Madeline and Daryl

How We Met

Daryl and I first met when I moved back to my hometown after spending several years in California for college and work. He had actually moved from Memphis to Colorado the same year I left for school, and we missed each other by a matter of weeks! One of his first jobs was working at a retail store with one of my best friends from high school. The two of them ended up becoming best friends, and have even worked together at two other jobs.

Over the years he developed a passion for photography, and she was regularly posting pictures he had taken of her so I kind of knew who he was. Fast forward to several months after I had moved back and my little brother was getting ready to leave for college. My mom wanted family photos before he left, and I had to idea to ask Daryl. My mom, who loves spooky things, had decided that she wanted our photos taken at an old abandoned cemetery in a small mountain town on the outskirts of where we live. Daryl, not knowing what he was about to get himself into, agreed and met up with us at 6 am at the cemetery to take the photos. I was instantly attracted to him. My mom loved the pictures he took, and I began trying to dream up ways to hang out with him again. I mentioned my crush to our mutual friend who then made it her mission to get us together. Unbeknownst to both of us, she began planning things where we would eventually end up together.

One night he asked if I wanted to go grab drinks (both of us thinking it was just friendly), and we ran into a friend of his who began to tease him about being a photographer and getting to hang out with pretty girls all the time. His friend’s girlfriend tried to get him to stop by quietly whispering “can’t you tell they’re on a date?” To which he responded in a booming voice “OH MY BAD, IS THIS A DATE?” An awkward silence descended while Daryl and I looked at each other before he finally broke and said: “well it could be a date if you want it to be.”

About 20 minutes later, as we were leaving the bar, I confessed that I had never actually been on a date before and was happy that our night out had turned into one. Daryl stopped in his tracks and just looked at me, somewhat stunned. It took some time to convince him I was telling the truth (I’ve had multiple boyfriends but not a single one had ever asked me on a date or honestly taken me on one unless you count high school dances), at which point he declared “This can’t be our first date then. We gotta do this right. What are you doing on Sunday?” The following Sunday he took me to dinner and a movie followed by a walk in the park, and that was the moment I knew I was done with anyone else but him.

How They Asked

We had been talking about marriage for well over a year by the time Daryl popped the question. I knew the proposal was coming and had told him that I didn’t need anything fancy. I’m a pretty simple girl in general and never thought I would get married in the first place, so I said that I would be happy with him asking over pizza in bed. Daryl, however, was dead set on not only surprising me but also asking in a romantic way. For about a year we had talked about traveling internationally, so when he surprised me on our anniversary with a week-long trip to Mexico, I had some suspicions. I figured he might ask towards the end of our week so I mentally prepared myself and made sure to pack a pretty dress.

Our first morning in Mexico arrived and we already had something booked. While I got held up in customs after arriving the day before, Daryl had been rushed through and found himself waiting for me in an area filled with resort people basically trying to sell you a timeshare by enticing you with free margarita shots and cheap fun excursions for your stay, if you just attend a brief 60 minute presentation at the resort first. Unfortunately, he’s pretty susceptible to that sort of marketing ploy and agreed to both of us attending in exchange for 2 bottles of tequila, a couple’s massage, and a day-long snorkeling expedition. We ended up trapped at the resort for close to 6 hours! I started referring to it as the Timeshare Timewarp. It felt like that episode of South Park where the parents keep attempting to leave this ski resort and somehow just get rerouted back to the presentation room. And he nearly agreed to buy a timeshare!! Ironically, we also had to pretend to be a married couple because the dude at the airport was really only supposed to be recruiting married couples. We even had fake rings?

We finally got out of there because he said we had plans to be somewhere at a specific time. On the ride back to our AirBnB he told me we didn’t have plans, he had just wanted to leave so we could have time to go to a beach he had found and take some pictures. I happily agreed since I love the beach, and a short taxi ride later we were climbing down a steep set of stairs to a nearly deserted beach.

At this point, it’s necessary to share that Daryl had been complaining of chest pain since he first woke up that morning. He said it felt like he had a crushing weight on his chest and was having a hard time breathing. I was terrified he had torn a muscle or something had happened while we were flying that was causing the pain. I was pestering him nonstop about going to a doctor, but he insisted we go to the beach and promised that if it got worse we would go to an ER. Somewhat appeased, and definitely still worried, I agreed.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I was keeping a close eye on Daryl as we made our way along the beach and hardly noticed anyone else around us except someone who appeared to be sleeping in what looked like a lifeguard tower. I remember thinking they weren’t a very good lifeguard if they were sleeping on the job. Daryl stopped just shy of the tower near a grouping of large rocks. I had been holding my passport and phone in my hand and quickly tucked them into my bag before setting it down on some rocks. Daryl took a few photos before starting to lead me further out onto a larger rock.

Proposal Ideas Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I followed but continued to nervously check back every couple minutes to make sure my bag was still there. Out of nowhere he turns to me and says “Babe, I think I know why my chest has been hurting all day.”

Panicked, I start to reply before suddenly noticing movement out of the corner of my eye. I whip my head back to check on my bag only to see a massive camera lens. Confused, I turn back to Daryl to ask him if someone is taking our photo when he drops to his knee and pulls out a ring box. I instantly yelled “Oh my God, what are you doing?!” before pulling the classic proposal move of covering my face with my hands.

Where to Propose in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I barely even remember him asking, I just remember crying and shouting “YES YES YES” before looking down and realizing I was still wearing the stupid fake ring from the resort. I had even joked with him on the taxi ride over about how I should take it off and he had said “You can leave it, I’m keeping mine on” the little sneaker.

Madeline and Daryl's Engagement in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Madeline's Proposal in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

After he replaced the fake ring with the real one I looked up to find two people taking photos and shouting in celebration. Turns out he had hired one of our friends that’s also a photographer to fly down with her boyfriend and not only capture the engagement, but also take our engagement photos right then and there in Mexico!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

We took some on the beach before heading back to our AirBnB to clean up and change into different clothes. Our amazing roommate had talked me into bringing a dress I had been saving for engagement photos so I even got to wear the exact outfit I wanted.

We wandered around on the boardwalk taking photos for a few hours before all going out to dinner at a nice restaurant right on the beach. It was everything I never knew I wanted from a proposal. Being with friends was so fun and our pictures are incredible. We both decided not to say anything on social media until we got back home so we got to spend a week in our own little romantic bubble. It was absolutely perfect in every way and I’m so lucky I get to spend the rest of my life with this incredible man.

Also, there was never anything wrong with his chest. Poor guy worked himself into such a nervous fit he was basically having a panic attack for the entire day. God, I love that man.

Special Thanks

Ali Vagnini
 | Photographer