A well-thought-out proposal is one way to totally wow a lady, and Johan surely put a lot of time into his marriage proposal, creating a visual walk down memory lane for Charlene. The photos are gorgeous and the couple looks incredibly happy to be getting married! Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the post and watch the proposal video!
I had just recently taken the Bar Exam and was excited to get out of LA and spend some time with family and friends in the Bay Area. For the first two days, Johan seemed like he was swamped with work and didn’t have time to hang out. While I wasn’t really offended, I did find it strange. It crossed my mind that he may have been planning a proposal, but I convinced myself not to think twice about it and carried on.
During one of the days we were back at home, we had arranged to have our good friend and amazing photographer, Dan Chen, take photos of us for a creative shoot that he and Johan had been envisioning to do for some time now. Dan had taken photos of us before, just for fun, so this “photoshoot” did not in and of itself give away anything.
12PM, August 17th, 2011. Millbrae, CA.
On the day we had scheduled to do the photoshoot, I stopped by my cousin’s place unannounced, as I often do, to play with their kids, Jayden and Chloe. While I was there, Chloe (age 3 at the time) said to me, “I know something but I can’t tell you.” Instinctively I asked, “What is it?” Without me having to probe any further, she answered that she was going to see Johan’s house (or something along those lines). Jayden, who is 1 year older and quite a bit better at keeping a secret, quickly yelled, “Mui, you weren’t suppose to say that!” Unfortunately, Jayden’s attempt to silence his sister came a little too late—Chloe had confirmed my suspicions that something big might just happen that day.
2PM, August 17th, 2011. Lake Chabot, CA.
I went on to meet Johan and Dan, and we spent the afternoon in the East Bay taking these amazing photos. I tried not to think about the possible proposal, hoping that if he was going to do it, that it would still catch me by surprise.
I did find myself wondering if it was going to happen at several times throughout the day though, especially during those moments where we got to just sit in admiration of God’s creation, and enjoy each other’s presence. Needless to say, it didn’t happen then. I’m glad though, because little did I know, he had something even more beautiful and so much more meaningful in store.
9PM, August 17th, 2011. San Mateo, CA.
Fast forward to the end of a long but fun day, we decided to go back to Johan’s parents’ house to unwind. Suspiciously, Johan forgot his keys ..but he NEVER forgets his keys.He went around the house to check the back door and told me to wait. I played along and yelled at him to just call his parents. Inside, my heart was pounding. After a few minutes, he walked back towards me, told me the back door was open, and led me around the house through the pitch blackness. Suddenly, the lights came on. He said something to me that I can’t remember, and the waterworks began.
All along the back of the house were notes, letters, and pictures, each meticulously framed and carefully hung for display. In the center of the backyard was a “living room” set up, complete with a leather couch atop a vintage rug. To say that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. We spent the next 20 minutes or so walking around the backyard, looking at every picture that my friends and family had sent in, and reading through each note that they had written to me. Well.. to be completely honest, I didn’t personally read most of the notes myself—Johan had to read quite a few of them to me because I was struggling to see through my tear-filled eyes.
When we were done, he led me to the couch that was surrounded by pictures of us and notes from him, and sat me down. He reminded me of how much I am loved by our God, by our family and friends, and by him. Then, he got down on his knee, pulled out the most beautiful ring, and asked me to marry him.. and of course I said “Yes!”
The night didn’t end there. Just as Chloe had accidentally divulged earlier, family followed by friends came rushing in to celebrate with us. They got to see their notes hung on the wall, and witness firsthand all the labor that Johan, with the help of his loving family, had put into the evening.
I feel overwhelmingly loved and incredibly blessed by everyone who shared the evening with us, as well as everyone who showed us love and support from afar. I cannot thank you all enough! A special thank you also to Dan for helping to plan and brilliantly capturing the most memorable day of my life thus far.
A note to Johan: You planned and executed the most amazing, memorable, and meaningful proposal ever. Hope you know you set the standard high for yourself in the future.
Photos and Video by Chennergy