How We Met
The story of how Charles and I met is one that could be right out of the movies! We met on March 28, 2012, at the St. Louis, Missouri airport. I was on my way back to California after having visited my cousin at her college and Charles was traveling from home in the Midwest to California for work.
While sitting at the Southwest gate waiting to board the plane, the man next to me (Charles) and I struck up a conversation…and I had no idea that this would change both of our entire lives.
We first chatted about what I was reading (The Hunger Games) and why we were both flying…but then we talked more about our life stories. We instantly connected over the challenges we’d both faced and our passion to help others. I remember Charles telling me about his work in life coaching and the book he had just written. After all, he was coming out to California to share more about his book on a TV show called The Doctors. I shared about a camp I was involved in helping lead at UCLA where I got to oversee fellow students as counselors for underserved youth of LA.
We only chatted for about 15 minutes, but in that time, I opened up to Charles more than I do with most people I’ve known for years. I remember thinking, “This. Is an amazing. Person.” I found myself talking to someone who had a huge heart, contagious passion, and immense ambition – qualities I’ve always deeply valued.
Before boarding the plane, we connected on Facebook and Charles even offered to send me his new book. Without hesitating, I gave him my address. Now normally, I don’t even give a phone number to someone I’ve just met. But there was something different about Charles and I’m really glad that I trusted him from the very beginning.
On the plane, we weren’t sitting close by one another but when we landed, Charles was sure to turn around and wave goodbye prior to exiting. Little did we both know that that was just the beginning of our movie-like, cross-country love story.
how they asked
After two and a half years of long distance dating with Charles in the Midwest (Missouri) while I was on both the West and East Coasts (California and then Boston), we made the decision for me to move to Missouri so that we could pursue our relationship. The timing seemed perfect for us, and we couldn’t wait to finally live in the same city, state, and region of the country. We would finally be less than 1,000 miles apart!
Leading up to the move, we talked a lot about our future. We discussed living in the same city for about a year or so before getting engaged. Charles asked me if I wanted to go ring browsing together once we were in the same state. We talked a lot about how I would miss my West and East Coast family and friends since everyone would be quite far away. And we even talked about proposals. One time, Charles mentioned how he liked really private proposals with just the couple. I said I liked both when other loved ones are included or just the couple, as long as it’s really meaningful.
Little did I know that those conversations were part of Charles’ epic, surprise proposal plan.
On Saturday, August 13, 2016, just three days after I arrived in Missouri, Charles proposed in the best way possible. He took me to a hotel where he said we’d be meeting with a realtor to figure out where I’d call home in Missouri. I didn’t think much of meeting at the hotel since it was located right by one of my favorite streets with a lot of cute places to live in.
We walked up the steps to the “meeting room” and right after the entrance door opened, I quickly realized that this was much, much more than a realtor meeting. In a split second, there was a rush of thoughts racing through my mind: where’s the realtor? …what’s going on?…is this for me?…is this real?…OH. MY. GOSH. Is he going to PROPOSE?!
My heart started to race as I heard beautiful violin music playing “My Heart Will Go On,” from Titanic, a movie that we both loved watching together. I could tell that there were colorful balloons in the room. I also sensed there were some other people there, but my eyes went right to Charles to figure out what this all was.
While holding me, Charles started talking about how much he loved me. The surprise, emotions, and understanding of what he was about to do hit me all at once. I let out a waterfall of tears when Charles, the man of my dreams, got down on one knee and said, “Crystal, you’re the most amazing girl I’ve ever met. Will you please make the most happy man and marry me?”
I responded with an “Oh my gosh, YES, I love you!”
It took me another moment to realize that the stunning, gorgeous ring, the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen, was for me. Once we put it on and I, of course, thanked him for it, Charles said “Everybody’s here for you.” I looked down the room and realized that our closest friends and family were all there! I became another waterfall of sobbing, happy tears realizing that they all got to share the most amazing moment of our lives with us. Charles had flown them in from across the country to be there for everything – and they had all kept everything a secret! I could not believe it.
As if the proposal weren’t enough, Charles had planned a whole day of activities with everyone who had come in for the engagement. We basically had a surprise proposal and engagement party day! As I processed that we had just gotten engaged and everyone was with us, we spent the day doing all sorts of fun St. Louis activities and calling each other fiancé/fiancée for the first time.
We went to Grant’s Farm, showed everyone Charles’ home, toured Charles’ office, had dinner at Guido’s with a special menu Charles had arranged, and topped off the whole day with first row tickets to the Paul McCartney concert at Busch Stadium.
Our engagement day was the most incredible day of my life. The man of my dreams came up with the perfect proposal of a lifetime for me: asking me to be his wife with our closest family and friends present.
I love that he could only wait three days to propose once I got into town, and I still can’t believe that our dream to share life and love together forever has come true! He says he’s the lucky one, but I feel like the luckiest girl in the world!