Erica and Jake

©CHARDphotographer | |

How We Met

It’s truly incredible how life seemed to have the perfect plan in store for Erica and me.  For our first few years at Cal Poly, we ran in the same circle and had a countless number of friends in common, yet managed to never meet each other.

©CHARDphotographer | |

It wasn’t until a summer day in 2010 that we first noticed each other on Hathaway Street in San Luis Obispo.

©CHARDphotographer | |

I had just moved onto the street for my final year of college, and my best man, Logan, and I decided to go toss the football around out front.  After a few throws I caught a glimpse of my new neighbor out of the corner of my eye, a beautiful girl tanning in her front yard.

©CHARDphotographer | |

“Who is this girl behind the white picket fence?” I thought.  I had to try to get her to notice me, so naturally I asked Logan to step back about 20 yards so I could get some impressive distance on the ball.

©CHARDphotographer | |

I damn near threw my arm out that day, but as I would find out several years later, Erica noticed me that day too and started asking her roommates about me.

©CHARDphotographer | |

©CHARDphotographer | |

Success! Over the next few months, I’d make a concerted effort to visit the White Picket house to get to know Erica under the guise of seeing Austin and Eric, her roommates.

©CHARDphotographer | |

We hung out together, partied together, became friends, had our first kiss, and began to fall in love that year in San Luis Obispo, building a foundation that will last us a lifetime.


©CHARDphotographer | |

how they asked

The sun rose at 6:00 AM Saturday morning and I was wide awake staring at the ceiling with my mind running wild.  Today was the most important day of my life, I’d be asking the woman I love to marry me.

Three weeks earlier, I’d asked if Erica wanted to paddle board in the Newport Harbor that morning and enjoy a picnic on the beach watching the sunset that evening, and she was thrilled with the idea!

©CHARDphotographer | |

The day had finally arrived and I was excited, anxious, and nervous, but had to keep my cool so Erica didn’t become suspicious.  So there I lay meticulously running through my plan for the day until she awoke at 8:30… let the day begin.

We drove to Newport, picked up our paddle boards, and listened to the directions from the instructor.  He told us we had the boards for an hour and would probably be able to make 1 lap around the harbor.

©CHARDphotographer | |

We started paddling and Erica couldn’t look more beautiful and relaxed.  “This is so amazing and relaxing, don’t you think?” she said as my nervous energy is growing and relaxation is the farthest thing from my mind.

Little did I realize, I was setting quite the brisk pace on the paddle board due to my nerves and we ended up making 3 laps around the harbor instead of just 1.  Luckily Erica didn’t pick up on this clue, and we gave our boards back and headed home to get ready for the sunset picnic.

After picking up a bottle of wine and our favorite poké, we arrived at Lost Winds Beach, Erica’s favorite beach in San Clemente where she grew up.


With the ring in my pocket, we laid out the blanket, poured our glasses of wine, and began enjoying our meal with a view.  Once again, my nerves got the better of me and I finished my food before Erica even made a dent in hers.

Thankfully she just assumed that I was hungry and didn’t suspect anything out of the ordinary.  The sun was now beginning to set, my parents and sister were hidden in position to take pictures, and the time was right.

Walking toward the water, my heart was beating out of my chest and I’m sure I had a huge goofy smile on my face.  With the sun setting behind us, I held Erica’s hands and professed my love for her.

I’ll never forget the look on her face as I pulled out the ring, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me.




She was happily shocked, then overwhelmed with excitement as she said yes, jumped into my arms and told me she loved me.  We held each other with tears of joy running down our faces, we were engaged and couldn’t be happier to spend the rest of our lives together!


Moments later my family revealed their hiding spot as they came sprinting towards us with champagne to celebrate. We all laughed, cried, and took lots of pictures.  After the sun went down we left the beach and jumped in the car to head over to Erica’s parent’s house to share the good news.


Little did Erica know, her extended family and closest friends were already in on the surprise and were there waiting to join in on the celebration.


After more champagne, storytelling, and lots of hugs, it was time to head home…but I had one more trick up my sleeve.

The entire drive Erica was staring at her left hand, smiling uncontrollably and reminiscing on what she refers to as the ‘best day ever’.  Once we pulled up to our apartment and headed to the front door I gave her the keys to be the first one in.


Again, Erica was clueless to what she was about to walk into.  As soon as she swung the door open, the lights turned on, music started playing, balloons fell from the ceiling and our closest friends from college were there welcoming us with open arms.

Needless to say, there were more tears of joy and of course, more champagne.  Erica and I have never felt more loved than we did that day.


We are getting married June 10, 2017 and cannot wait to be husband and wife!

Special Thanks

Chard Photo
Engagement Photos