La Tiffaney and Joe

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How We Met

We met on a night out in Seattle back in October of 2013. It was a Thursday night and I was out with one of my friends, she was with one of hers. The night was basically over, bars closing and we were about to grab an Uber home when all of the sudden I noticed a girl walking on the other side of the street in the opposite direction, typically I would have done nothing, as there wasn’t even an excuse to start a conversation at that point, but something in me told me that I had to give it a shot. I told my friend that I had to try talk to this girl and we crossed the street and began walking after them (sounds creepy I know but I had no option).

Luckily for me, her and her friend stopped and got in line at the walk up pizza window at a place called Big Mario’s and I knew that this was my shot. I have a really hard time approaching strangers of the opposite sex but this time was different, I didn’t give myself the chance to over analyze or think about it. It was probably some combination of just the right number of drinks, them stopping at just the right time and that she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, that summoned the confidence I needed to make a move.

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I waited until they got to the front of the line and when they ordered I quickly slid in and added a slice on, promptly handing cash across to pay for them all so nobody really even had a chance to say anything. They thanked me (even though they were laughing), we had a good conversation while eating our slices and I ended up walking her and her friend back home. I had never before felt such an immediate connection with somebody. I even had a plan to be single at the time, but after meeting her, all bets were off, I had a sense that things were different.

Even if I wasn’t ready to admit it, looking back I knew that she was special. Even after learning that she was from Portland I convinced her to give me her number and texted her the next morning at practically the crack of dawn. We stayed in touch (I was determined to) and she ended up having a reason to come back up the next month when we had our official first date and the rest is history. Sometimes I think about how small the window was for me to have even seen her. If I would have been looking in the opposite direction, or down at my phone (more likely) I would have missed her and she would have gone back to Portland. I can’t help but feel lucky whenever I think about it.

how they asked

I have always known that when I proposed I wanted it to be special. There is something so special about seeing a person light up when asked to tell the story of such a big moment in their life that I was set on having it be perfect. I knew that I wanted to marry her after our first date, I even texted my mom saying so (more on this later), so my planning started early. I saved just about everything that you can think of from our relationship. I have the ticket stub from our very first date, a collection of plane tickets, receipts, photos, hotel cards, wrappers from favorite things and everything in between. I am very sentimental and not knowing exactly how the final form would shape up in a proposal I kept just about everything for 2.5 years and did so without her noticing what I was up to. I had a special box in the back of the closet and when that filled up I started storing things at a friends house. One of my best friends’ Mom is a very talented at scrap booking and I knew she would love to help with such a big occasion as I have known her since I was about 8 years old.

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I took all of the things I had saved to her house and began walking her through our whole relationship. Taking the time to explain so many little details to another person was a really fun experience and really highlighted how many great times we had together over our 2.5 years. She recommended that we begin organizing things chronologically and then starting to narrow it down later. She helped me pic out a scrap book, and order all of the paper, and supplies that would be needed (not at all a short list!). We then had more sessions together and stayed in touch over a few months until the book of our life together began to shape up. Finally it got to the point where it was mine to finish and I couldn’t have been happier with the way that it turned out.

Finally I got to a place where I could start seriously saving for the ring and then I knew it was time to shape up the plan. Her family is extremely important to her and so I knew that I wanted to have them involved. After asking her Father for permission, I asked them if they thought it was possible to get everyone up to Seattle (from Arizona where she is originally from) and they said absolutely. We arranged for her parents, her brother, 2 sisters, her grandparents and even her closest cousin with her new born twin boys (taking their first flight!) all to travel up for a surprise party right after I popped the question. My favorite place in the world and somewhere special to us, is my parents lake house on Lake Cavanaugh, a small lake about an hr North of Seattle.

I hoped that it would be the perfect place to surprise her. With the book ready, and all the family ready to go I had to pick a place to actually pop the question. I wanted the moment to be ours and didn’t want to do that part in front of everyone, but my options were limited if we went to the lake first. At the same time, if I did it in Seattle, the 85 minute drive up to the lake would be anti climactic. Finally it came to me, the perfect idea to add something truly memorable and solve the distance issue between the proposal and the surprise party. I called Kenmore Air, a small local seaplane airline and asked if it would be possible to charter the 24 minute flight from Lake Union in Seattle to Lake Cavanaugh. They were happy to oblige and seemed pretty excited about my plans. Now I had the ring, the date, the scrap book, family travel all arranged and all of our friends informed, I just had to keep the surprise and pray for good weather. The day of… I had been a little bit stressed due to secretly trying to arrange logistics as people were coming in town but it was a beautiful Seattle summer day and I had made it without ruining the surprise.

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I had picked out an area on the side of the lake, not far down from where we would eventually board the seaplane and go to the lake. We live alongside Lake Union in Seattle and a ton of time on or around the water so it was perfect to both keep the secrecy and be meaningful at the same time. We were having a pretty lazy day and I was so glad that she truly didn’t seem to sense that I was up to something. We went to lunch and started watching a movie when I proposed heading up to the lake. We threw a quick bag together and headed out, she initially questioned the route I was taking but I brushed it off and made it seem like I had to pick something up first. We were about 5 minutes away from home, got out and took a quick walk over to a bench. I sat down and nervously motioned for her to do the same. I could sense her confusion but I don’t think she really knew what was going on yet. This was the moment that I pulled out the book and flipped it to the first page…

These are some of my favorite pages…

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She could not believe how many things that I had saved without her knowing.

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I was surprised at how emotional it was for me, yes there were a couple tears and she cried as well. I quickly went about a quarter of the way in before flipping to the last page, while getting down on one knee….

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She said yes, and I rushed her towards the dock where we would board the seaplane. By this point she had no idea what was going on and I told her we were still going to the lake. I knew that the real surprise was still waiting and that she suspected a low key night at the lake. We had over 50 people waiting for us up there. I instructed my family and our friends to be outside waiting for us to pull up and hers to wait inside to keep the surprises coming. We had a beautiful scenic flight up and I will never forget the joy in those moments.

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When we landed and she saw the crowd she lost it. My dad went up to her and told her to come inside and then her family members all came out. By this point she was overwhelmed and just so happy. We spent the rest of the day and night celebrating with friends and family, many people meeting for the first time. There is absolutely nothing that I would change about the day, it was perfect.

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Special Thanks

Sara Olson
 | This is my good friends mom and scrap booking expert. She did so much work to help make it special. I never would have been able to execute it without her. She is one of those Moms that is a Mom to all of our friends and we love her for it. She would even have fresh baked cookies ready when we would work on it.
My Parents
 | My parents were amazing with all of their help. They allowed me to use their lake house for the big surprise party and helped coordinate all of the moving pieces.
Her Parents
 | They were a huge help in coordinateing the travel for everyone and making sure that the plan went off without a hitch. It is no easy task booking travel to seattle in the summer, and especially not when it is a short window.