how they asked
During the summer of 2016, my Fiancee and I began to start talking seriously about getting married. We were approaching 5 years of dating, living together, raising a puppy together,and planning our future together. When we learned in May 2017 that we would have to move from New York to North Carolina for my Master’s research, I thought proposing before our departure was the most appropriate time. I had been searching my creative mind for proposal ideas that were novel and romantic for some time. On a summer vacation to Rehoboth Beach, DE in July 2016, we were searching for sea glass and talking about finding a message in a bottle (does that even happen anymore?). I thought YES and banked that idea for future reference.
Fast forward to summer 2017. We are planning to move to North Carolina together for my master’s, and our departure date is set for August 8th. Now I had already made my mind up about marrying this woman long ago; the problem was getting a ring and picking the right time. When she made the decision to come to North Carolina with me, I felt that I needed to make the proposal happen ASAP. As it turned out, the week before our departure from New York, we were going on vacation in Delaware again. OK, I got the time, I got the place, and now for ring. I saved up as much as I could and said “the time is now” – throw the rest of the visa. I already had a ring in mind, so picking it out was relatively easy.
Now we’re in Delaware – July 21, 2017. I have a ring and a plan; now for the finer points. I bought and old fashioned wine bottle (with a latch and a stopper) along with a nice sheet of parchment paper – all the trappings of a classy message in a bottle. I made an early dinner reservation at a nice Italian restaurant for the night of the proposal, so that we would have time to go to the beach to look for sea glass and catch the sunset. The toughest part of the day was getting away long enough to pen my letter; I had to contrive an excuse to go to the store where I sat and wrote: “Lauren, The last 5 1/2 years have been the best years of my life. All of our memories are filled with adventure, laughter, and love. You are my best friend, soulmate, and boo. I want to spend the rest of my life on an adventure with you. I love you so much. Will you marry me? – Love Danny.”
I rolled it up tight, tied it with twine, sealed it in the bottle, and stashed it our beach tapestry. I also suggested that we go for a walk on the beach after dinner to hunt for sea glass, throw the Frisbee, and watch the sunset. (the Frisbee was a key diversion). We had a great dinner with a few good drinks, and went walking on the beach just in time for sunset. We found a good spot, and I quickly grabbed the Frisbee and yelled “go long!” When she turned to run, I snatched up the bottle and stuffed it in my pocket. Now I’m very nervous and certain that she is on to my plan. Nevertheless, we continued to throw the Frisbee back and forth in the surf. I got a chance to drop the bottle in the surf and stood there with my foot on it. We played for a few more minutes when I exclaimed “Oh my God! Come over here and look at this.” Surprised by my discovery and eager to open and read the message, she didn’t notice me getting the ring out of my pocket. We took the letter out, and while she was reading my short love letter, I got down on one knee and recited the words I had written. She said yes.
Luckily, a guy down the beach was observing and decided to take a bunch of candid pictures of the whole process. Meanwhile, my parents were back at their house setting up the pontoon boat with Christmas lights, champagne, roses, balloons, and music. We took some more pictures, reveled in our moment, and went back to celebrate on the boat. We spent the rest of the night on a pontoon boat on the Indian River Bay listening to Van Morrison, polishing of a few bottles of bubbly, and playing checkers – among other things. We’ll be getting married at Entheon, the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors in upstate New York in October 2019.