Chelsea and John's Proposal at Harbor Island

How we met: I met my sweet fiance in third grade, so it was obviously anything but love at first sight! I still remember the first words he said to me, after laughing at me, were: “Are you stupid?!” (In his defense, he said it because I misspelled my own last name on a paper. In my defense, I was in a hurry to sign my name because we were on a timed scavenger hunt!)

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 11.19.19 AMHere we are right next to each other in the third grade yearbook!

We grew up together as good friends, bonding over our taste in music, nerdiness, and sense of humor. I dated his best friends, he dated mine, we graduated from high school, went to different colleges, and made a point to see each other on Christmas and summer break.

When I decided to transfer to Clemson University my sophomore year, I naturally started visiting my Clemson friends at school. John was one of those friends. We got close fast, thanks to the same things we bonded over when we were younger, but this time we shared a strong faith and a bit more maturity! I was hesitant to start a relationship with him; I was transferring schools, changing majors, and of course, I didn’t want to mess up years of friendship. Thankfully, we decided to give dating a shot, because a couple years later, I’m writing “how they asked!”

how they asked: Because I have a special place in my heart for proposal stories, I can guarantee mine will be painfully detailed and a bit long-winded… Just a warning!

For the majority of my life, I insisted that one day, my fiancĂ© would propose to me at Disney World in front of Cinderella’s Castle. However, when I dreamed of that photographer-documented, fireworks-filled proposal, I didn’t really ever consider who the mystery man proposing would be. Until I fell in love with John. And I realized that proposal would not even kind of be “us.” Now, I won’t lie: I still dream of going to Disney World with him, because I adore the place. However, I slowly let go of my original proposal fantasy and started a new dream: somehow becoming engaged to my best friend.

Luckily, John likes the idea of forever with me too. Enough to research diamond specs, buy a ring, and talk to my parents about marriage before our weekend getaway to Harbor Island. Harbor Island is about twenty minutes away from the charming coastal town of Beaufort, SC. It’s a small, private barrier island, and it was the perfect place to escape reality for a couple of days.

Once we arrived, we decided to check out the beach. Very normal, because it’s a beach trip. I brought John’s super awesome camera out with us, which worked well into John’s plan. This is, once again, very normal, because a. I’m a blogger, and b. I’m my mother’s daughter, and that woman takes pictures of everything. John insisted on bringing the big cooler with us. A little less normal. Especially since we had a smaller cooler, and this was our walk out to the beach:

IMG_8643It was a loooong walk across these pretty dunes…

IMG_8645Past this soft sand, which John had to carry the cooler across…

IMG_8649And down the beach a suspiciously long time… (Our last picture before he proposed!)

Like I said, things got a little fishy. I knew normal John hates walking like that for no purpose, and he seemed to be on the hunt for a certain location. I later realized he was. He had looked at the satellite view of Harbor Island on Google Maps, noticed a big sandbar, and made that his spot. He then researched the high and low tide schedules, because in high tide, it would have been impossible for us to get to the sandbar without getting wet. (John knows me well enough to know there’s no way I’m getting my clothes gross!)

IMG_2897Here’s a picture of “our spot” we took the next day from the top of a lighthouse! See that little sandbar in the center of the picture? That’s where John popped the question!

Once John saw his destination, he suggested we park our cooler and go check it out. I was game, since I saw some pretty pelicans and herons hanging out on the sandbar (and also because, hello, I thought my boyfriend was about to propose to me!). We waded across some shallow water to the island, looked around, and then John asked me if I knew how long we’d been dating. I kind of smiled and told him the rough estimate (two years and a few months), and he told me the exact answer (two years, three months, and fifteen days, for those of you who care). After that, he said a bunch of sweet things that he’d memorized but also written down on a notecard in his back pocket, in case he got too nervous. At some point while he held my hands, spoke to me, and looked at me while doing his adorable I’m-laughing-so-I-don’t-tear-up thing, I started crying. I wish I could be a pretty-crier, but I’m definitely more of a Kim Kardashian in the tears department.

Honestly, this surprised me since I’d braced myself, and I never saw myself crying in that moment. However, with just the two of us on the sandbar, the moment was so incredibly intimate and precious, and I just could not believe this was real life. Before I knew it, John was down on one knee, pulling a box from his pocket, and asking me to marry him. After bending down to give him a kiss, I managed to say yes before he put the prettiest ring I have ever seen in my life on my finger.


IMG_2909A few (of the many) ring pictures I took that weekend…. Sorry!

I tried to stop crying, but it took a while… I think I finally stopped when we got back to our cooler and I realized we hadn’t even taken any pictures together yet!

Our first picture as an engaged couple!

IMG_2851 I love my fiance (and I love calling him that!).

We celebrated together with a special bottle of champagne John brought, which explained his insistence on bringing that particular cooler with us.

IMG_8657So sweet.

IMG_8658I about melted when I saw this.

It started sprinkling, so we sipped on our bubbly while walking to our condo (after a couple of “Cheers!”). I’m so glad John and I chose to spend a few hours soaking in the excitement with just the two of us; it gave us time to celebrate and time for me to ask a billion questions, like “What did my parents say? What did your parents say?” and exclaim how beautiful my ring was, over and over again. It also gave us time to get ready for dinner; we were both pretty yucky after our long and humid walk on the beach.

After dinner, we sat on a swing by the water and called and texted all of our closest family and friends.

IMG_8697I love this picture. So much happiness!

Once we got back, we took a deep breath, and posted the news on social media… It was out there for the world! I absolutely adored getting excited, supportive messages from my sweet friends.

We ended the night cuddling and eating Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream. If that isn’t a fairytale ending, I don’t know what is.