Kelley and Andrew

How We Met

Andrew and I met in August of 2012. I had recently moved back to California after attending college at the University of Oregon, and was slowly building a solid friendship base. One of my newer friends, Jake, lived with Andrew’s best friend Trevor, and at one of the several times I hung out at Jake’s house, Andrew and I were introduced. Before anything, we became friends. As I am insufferably outgoing, I made valiant efforts to bond with the handsome tall kid in the friend group, adding him on Facebook, taking pictures with him whenever we’d have group hang outs, and sharing stories over late nights at Denny’s. I thought he was cute, but at first, it was awesome to have simply made another friend, even though I internalized that anyone who was lucky enough to date Andrew would definitely be getting the world’s most perfect boyfriend.

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The moment that began the smallest of transition out of friendship into something more is different for each of us. For me, it was Andrew opening up to me and taking the time to try to comfort me during a rough time the following St. Patrick’s day, as he’s normally reserved. For Andrew, it was towards the end of summer later that year, when after a mutual flirtation we’d been dancing around through the summer fizzled out, I put in effort to recover our friendship rather than distance myself and let wounded pride fuel distaste for him.

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Regardless, things didn’t really move between us until fall of 2013. After months of assessing and deciding he wanted to seriously pursue me (unbeknownst to yours truly), Andrew came in and declared his intentions the old-fashioned way, announcing his desire to be with me and pouring out his heart, telling me he believed we could be something great. I was stunned… it’s crazy how having a guy just declare his feelings for you, no drama, no game-playing, no toying with your emotions is so uncommon these days… something about it just sent red signals off everywhere in my mind: “IT’S A TRAP.”

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Despite my caution, I tiptoed forward. Andrew and I started talking a lot more, getting to know each other on a deeper level. I communicated my hesitations to him, and he was more than understanding and stated he would be willing to give me as much time as I needed. He continued to be extremely caring and thoughtful, planning wonderful little dates, bringing me cute gifts, and cooking for me whenever I’d come visit. I could hardly resist, and so at last, we finally started dating in 2014. The rest is our history, but also the future that we are so excited to spend together!

Kelley and Andrew's Engagement in Portofino Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize

how they asked

In July 2017, Andrew & I were vacationing with my best friend Gloria and her boyfriend Stephen (also a close friend of ours) in Belize! We had spent a wild 5 days in San Ignacio, horseback riding through the jungle to see the Xunatunich Mayan ruins, swimming and rock climbing by headlamp light for hours into the Actun Tunichil Muknal cave, and scaling the huge ancient buildings at Caracol (a little less excitingly, we were also stuffing ourselves silly with nachos every night). On our 5th day in the country, we traveled to San Pedro by water taxi, excited to spend the second half of our trip relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Ambergris Caye before heading home. We reached our hotel, Portofino Resort & Spa, and it was instant paradise. Massages on the beach, cocktails out of coconuts, clear blue water in every direction. We passed out hard that first night, excited for the next part of our trip. The next day, after some morning snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley and Hol Chan and some nachos (of course) for lunch, Andrew declared he was really full and asked if I wanted to walk off our food with him.

Kelley's Proposal in Portofino Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize

I’m an easy sell to get some extra steps in, so I didn’t put up too much of a fight. Looking back, maybe I could have noticed it was weird how Stephen took my camera to take some pictures with my nice lens, and how I’m always the one to suggest walking. I definitely thought it was weird how Andrew seemed anxious, but I assumed he was just starving. While walking on the beach, Andrew started to tell me how much fun he was having on vacation and how thankful he was at the role I’d had in planning it. I agreed and started chattering away about how much fun we’d had in San Ignacio. Andrew let me finish, but then steered the conversation to talk about other vacations we’d had, and how fun it had been to go to Europe together with his family in the prior summer. Immediately thinking the worst, I started to wonder if something was wrong and became anxious. Where was this going?

As Andrew started to talk about the impact I’d had on his life since we met, as we walked back up the beach, I started to get really worried, positive that something was wrong and he was trying to brace me for bad news. He steered us up the dock of our hotel, out over the water. For the first few lengths, I was staring at him hard, hoping to get some glimpse of where this was going. As he was giving nothing away, I turned my gaze forward for half a second, and then immediately stopped walking. At the end of the dock, I could see a red flower arrangement, and a canoe, also decorated with flowers. THAT’s when I got my first hunch of what was actually happening. I froze as Andrew smiled, realizing I was less anxious and more on board with what was going on. “What are those flowers for?” “Come on,” he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me along, continuing with his speech. “What are those flowers for!?”

I must have asked about the flowers at least 5-6 times before we got to the end of the dock (with Andrew having to half drag me the rest of the way as I mentally went into shock and shut down). I don’t know exactly when I started crying, but I was definitely a full on mess by the time we got to the end of the dock. The flower arrangement was beautiful, and the canoe was decorated with petals and a bucket of champagne.

Although I had blacked out a lot of what Andrew had said (something about being happy with me and our cats?), I caught the last part loud and clear as he pulled out the most gorgeous ring I could have possibly hoped for. Seeing it literally took my breath away (was my tongue still there? It was hard to tell). “Will you marry me, Kelley?” I of course nodded through my dears and declared “YES!”

After a few minutes of hugging and clinging to my new fiancé, I realized I wasn’t the only one crying. I looked over his shoulder and saw Gloria and Stephen had been hiding on the dock the whole time! We told them to come over and were able to hug and celebrate with them too. Andrew told me how amazing the staff at Portofino had been as well with him planning everything, and shouted and waved to the Portofino team, who I hadn’t noticed either, watching from the resort’s dive shop on the dock. We all shouted and cheered.

It was huge! To be able to celebrate on such an amazing vacation and have my best friend there. It was more than anything I could have dreamed for, but somehow, it got better.

Our room got upgraded for free to a large cabana on the beach, we did a double couples massage on the beach, and then, Andrew had arranged for us to have a romantic 1:1 dinner on the pier, in the middle of the flower heart where he’d proposed. That, for me, was probably my favorite part. Everything was so wonderful and had happened so fast, that it was just amazing to be able to have dinner and extend that time so that we could bask in it and just really enjoy and celebrate getting engaged. We had an amazing dinner from the Portofino restaurant and shared a bottle of wine.

After we ate, we went back to enjoy dessert with Gloria and Stephen, called and messaged family members, and spent the evening basking in happy bliss. I could say it ended there, but honestly, I think we’re still giddy with it, even over a month later.

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Special Thanks

Gloria Kim | 
Portofino Resort & Spa
Venue & set up
Stephen Heffernan |