Caitlin and Tim

How We Met

Tim and I met when I was refereeing and he was competing at Capt’n Bill’s, a beach volleyball facility here in Wilmington. Tim and a few other people were playing pick-up volleyball after we finished the games and I joined in. We hung out as friends, but didn’t really get to know each other until a few years later!

In the meantime, I graduated from college and started hanging out and playing at Capt’n Bill’s more and more. I continued to hang out with our friends and one day, we decided to go on an “ice cream scavenger hunt.” Our FAVORITE ice cream store in Wilmington, Boombalatti’s, hid free ice cream cards all around Wilmington on National Ice Cream Day. Tim and I and some other friends spent the day driving around town finding these ice cream cards until we finally got some! We went to celebrate with tacos and ice cream. After that, Tim and I spent even more time together, and our friendship grew until eventually, we spent all our time together!

Caitlin and Tim's Engagement in Abbey Nature Preserve Wilmington, NC

How They Asked

I had been homesick all week and a little miserable when Tim told me that he’d plan something for us to do on Saturday. He occasionally plans a surprise all-day date for us to spend quality time together, and they are always SO fun, so I was very excited!

Saturday came and I was determined to be feeling well enough to go spend the day with Tim, and I was excited to see what he had planned. I woke up, got ready, and waited for Tim to come back from his hair cut. He finally got home and I was so ready to go! But to my surprise, he had me sit down and close my eyes. When I opened them, Tim was standing in front of me with my copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Inside was a note that told me what was going on – Tim had created an “escape room” (one of our favorite things to do together!) based on my favorite books, Harry Potter, and my goal was to find the golden snitch! I was so excited and immediately started running around the house looking for the next clue!

Where to Propose in Abbey Nature Preserve Wilmington, NC

It started with a clue inside the book – a bookmark that had fish in the background. After reading it I realized I needed to look at our fish tank! I looked all around, even studied the inside, before I realized I needed to look under the tank! Taped to the bottom was my next clue, which pointed me to the kitchen for the next clue! These sorts of clues continued all around our house – 4 in total – before I got to the final clue at our house, which led us to our favorite brewery, Mad Mole Brewing. We headed to Mad Mole for the next clue!

Proposal Ideas Abbey Nature Preserve Wilmington, NC

When we got to Mad Mole, I knew I was looking for a picture of a scientist on the wall – Albert Einstein – which was the key to unlocking a device for my next clue. After enjoying a beer, we headed to Downtown Wilmington to the Cotton Exchange, an old shopping center, to find a bulletin board with the next clue! This led us down the street to a beautiful memorial – which happens to have a bench that was donated by the place where we met, Capt’n Bill’s. I knew immediately that was our next stop!

On the way to Capt’n Bill’s, I remember thinking how lucky I was to be with someone so thoughtful and creative – but I never thought for a second of the day that the biggest surprise ever was waiting for me at the end!

We got to Capt’n Bill’s, and I got my next clue – a “trick box” with coordinates inside, and a key in the trick drawer. It took me just a second to get the box opened, but then I plugged in the coordinates and told Tim where to go. It ended up being the Abbey Nature Preserve, a place we like to go and hike through, and sometimes take our dogs! We got to the Nature Preserve and started walking through. Tim helped me find where we were going because my GPS was not cooperating. We go far back, across a bridge, and finally to a small path. Tim said that there was something blue hidden around here waiting for me…and after lots of searching and many chuckles from Tim, I found a locked blue cooler. On top of the cooler were some different colored stars. There were two zippered and locked parts, and I had the key for the first part already! Inside was another note (this is when I thought “wow how long is this scavenger hunt!?”) to go back to the bridge and look ahead. We went back to the bridge, I looked and looked and couldn’t see anything to help me with the second lock. Finally, I spotted a bunch of stars taped to the railing – the same-colored stars that were on the top of the cooler. I figured out that they represented what I needed for the directional lock.

Finally, inside, I had found a small box with the Hogwarts crest on top. I opened it up to find the “golden snitch,” but something else I wasn’t expecting – a message that said, “Crack me!” I squealed with excitement about finding the golden snitch, cracked it open, and everything started to click for me! A small paper curled up inside said “Will you marry me?” and Tim was down on one knee, holding out the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. I remember not even being able to speak I was so shocked, but of course, I was able to get out the word “YES!”

I was so wrapped up at the moment, it took me a few minutes to realize that someone was taking photos – and that it was one of my best friends!

I know I am the luckiest girl in the world – I get to spend my life with my soulmate, who put so much thought and care into how he asked me to marry him. It was beyond my wildest dreams, and a memory we will both treasure for the rest of our lives (together!).

Special Thanks

Morgan Rasmussen
 | Photographer
James Allen
 | Ring