How we met: I met Alex in Northern California during my sophomore year of high school when we were assigned as partners to dissect a rat in biology class. I knew as soon as I saw her that she was the most beautiful woman had ever met. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to know her until years later. We both ended up going to the University of California, Davis and we ended up living on different floors of the same dorm. We became best friends throughout our freshman year, yet it wasn’t until that summer when we both returned back to our home town for break that we became more than friends. I was finally dating the girl of my dreams.
Fast forward a few years later: After we graduated from college Alex got accepted into medical school in the Midwest and I decided that I would move with her. Although this was a big step in our relationship and a very new experience for two born-and-raised Californians I knew that I wanted to be with her forever. As she started medical school and I became accepted into a clinical science program I started to think about how excited I was for the future ahead of us. At this point I had already known that I wanted this woman to be my wife for a long, long time, but I needed to wait until the perfect opportunity arrived to ask her properly. Once we decided on taking a trip to Maui for winter break, I knew that it was time.
How I asked her: Months before the trip to Maui I contacted a professional photographer and began planning my scheme. I mailed her a ‘message in a bottle’ with a note containing the proposal for her to plant in the sand of a beautiful beach (DT Flemming) outside of the normal tourist area. I told Alex that I got us a professional photo shoot on a beach in Maui for Christmas; she was thrilled and she was already dressed for a photo shoot before the proposal even occurred! I told her that the photographer wasn’t going to get there until 9:30AM, but we should get there at 9:00AM so we could check out the beach and decide where we wanted to take the photos. In reality, the photographer got there 15 minutes before we did, and planted the bottle for me.
She stood off to the side pretending like she was taking pictures of her daughter while she was waiting for the moment to occur. When we got there the sun was shining bright, the water was a beautiful emerald green, the sand was warm, and my beautiful soon-to-be fiance suspected nothing! As we walked toward the rocks where the bottle was planted I soon realized that we were the only people other than the photographer and her daughter on the entire beach. It was perfect. As we approached the bottle I pretended not to notice it while I pointed at various locations we could pose at. She soon spotted it, and proclaimed “Look! There is a message in a bottle over here” I tried to stay inconspicuous while encouraging her to open the bottle. As she walked towards it, I nervously attempted to fish the ring out of a baggy in my pocket.
By the time she took the scroll out of the bottle and read “WILL YOU MARRY ME” I was already on one knee. After a short speech proclaiming my love for her, I asked her to marry me, and she breathlessly say “YES!”. In an instant I became the happiest man in the world. What more could anyone ask for?
how they asked me: On our first morning in paradise, the morning of the photo-shoot, Kevin and I were so excited to spend the day together that we agreed to wake up early and watch the sunrise from the beach. Although we were facing west we watched the clouds turn pink on the horizon and held hands in the early morning breeze. At the time I just assumed the magical feeling in the air was due to the beautiful island of Maui but little did I know that the day was about to become the happiest of my life. As we prepared for our photo-shoot, a gift he had given me as an early Christmas present, he seemed to be uncharacteristically nervous. When I asked, he said something about not wanting to be late for the photographer, so I put on my shoes and we held hands on our walk down to the lobby. During the cab ride to DT Flemming beach he was a bit quiet but kept looking at me with this heart-warming smile. As the cab got to our destination I noticed the beach was completely empty, we had the place to ourselves! Kevin led the way down the white sands, and we strolled aimlessly (or so I thought) to the far side of the beach. The rolling waves and the call of birds sounded in the distance and I couldn’t help but notice how green his eyes looked next to the blue backdrop of the ocean. Lost in the romance of the moment I watched as he pointed out possible spots to take our photos when my eye caught a glimpse of something I hadn’t expected. Next to the driftwood and against the rocks was a light blue bottle covered slightly in sand. As I pointed it out to Kevin, I naturally assumed it had been some long forgotten message-in-a-bottle that had washed up on shore. As I walked towards it I noticed that there was twine wrapped around the cork, perfectly attached to the message. As I pulled out the cork and the message perfectly came out from the long-necked bottle I got Goosebumps….I could recognize Kevin’s meticulous attention to detail and ingenuity anywhere! As I removed the twine and opened the scroll the world began to move in slow motion, and my hands started to shake. I saw my name on the piece of paper and had to blink a few times to see past the happy tears that had sprung to my eyes. The message said “Will you marry me” with my name and date and as I turned back around to face him I saw him, the love of my life, down on one knee. He said “you are my best friend, the love of my life, and my soul mate, will you marry me?”. At this point I couldn’t hold back the tears, I had never been more surprised or happy in my entire life and I responded immediately with yes. As I flew into his arms I felt happier than I had ever felt before, I was going to spend forever with my soul mate!
Photos by Mariah Milan