Photo by Ashley Tingley Photography
It’s true! After 4 years of dating we’re engaged and to be married in Summer of 2014. I’m sure you’re wondering just how it happened….well here’s the story: We were in Hawaii celebrating our 4th anniversary. The trip was a Christmas present from my now fiancé and we decided to use the trip as a celebration for our anniversary in late March. Little did I know he had planned the entire thing as a proposal and engagement celebration not just as a vacation to get away.
We had flown in late Monday night into the cutest little Kona, Hawaii airport I’ve ever seen. The terminals are all open air and every building looked like a tiki hut; hello tropical! We walked off the plane onto the runway all vintage and classy like; man I love when I get to do that! A warm breeze greeted us as we acquainted ourselves with the new island climate. I have to say, there was something quite magical about arriving at night. You quite literally couldn’t tell where you were, save for the palm trees, warm air, and the sudden relaxation you feel from everyone around you. To wake up the next morning only to be greeted by sunshine, and marvelous ocean view right off your balcony but 15 feet away…oh it was a dream! And then it hits you…”We’re in Hawaii, Baby!”
Our room right on the water
Our first day on the island was Tuesday, March 26th – our actual anniversary. We were staying in Kona at the Sheraton Resort. We decided to check out the resort, pick up necessities at Target (tip: buy your own alcohol and snacks here and bring back to your room…saves you soooo much money!) and then onto our first beach explorations. Just 5 miles north of the Sheraton in Kona is a quaint little bay – Kahaluu Beach Park. The bay is known for their population of sea turtles who will swim and lounge right next to you as long as you don’t disturb them. I was very excited to be able to get right up close to them and take some photographs! Little fact not many people know about me…I’m afraid of fish. (well…I was; I eventually got over my fears on this trip!) We decided to do a bit of snorkeling in the bay after hearing stories from friends who had great luck finding many fish among the coral reef.
Keeping in mind that we’re in a beautiful place and that fish are really more scared of me than I am of them I still found myself in waist deep water crying for the fear of unknown. I don’t mean to over exaggerate but the fear of the whole wide ocean and the feeling of being near clueless as to what is just beyond a couple feet of me really got to me and I couldn’t help but fall into them. A horribly failed attempt to overcome my fear caused a panic in which I not only ended up kicking a sharp lava rock while trying to find my footing but also to step straight onto a sea urchin. Gah! I gouged my foot pretty good (seriously it’s still healing!) and had to pluck out a bit of purple sea urchin that stayed around. In Jeff’s attempt to rescue me (ah my knight in shining armor, er plaid board shorts!) he also did come fancy footwork with the lava rocks and the plenty of sea urchins that scattered the reef. Ouch!
Being the perfect sweet man he is, he picked me up and carried me the 20 feet back into shore and sat me on a rock. Just like that I was saved! The day went on to be a beautiful time at the beach. He snorkeled, unafraid, while I tending to my bleeding foot and sunbathed. My foot seriously didn’t stop bleeding for 45 minutes, with pressure and everything! Once back to the hotel, we headed to our couple massage. An hour and a half of hot tub and Lomi Lomi massage on an open air balcony overlooking the ocean has got to be the most relaxing time in my life! We both fell asleep during our massages (Jeff even snored!). After a refreshing session in the sauna we rushed off to Target to buy a mask and snorkel that would actually fit my face.
We had made plans to have a nice dinner for our anniversary in one of the restaurants at the resort. Earlier in the day, Jeff had called the front desk and “asked for suggestions” when really he was just checking on our special reservations he had planned without me knowing. The concierge had asked us to meet him in the lobby and he would escort us to dinner. I thought that was quite fancy of them and wondered what kind of a restaurant we were going to. We were running late to dinner, so when we got back from Target, Jeff offered to run up and drop off our bags while I waited in the lobby. This is when he sneakily grabbed the ring! He arrived back down and we were escorted through the main lobby, down the stairs and through the pool area and onto the lawn right on the beach.
Jeff had arranged for a “Dinner Under the Stars” experience complete with private table for two looking out over the sunset into the ocean lit only by candles and tiki torches! I was amazed at how beautiful it all was! Sheraton Kona Resort was so kind to even print up the hand picked menu Jeff had set up for us and they said “Happy Anniversary Jeff & Kate” on the top! Talk about personalization! Jeff picked my favorite dinner – a tossed baby green salad with pears in a vinaigrette sauce for our starter, a locally grown, grass-fed filet minot cooked perfectly medium paired with a filet of fish with veggies and roasted potatoes! And a delicious molten chocolate cake with cherry sauce inside for dessert with a side of rich vanilla ice cream! We had a few mai-tai’s and enjoyed a wonderful bottle of Californian red wine with our meal, per Jeff’s picking. He’s so great at picking out food and drinks that he just knows I’ll love! He really does know my taste!!
We enjoyed the open air and music that drifted from the bar off to the other side of the resort and most of all enjoyed the marvelous view! It was between our dinner and dessert courses that we decided to exchange cards with each other in celebration of being together for 4 years. I decided to go first and read Jeff the card that I had written to him. We don’t normally read it out loud to each other, but the night just felt extra romantic so I went with it. As I read him the sweet words of my love I have to admit, I did tear up a bit…but all in happiness. Then he decided to read his card to me. I listened closely as he read to me a beautiful poem he had written just for this occasion. I hugged him and told him I loved him and then asked to see the card so I could see what it was like on the inside. Just as I had opened the card my eyes flicked to the bottom where the last line of the poem said “Katelyn, will you marry me?”
As soon as it registered that THIS was happening, I suddenly closed the card and looked over at him to see he was already down on one knee and had an open box with a ring in his hand. He told me he loved me with all his heart and asked me to marry him. I said yes. Okay, that’s an understatement. Haha! I practically screamed it and then threw myself into a hug with him and said “Yes, yes, yes!” He laughed and held me tight then said, “But you didn’t even look at the ring!” I replied without thinking, ”It’s you I’m marrying, not the ring.” He held me tighter and then said “Well, let’s make it official!”
“Will you marry me?”
I looked down at the ring and was in awe! The way it glimmered in the firelight of the tiki torches above us was so brilliant! It was everything I had ever wanted in an engagement ring and SOOOO much more! He had spent the better part of 2 years searching for “the perfect ring” when he decided to give up the search and so he custom designed the whole thing! Round cut center stone with top halo set in white gold was all I really knew I wanted in an engagement ring. Well, let me tell you – this man decided that wasn’t enough! He added a custom vintage edging to the whole thing, channeled in another halo of diamonds underneath the center stone, as well as the front, back, and sides of the band. There were so many diamonds I didn’t know what to think! I actually tried counting on multiple occasions and each time the number was literally over 100! I have affectionately named it my “mini Eiffel Tower”. My goodness am I blown away by his immense love!
first photo of the ring on my hand
Dear God, you have sent me the most amazing man I could have ever asked for. Thank you for giving me the promise of true love and delivering it through this most handsome and kind man! I am so excited to have been given the gift of your love through him – I promise to love him with all my might for all my life! Jeffrey, you’re incredible and I love you! xoxo
right before he popped the question!