Austin and Mandy's Three-Day Proposal
How We Met
The saying that love finds you when you least expect it, certainly rings true for Austin and I. Love found us in what is truly a hopeless place for many: a bar, or as we like to refer to it, an Irish restaurant. I was just about to start my senior year at Southern Methodist University and had planned to stay single for awhile after ending a long-term, long-distance relationship five months prior. Austin had also ended a long-term relationship only two months prior and had just been told by his job that he was likely going to be transferred to Southern California office a promotion. With both of us planning to stay single for the foreseeable future, neither of us expected what happened at Idle Rich Pub in Uptown Dallas on August 17, 2012.
The Friday before my senior year started, I went out with my best friend and roommate at the time, Erica, to kick off the new semester. Austin and some friends from work had gone out to spend time with a co-worker who was moving to the Philippines. Around midnight, Austin and his friend approached Erica and I and started conversations with each of us. Sparks did not necessarily fly between Erica and Austin’s friend, but Austin and I hit it off immediately and we talked until the bar shut down. Before we parted ways, he told me that although he was moving to California soon, he would love to get to know me better and asked for my number.
The very next day, he asked if I would get dinner with him the following Thursday at his favorite (which also happened to be my favorite) sushi restaurant in Dallas. I excitedly accepted and immediately called my mom to tell her that I was going on my first “real date,” with a guy who was going to pick me up and take me out to dinner. When Thursday rolled around, he picked me up at exactly 8:00 PM, like he said he would, and we had the most wonderful meal and conversation. We sat at that restaurant for hours talking about all of the things we had in common. Although the idea of getting into another long-distance relationship was scary to me, it was clear from that night to both of us that we had a connection that couldn’t be ignored.
We spent as much time together as we could in the three months we had together before Austin moved to Irvine, California and decided to give long-distance a try when he left at the end of November. With a mutual commitment to trust, our relationship blossomed just as much from a distance as it did when we were both in Dallas. Two and a half years of long-distance finally came to an end in July of 2015 when we moved to Washington, DC together so that I could attend Georgetown Law. Throughout our four years together, Austin has always gone above and beyond to make me feel special, so it is no surprise that his proposal to me was nothing short of amazing.
how they asked
The Three Day Proposal
FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2016 – DAY ONE: Although Austin and I live together in DC, I spent the summer living with my parents in the Silicon Valley to work in the legal department at a tech company. We had planned for Austin to come visit during the weekends of July 4th and July 29, and I thought those were the only two times we were going to see each other for the 11 weeks I would be in CA. Austin had other plans.
When I left work on July 15, I thought I was meeting my best friend since pre-school, Darcey, for pizza at my parents’ house before driving up to Darcey’s place in San Francisco for the weekend. When I pulled into the driveway, my mom, dad, one of my brothers, Darcey, and a camera-man were waiting outside. I started to get emotional, realizing that Austin was likely behind this surprise. When I got out of the car, my mom told me that Austin was waiting inside the house and the tears started flowing. My dad yelled for Austin to come out from hiding, but instead, my oldest brother, TW, came out from the guest room.
He told me, “Austin couldn’t be here with us tonight, but he’s got a little message for you,” and turned on the TV in the living room. Austin appeared on the screen saying that “the big day” was coming very soon, but he wanted me to spend the weekend with my family and to have an opportunity to look exactly the way I wanted for that special moment. For the rest of that evening, my family, Darcey, and I enjoyed pizza, wine, loads of laughter and a few happy tears together.
SATURDAY, JULY 16, 2016 – DAY TWO: Even after staying up most of the night talking anxiously to Darcey about what was in store for the weekend, I woke up on Saturday morning energized and ready to start the day. By 9:00 AM, my mom and I were off to San Francisco for a girls’ day. When we arrived at the Westfield San Francisco Centre Mall, my mom told me that our task was to find something special to wear for the proposal. About an hour into unsuccessfully shopping around the mall, she told me that we needed to take a break and head up to the top floor of Nordstrom for Austin’s next surprise: manicures and pedicures at Spa Nordstrom.
After two hours of being pampered there, I had yet another surprise appointment at Cinta Salon to get my highlights touched up. When my hair and nails were taken care of, Macy’s Union Square was the next stop to hopefully finish shopping for the perfect dress to wear.
I finally found a dress I loved, but the straps were too long and there was some gapping around the chest that would almost certainly lead to a wardrobe malfunction. The sales attendant called a lady from the alterations department to pin the dress and asked if she could get it done that day, but the earliest she could it done was the following weekend. Lucky for me, my mom got a degree in clothing and textile design prior to becoming an accountant, and still maintained enough skill to alter the dress herself. We bought the dress, found a matching jacket and purse to complete the outfit, and headed back home to get to work on the alterations for the remainder of that evening.
SUNDAY, JULY 17, 2016 – PROPOSAL DAY: Just as Austin had told me in the video message, Sunday was the day for me to be with my brothers and dad. Although I still wasn’t allowed to know where we were going, they told me to dress warmly. From this information and the fact that the car was heading North, I knew we had to be going towards the ocean, since it’s almost always cold by the water in Northern California. After an hour of Car-eoke singing and interpretive dancing in the car, we arrived at Pier 39. The activity for the day was sailing! After a few glasses of wine, lots of laughter, and some seemingly near-death experiences from the deep lean of the sailboat into the freezing San Francisco Bay, we got back in the car and started heading towards Darcey’s apartment in the Marina District. Upon our arrival, Darcey told me that my dress, shoes, make-up, and everything she needed were in her bedroom waiting for me to get ready.
Once I was dressed, my brothers, my dad, Darcey, Darcey’s boyfriend, and I started walking towards the Palace of Fine Arts. As I got closer to a group of people standing across the pond from the dome of the Palace, I saw Austin’s mom, step-dad, grandma, brother, brother’s girlfriend, and my mom, standing in the grass with Austin standing behind them in a suit. I couldn’t believe his entire family had all flown in from Texas to be there for this moment. With tears streaming down my face, I walked up to Austin who was surrounded by rose petals scattered in the grass.
He held my hands and spoke to me about our relationship leading up to that moment, and finally, dropped to one knee asked me to be his wife.
The crowd that had gathered around the area, including a photography class of about 25 students, cheered and snapped dozens of photos like paparazzi. Like a scene directly out of The Bachelorette finale, after I said yes, he asked, “Will you accept this rose?” I burst into laughter with happy tears continuing to flow. With “the final rose” in one hand and my gorgeous new ring on the other, Austin, the rest of the proposal crew, and I went back to Darcey’s apartment to pop champagne on the rooftop terrace and celebrate the start of a new chapter in our lives.
From secretly flying out to California and Texas to speak to my parents and his, to involving both of our families in the proposal, Austin truly made his proposal to me so meaningful and something that neither of our families nor I will ever forget. I cannot wait to marry this man.