Matt and Stacey's Hiking Proposal at Big Sur
How We Met: Stacey and I met in college, at UC Davis. I was a sophomore (20) and she was a freshman (18). I played water polo, and she did gymnastics, which put us on the same schedule and in the same location quite often.
We think the first time we met was just in passing at a party at my teammate’s house in the fall, but nothing ever really came of that. Later in the year, during spring quarter, one of my teammates started dating one of her teammates, which put us around each other much more often, and that’s when I really started to notice her. I asked the gymnast that was dating my teammate, Michelle Bobonski “Bobo”, to introduce Stacey and me. About a week later, Bobo was at a water polo party and told Stacey to come over because I was there and I wanted to meet her. I introduced myself at the party, got to know her a little bit, and got her number when we were leaving. She clearly wasn’t that interested, because she called me Brian when we were exchanging numbers, which I still give her flack about to this day. Anyways, I still biked her home; everybody rode bikes to parties in Davis, and told her I would call her the next week. She was thinking “fat chance” since guys always say that and never do, AND she called me the wrong name. But, I called her the next week; we went out on our first date, and the rest is history. I asked her to be my girlfriend about a month later, and exactly 6 years after that, I asked her to marry me. Bobo remains one of Stacey’s best friends and is going to be in our wedding. She’s very proud to be able to say she made this all happen.
how they asked: When I was ready to ask Stacey to marry me, I knew one thing. I wanted to make it a complete and utter surprise to her, everything from buying the ring to the actual proposal.
I knew I was ready to marry Stacey at the beginning of 2014, but I had no idea how I was going to ask her. At the end of March, it hit me. Our 6 year anniversary was May 24th, it was a three day weekend, and Stacey and I had never been to the Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur area. I booked a waterfront hotel room in Monterey and went from there.
I decided I wanted propose to Stacey on a cliff with a beautiful view in Big Sur. Only problem is I had no idea where that was. I did know that I wanted to have the moment captured in photographs, especially since it was going to be a complete surprise. My parents surprised me and told me they would hire a professional photographer for me to capture the moment. That’s when we contacted Laura. I decided I needed to take a day off of work, without Stacey knowing, and drive down to Big Sur to scope out a perfect spot. The spot had to be easily accessible, beautiful, and have a place nearby where Laura could capture the moment.
I drove down to Big Sur on a Monday in April, spent all morning driving up and down the coast looking at spots, then met Laura afterward to explain what I had found. We agreed that the spot I picked would be perfect and I would be in contact closer to the date with exact timing details.
Friday, May 23rd rolls around and everything is all set. As I am talking to Laura about the final details, she tells me we have a problem. She went to my spot to scope it out for herself the day before only to find that the trail to get there was closed for construction. Luckily, she took it upon herself to find another spot originating from the same trailhead, and explained to me how to get there. I thanked her and told her I would bring Stacey there between 2:30 and 3:00, and that was the last I talked to her.
Saturday, May 24th. In the morning, I took Stacey about 50 miles down Highway 1 to go on a 5.5 mile hike through the hills of Big Sur. Hike was great, amazing views, and we finished at around 1:00. We ate some lunch and I started driving her up the coast to the spot where I would propose. When I got there, I pulled over to the side of the road using the excuse that I had seen a cool spot to check out on the coast while we were driving down. She was tired from the hike and did not want to get out of the car. I figured that was a good thing because she clearly had no idea what was about to happen. Obviously, I didn’t take no for an answer. As we were walking out to the spot, I could see Laura a little ways away acting like she was taking pictures of the coast. Once we got there, Stacey was glad she got out of the car to check it out. She started taking pictures, and I convinced her to take some pictures in a spot where I knew Laura would be able to get a good shot of her.
After she was done snapping pictures, Stacey turned to face me, and she said that’s when she knew something was different. She said I had a goofy grin on my face with my hands in my pockets. I was not nervous at all, until that very moment.
I said about half of what I wanted to say, the most important parts, got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked her to marry me. She was shocked, mission accomplished. Laura was able to get it all on camera.
It worked out perfectly, and she could not believe that I could keep this big of a secret from her. Anybody who knows Stacey will tell you she is not an easy person to surprise. Laura came over and introduced herself, took some more pictures of us with the beautiful view in the background, and then we went back to the hotel to tell our friends and family over a bottle of champagne.
Photos by Laura Hernandez Photography