devoted person who wants to walk through life together. I am so overjoyed at this gift from God. Manoah and I have so much to learn from each other, but I am so grateful for him and for a life together.
Thank you to our incredible photographer Anna for all the planning, time, and effort that she took. These photos are special memories we will cherish forever!
And with that, cheers to engagement! What a crazy season of learning, growing, discussing, and praying. Now I just can’t wait for the wedding. 🙂