Anna and Mark | Happy 10 Year Anniversary!

Today, September 21st, is Anna and Mark’s 10 year anniversary! I’ve never heard a story quite like theirs, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too…

I knew a few months into our relationship that Mark was the man that I would marry. However, I never imagined his proposal. Mark is a great guy. He is caring, generous, funny and full of ideas….he just rarely executes those ideas. He’s a dreamer, so to speak.

After dating long distance for a year (Mark lived in San Francisco and I lived in San Diego), we moved in together. Now fast forward one year after moving in together. I had planned a weekend in Las Vegas with 6 friends in September, and I was looking forward to lounging by the pool and creating great Vegas memories with friends. Some strange behavior from Mark occurred the summer right before our trip and I started to guess that Mark was about to propose. I thought, though, that he would never buy the ringWhen? How? So, I excused this odd behavior – especially after tearing apart our apartment and not finding anything.

The week of our planned trip, Mark and I had a silly quarrel about where we’d go our first night in Las Vegas. I wanted to go to 80’s night at the Mandalay Bay and he wanted to go to the top of the Stratosphere. Well, if you know Vegas, you know the Stratosphere is far down the strip. I ended up giving in, telling him he could have his way when we got there.

The night we were flying to Las Vegas, I should have known something was up! Mark insisted we take a cab to the Oakland Airport instead of taking Bart, which he always makes me take (Bart is the local rail system in the Bay Area). While I love the convenience of Bart, I hate taking it to the airport because I always arrive sweaty and it takes forever to get there.

We were greeted by friends at the airport and headed to the Stratosphere. We went to the top to await more friends. Mark pulled me into a private room with an amazing view overlooking the Las Vegas strip, and that’s when he proposed. I was shocked! I don’t even recall saying “yes!”

He then proceed to to tell me that we actually had 26 friends in Las Vegas, not 6, ready to celebrate our wedding. YES, I said WEDDING, not engagement. Mark had spent the summer planning our nuptials in Las Vegas. I had always talked about eloping and getting married by Elvis and he made that dream come true.

Let’s go back to the ring and the scheming. Remember the odd behavior that I mentioned? Well, Mark had flown to San Diego to ask for my hand in marriage without my knowing. He had also flown to Los Angeles to buy my ring and had it shipped to Las Vegas (that’s where his best friend, who is also my cousin, lived). When we arrived in Las Vegas, my cousin hugged Mark and passed him the ring. I had no idea. He had told our 26 friends that the weekend might simply be an engagement party, just in case I was not serious about an Elvis wedding. But, of course, I wanted that fun wedding.

After Mark proposed, we walked out of the private room where we were greeted by our friends who were ready to celebrate. It was an amazing night! Saturday morning, we headed downtown to obtain our wedding license. That night, September 21, 2002, we headed to The Viva Las Vegas Chapel to say “I do.”

Mark had orchestrated the weekend unbeknownst to me. He had candy bars as favors with custom wrappers, bubbles for guests to blow, and he even planned our reception at Japanese restaurant. Rather than the traditional champagne toast, we toasted with Sake Bombers. It was an amazing night, surrounded with great friends.

Today marks our 10 year wedding anniversary. We have had many more wonderful adventures since that day, we’ve lived in various cities, including Samara, Costa Rica for 3 years and we now have 3 beautiful kids. Cheers to many more. I love you Mark Lipshaw and thank you for continuing to fill my life with surprises and adventures.