Katherine and Neal

Katherine and Neal's Engagement in Fort Mason | San Francisco, California

How We Met

Back in 2016, I was a firefighter with the Arcata Fire District in Humboldt County, Northern California (popularized by the recent Netflix film, Murder Mountain). I wasn’t a big fan of the dating pool up there and would frequent back to the San Francisco Bay Area on my days off as I’m originally from there. While sitting in the infamous San Francisco traffic, I decided to pull out my phone and start swiping on Bumble. By the time I got to my parent’s house, I received a notification that I matched with this super gorgeous woman but I didn’t think much of it since she was obviously out of my league.

Later that night while putting some dishes away, I received a little Bumble notification and to be honest, it was probably the worst opener ever – “How Goes It?”

I decided to respond anyways and in a blink of an eye, three hours passed by with us going back and forth through messages. It was an awesome feeling as we constantly made each other laugh and connected right away. After a few hours of messaging, we decided to call it a night since we both had busy days the next day – I had to make the 6-hour drive back to work and she was going wine tasting! The next evening, a somewhat intoxicated Katherine messaged me wondering why I haven’t contacted her all day – I was just trying to play it cool but secretly couldn’t wait to talk to her again and was so excited when I saw her message :)

We decided we wanted to meet each other in person but with my work schedule and living 6 hours away, we couldn’t meet for another two weeks. We spoke every day through messaging and phone calls to the point we were nervous to meet other – we didn’t want to ruin what we had! Finally, our date night came around and Katherine gave me the wrong address on purpose (just in case I was a weirdo), and when we both saw each other for the first time in person, we simultaneously released a sigh of relief.

We started our date at Off The Grid – a food truck festival in San Francisco – and had such a good time that we decided to continue our date to Ghirardelli Square for some ice cream! A few hours into our date, Katherine turned to me and in an eye gazing moment she told me that she thought I was going to tell her that I love her. For the record, I wasn’t going to say that and it definitely didn’t freak me out. We got to spend the last three years falling for each other!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Fort Mason | San Francisco, California

How They Asked

I knew fairly soon that I wanted to marry Katherine and a year into our relationship. We traveled the world, met each other’s families, and integrated into each other’s friend groups effortlessly – she was definitely the one! I decided to start the proposal planning process. I knew I wanted to get approval from her family first but they live on the east coast and I DEFINITELY wanted to do it in person.

In February of 2018, Katherine and I moved in together to our first place in San Francisco; however, I had a “business trip” planned to the east coast just days after we moved in. I quickly set up our home and made sure she had the basic utilities up and running before jetting off with my buddy to ask her family and friends for permission to marry the love of my life.

After a few flight mishaps (cancellations, reroutes, and lost baggage), we arrived in Washington D.C. a little after 10 pm to ask her brother for permission – he said YES! The next morning, we woke up early to make the drive down to Roanoke, VA, where her parents are laid to rest, to ask for their blessing. We then drove to Richmond, VA to ask one of her childhood friends for permission as well – the whole time, Katherine thought we were in Baltimore meeting with clients. This made the next part tricky as we flew to Phoenix to ask her best friend from college, Molly, where we ran into other issues. With the help of her friend’s husband, we were supposed to meet Molly at her home during her lunch break but she ended up having some meetings that she couldn’t break away from. Luckily, her in-laws happened to swing by the house and drove us 45 minutes to her office and we surprised her there! Over the next few months, I asked Katherine’s friends in San Francisco for permission as well but made sure to wait until the planned proposal date to ensure that no one slips up and tells her!


May 11th started off as any other normal Friday. Her good friend Shayna was graduating from her Master’s Program and asked Katherine to get her nails done together (this was planned so Katherine would have nicely manicured nails for the photos), and I went on with my day. A group of us “decided” to go to Off The Grid for dinner, the location of our first date. When we arrived, a few of the friends were already there and everything was going as planned. I stepped away for a quick “work call” as my buddy asked Katherine to watch a video. The video she was about to watch was me asking for everyone’s permission to have her hand in marriage.

I patiently waited a few hundred feet away with the Golden Gate Bridge as a backdrop while she watched the 16-minute long video. The photographer was in place and I grew more anxious. After what felt like at least an hour, my friend escorted Katherine to my location where I was at a loss for words (it doesn’t matter how many times you practice it)!

After Katherine said yes and we had our time to soak in the moment, I asked her to continue what we did on our first date and head over to Ghirardelli Square to grab some ice cream! Being the amazing person she is, she felt bad about leaving our friends behind at Off The Grid but I explained to her that they had all left by then. I assured Katherine that it would just be her and I at Ghirardelli Square so we can enjoy our moment together – I lied :)

While walking up the stairs, Katherine noticed 40 of our closest friends and family members holding congratulation signs and anxiously waiting to celebrate with us, including her brother and nephew who flew in from Washington D.C.! The night continued on with ice cream, drinks, and fun stories about how everyone kept the secret from Katherine.

I was ecstatic that I didn’t have to lie any longer to the love of my life and that we could enjoy our love with our closest friends and family. Here’s to the perfect person that I get to spend my life with – Cheers!

Our Video

Special Thanks

Travis Watts
 | Photographer
SIX50 Productions
 | Videographer