How We Met
We met in a car, on our way to the (now defunct) Savoy nightclub in Santa Barbara. We were going clubbing because I had just spent the day interviewing at Katie’s startup, and the company decided to throw an impromptu party to convince me to accept the job. Somehow the most beautiful girl in the world wound up in that car sitting next to me (coincidence?!).
I settled in to a booth at the corner of the club (I’m so awkward at clubs) and Katie eventually came over to talk to me. She was funny, confident, and had the best smile… out of nowhere some guy tries to steal her away: “hey dude, are you going to dance with her or can I?” I played it cool and told him to go for it, but Katie looked back at me with these big “Noooo” eyes and I knew I she was smitten!
The next morning I was on a flight back to San Francisco. And while it would take a few months, I couldn’t shake that amazing girl I met and to this day swear she’s what ultimately made up my mind about taking the job and moving to Santa Barbara.
The spark was rekindled on a “make or break” date (as Katie’s mom likes to describe it) a few weeks after my move to Santa Barbara. We drove down to Los Angeles for the big USC vs UCLA football game (#fighton). Somehow, Katie remained wooed despite a ridiculous chain of events including: showing up at the wrong hotel, breaking into the pool, USC losing, and trying to strap a West Elm dresser to the roof of my car. Later that day, I asked her to be my girlfriend.
how they asked
Katie loves flowers and I had it in my head to ask her at a flower farm. I wanted to make a bold statement and mow “Will you marry me” into a flower field. I spent months calling farms and was hard-pressed to find a field that was suitable.
I am resilient and ultimately turned my efforts to LinkedIn. I went down a list of flower distributors in California looking for any sort of connection – and wound up sending a message to the CEO of Rocket Farms, a fellow entrepreneur and USC grad:
That’s all it took. A day later the head of Rocket Farms’ Half Moon Bay location called me to see how he could help.
I drove out that weekend for a personal tour of their facility and to brainstorm the proposal – the VP of Marketing spent an hour giving me a tour of their operation, and then the CEO gave me a half-hour of his time to plan the big day. We ironed out a date, a plan, and we got to work.
A couple weeks before the proposal I sent myself a fake marketing email from Rocket Farms and forwarded it to Katie. I needed her to come up with the idea to go to Rocket Farms.
The problem was that the email may have been a little too good. On January 8th Katie brought up the email and mentioned she wanted to go to the “Venus Flytrap Workshop” the next day. I pretended to call and told her they were sold out, but that I made a reservation for the flower tour the following weekend.
I woke up super early and grabbed some nice clothes from Katie’s closet. As she was getting dressed for the tour, she asked if I had seen this very particular shirt of hers – I had already packed it in the car!! I quickly ran out and then “found it” in the laundry room.
We drove out to Half Moon Bay and check-in with the tour guide (the VP of Marketing for Rocket Farms). It was a small tour that morning, just us and one other gentleman who was taking pictures for a “flower magazine” (aka my photographer).
The tour, of course, was fantastic. We got to see the entire production process from seedling to final rose before being left to our own devices in “the jungle,” Rocket Farms’ incredible wholesale center:
Katie is the world’s #1 lover of flowers and immediately grabbed a cart and set off shopping. Her first stop: the orchid room (where we had planned for me to propose!).
The Rocket Farms staff quickly scrambled to get all the shoppers out of the room, and as we walked in they separated two shelves filled with orchids to reveal my flower wall. I dropped down on one knee, and the rest is history!
I had one more trick up my sleeve, which was a room at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. Of course first, we had to finish shopping, and wound up with ~$600 worth of flowers crammed into my hatchback (I told you Katie has a problem!).
We drove to the Ritz for a quick photo-shoot followed by an amazing dinner at the Navio to celebrate our engagement.
My favorite pic of the day, Katie letting her mom know she got engaged: