Leah and Stephen

Image 2 of Leah and Stephen

How We Met

At the beginning of last summer I decided I wanted to focus on enjoying single life in LA! Out of nowhere a former coworker of mine texted me and asked if he could set me up on a date with “the nicest guy ever.” I told him no. After making quite the case for his friend Stephen, he finally convinced me to meet him in a group setting. Stephen and I met up and immediately hit it off, ending the night with a kiss that got red lipstick all over his face (oops!). Unfortunately, he lived in Oklahoma at the time and I wasn’t sure I wanted to try long distance. Fast forward two weeks of talking, Stephen told me he was moving to LA.

Image 1 of Leah and Stephen

How They Asked

During the pandemic, Stephen was offered an amazing job in Colorado, so we were doing long distance. We’d been talking about getting engaged for months and I was not-so-secrety hoping he would propose in LA so that I’d be able to celebrate with my friends before I moved to join him. This past Saturday my best friend Louise made a reservation for us to get lunch at the Eataly rooftop where she was planning on surprising me with Stephen who flew in that morning. Unfortunately, I had to have some last-minute work on my car done and unknowingly made her job of surprising me much more difficult by asking if she would pick me up while my car was being worked on.

Image 11 of Leah and Stephen

Louise managed it with grace so I was unaware of what was coming, but the hostess almost spoiled it by looking at her and asking if our reservation was for 3 not 2! Luckily I didn’t catch on and when we were walking out to the rooftop I saw Stephen sitting at the table. I was so excited to see him and he explained he wanted to do one last day in LA with me. We had a great lunch, went to froyo at our favorite spot, and then he told me we needed to get ready for a fancy dinner reservation he’d made in Malibu. We both got dressed up and drove to the beach where he requested we park right in front of my favorite stretch of sand… where there are no nearby restaurants. We got out of the car and started walking on the beach.

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At this point, I was pretty sure he would propose soon but didn’t see anything in front of us along the beach that made sense for him to stop at. All of a sudden he took my shoulders and looked me in the eye and told me he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! For the first time in my life, I was speechless – except for saying yes!

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The ring was even more beautiful than I could have hoped. He used a ring my grandma had given me as the setting and modified it with a stunning oval cut diamond in the center. It was a particularly meaningful way to incorporate her since she had passed away about a year and a half prior. Where he had (seemingly randomly) stopped was right by where one of my best friends, Eleanor, was hiding.

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She is conveniently an insanely talented professional photographer and took the MOST amazing photos. Then we all walked back towards a beautiful candle-lit picnic my friends had set up with champagne and charcuterie and Jon & Vinny’s pizza for a (socially distanced) beach engagement party. That night was so full of love and celebration and all my favorite people. Truly one of the best nights of my life!

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Special Thanks

Eleanor Lee
 | Photographer