Kirsten and Brendon - His and Her Sides!
How We Met: I wrapped up her tenure at Santa Clara University a quarter early and was all set to head out into the real world. A few months later, with graduation around the corner, I was swept off my feet by a nice southern boy who happened to be on the rowing team at Santa Clara. We started off with conversation over meals and finding random excuses to see each other during busy days, but the summer came quick and Brendon was set to hit the road with one of his Groomsmen, Nick, to camp and mountain bike in Colorado on their way back to Texas.
As you may have guessed, that is not the end of the story. Brendon and I stayed in touch over the summer and grew our relationship by exchanging messages back and forth through various means of communication. Somewhere along the way, the conversation jumped to football and Brendon playfully suggested that if I wanted to see “real” football, I should mosie on down to Texas sometime. After I replied back inquiring about an acceptable date, Brendon pushed the playful dare one step further and suggested a Texas A&M game in early September. To his surprise, I called his bluff and emailed him back a flight confirmation from California to Austin, Texas. Little did Brendon know, I was able to use special flight privileges to book a ticket for about $25. Once we enjoyed a low key weekend of Aggie football, bad BBQ, and sub-zero temperatures (sprinkle subtle sarcasm across the last three), the rest was history….
The Proposal Story – His Side First, then Hers….
Never had I been so nervous and so confident at the same time.
We boarded our red-eye flight out of SFO and I imagined us going through security and having TSA pull the ring I had meticulously packed away in my carry on out and open it in front of Kirsten, ruining all I had hoped would happen over the course of the next few days. Luckily that kind of stuff only happens in movies, or at least I convinced myself of that.
Upon arrival in Manchester, we took a quick nap to make up for not sleeping much on the red-eye, and spent the rest of the day lounging around and making sure the beach had plenty of footprints. My sister Lauren was getting in that night and the plan was to relax and cook a casserole for “later in the week.” My parents, as well as my sisters Erin and Cailin, were due to arrive in from Georgia. Kirsten knew that. What she did not know was that her parents and sister Bobbi had flown out and were planning on arriving at the house that evening under the cloak of darkness. While Lauren helped keep Kirsten busy, I helped her parents and Bobbi get settled out of sight.
The next day Kirsten was under the impression that we would be attending a fancy breakfast so naturally, she got fancy. Since she has the first one ready (by design) I suggested we go take some pictures on the beach while we were dressed nicely. While Cailin helped us snap a few photos at the beach, all others were busy preparing the casserole and mimosas up at the house. When we got up to the yard, I had Cailin take a picture of us, then offered to take a picture of Cailin and Kirsten so I would have the chance to swipe a ring out of the camera bag. After taking the picture I noticed I was having a hard time keeping my hands from shaking and figured I better go for it before Kirsten caught on. I approached her with a smile on my face and tried not to look too bamboozled when the ring box became stuck in my back right pocket. Dislodged, the ring box came to the foreground as I got down on one knee. Her hands rushed to her mouth and neither of us really remembered what happened in the following few minutes but I’m pretty sure I asked her to spend the rest of her life with me and she’s pretty sure she said, “Oh my gosh, yes!” After taking in the moment I continued my awkward dance to help her inside to greet my waiting family. I encouraged her to come join me in the kitchen where I allegedly had mimosas waiting. In place, across the room, Kirsten entered the door to the kitchen to find her parents and Bobbi waiting with smiles and congratulations.
Both families spent the next day, 4th of July, together and although this was the first time both full families had been together, it felt like just another family reunion. Stories were exchanged and memories made.
Since the beginning of our relationship, Brendon has been successful at surprising me. During the trip to A&M he mentions above, there was a surprise Colbie Caillat concert (amazing!); three months later a surprise trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico (beautiful!); one year after that a surprise family camping trip in Texas (memorable!); and three years later a proposal (life changing!). I must clarify that I was not surprised by the fact that Brendon proposed, but by the timing. Brendon had me fooled into thinking a potential proposal was at least 6 months away. So when he suggested we give Cailin an opportunity to use her new Nikon camera, I didn’t think anything of it.
We enjoyed our mini photo shoot on the beach, then made our way up to the house to meet up with the rest of the family. Like Brendon I have only a faint recollection of the actual proposal. But I seem to remember every bit of the conversation we had just before. Brendon and Cailin, who were likely a bit nervous about what was about to occur, let me ramble on about how male animals tend to be the more beautiful than their female counterparts… lions, peacocks, etc. Then, I remember taking the picture with Cailin and us holding an embrace for seemingly forever (while Brendon took the ring from the camera bad and put it into his pocket). I said to her “isn’t it funny when someone can’t get the camera to work and you end up hugging for an awkwardly long time.” Clearly, I still had no clue what was about to happen.
Brendon approached me and only when I noticed he was beginning to kneel and appeared to be shaking, did I comprehend. He pulled out the most beautiful ring and said what I imagine were the most beautiful words. I jumped into his arms, kissed him repeatedly, and had trouble taking my eyes from the ring. By this time, I knew that the rest of Brendon’s family was watching from the house. Before I had a chance to regret that my family had not been there… they WERE there! Amazing! In every way it was the most remarkable way for Brendon to ask me. Family + Manchester By-the-Sea + Diamonds + Pictures = Perfection.
Photos by Erica B Photography, a Northern California Wedding and Engagement Photographer.