Chris and Candace

How We Met

I was never one for online dating. I scoffed at everyone who did it. “You saying people can’t just meet in person? Ugh, such millenials.” And then my friend finally convinced me to give an app called Coffee Meets Bagel a shot. “It was created by three girls and it uses this super smart algorithm thingy!” I figured I’d placate her and set up my profile with the knowledge I’d take it down after about a month.

Cut to three weeks later. I’m in Japan with my family on vacation and my profile is still up and running. I’m about to delete my account. And then (and I swear this is true) I see this super cute girl show up as a “match.” She’s beautiful, a follower of Jesus, a pharmacy student, and she liked Parks and Rec. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just reach out to her to see what this is all about? I don’t know, man, this whole thing is too weird.

Well, it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. For the next several days I was glued to my phone. We couldn’t stop talking. She was hilarious, kind, deep, brilliant. I was smitten and I hadn’t even met this girl. I wasn’t even in the same country at that point! But I knew something was different here. I had to meet her.

I decided to ask her out on a date once I got back to California. She works at the hospital and could only do weekdays. We met in Burbank at Granville Cafe. And to use an overused cliche once more, as soon as I saw her I was totally in. I never understood when people said, “When you know, you know.” Well, yeah, I knew. And we ended up spending four hours talking that night. We walked around Burbank, told each other jokes, randomly yelled things loudly to embarrass each other. It was truly one of the best nights of my life.

Before we left for the night, she ran up to me and gave me a huge hug. Then she ran back to her car and took off. She loves to just jet off like that. I walked back to my car with the biggest smile. It was a permasmile. I literally tried to think of super sad things to get myself to stop smiling like an idiot. But I couldn’t. I was just too happy. The beginning of the rest of my life started that night.

how they asked

For a number of work reasons, after about a year of blissful dating, I had to head home to Hawaii. My love needed to stay here in Los Angeles to finish off her doctorate degree in pharmacy. We knew we’d be together eventually and this would be the final test for us, but that doesn’t mean it was easy. It was a year of long distance. At a certain point, I realized I couldn’t do this anymore. Something needed to change. I knew I wanted to be with her for the rest of my life. But were we ready for that? Did we have the money to be in a relationship? Were we mature enough?

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Brace Canyon Park in Burbank, CA

I sat down for lunch with my dad and told him everything I was thinking. He took about a minute seconds to think through everything. Then he shrugge and said, “You know you want to be with her, right? Why wait?” Just like that. It was confirmation. As if he said exactly what I wanted to hear. So I said, “Okay, let’s do this.”

I began a months long plan for the perfect proposal. I went through so many different ideas, big and small. Elaborate trips to the Channel Islands. Renting out an ampitheater. Halftime at the Warriors game. But none of those felt right. It didn’t feel like us.

I began to think of things that were very special to the two of us – more important, special to her. I went back to thinking of Burbank, our old stomping grounds. I remembered the park where I first told her I loved her. This was the same park I would run up to in the year before we met, in times when I was lonely, praying to God that I would find the right woman. So this place had a lot of meaning.

Then I began to think about sunflowers and how much she loved them. I began to think about our song “Bread and Wine” by Josh Garrels and how much that meant to us. I began to think about her dog Lilly and how much she cherished her. I began to think about our parents and how much we love the family that raised us. I began to think about our faith in Jesus Christ and how he guides all of our lives. And I finally thought, “Why don’t I just put all this together into the ultimate intimate proposal?”

Cut to Saturday, October 13, 2018. I had just flown in a few days prior to visit Candace and some old LA friends. I told her we’d be seeing a movie in Burbank (I planted that idea a month before). We ended up stopping at the park instead.

Where to Propose in Brace Canyon Park in Burbank, CA

Chris and Candace's Engagement in Brace Canyon Park in Burbank, CA

She was confused. I walked her up the hill and what was slowly revealed was an arbor that I had made with some friends – full of sunflowers. Standing at each of the four posts were our parents (I had my parents fly in from Hawaii). Standing next to the arbor was a guitar player singing our song. I walked through a trail of sunflowers on the ground to the arbor where I told her (through many tears) how much I loved her, what the meaning of this place was, and how I wanted to incorporate all her favorite things. Then I called for her dog. The engagement ring box was attached to her collar. And I took the ring out, got down on my knee, and asked my best friend to marry me. And she said… well… you can see the pictures.

Chris's Proposal in Brace Canyon Park in Burbank, CA

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Brace Canyon Park in Burbank, CA

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Brace Canyon Park in Burbank, CA

After the proposal, I told her we’d be getting dinner with our parents. Surprise again! We ended up going to a downtown rooftop to have an after party with all our family and friends.

This was easily the best day of my life. I can’t explain how happy I am. I’m ready for a lifetime with my best friend.

Special Thanks

Emilia Abrahamsson
 | Photographer