Sarah and Jonathan's Epic Surprise Proposal

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How We Met: We’ve technically known each other for like 20 years, because Jonathan went to school with my brothers, but we started actually hanging out with each other when my friends’ older brother was friends with Jonathan so he was around at her house quite a bit. A birthday party in 2010 was what we really consider the beginning of “us” and we’ve been together ever since!

We consider our relationship “serendipity” because it was something neither of us were looking for or expected to happen at a silly house party. It just happened to be that Jonathan was in town one more night before heading out on a business trip and due to a party gone wild, we spent the entire evening talking and haven’t spent a day without talking ever since! We’re living proof that you can’t search for love, love just finds you at the strangest of times.

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how they asked: My dad is a pastor, so we attend church every Saturday morning. During the week prior, my mom said to me “I think I just want to sleep in on Saturday and skip church to just hang out.” This wasn’t that out of the ordinary because every once in a while, she likes to do this. I assumed we would lay in bed and watch the live stream of church online and then head to meet my dad & Jonathan for lunch.

Jonathan went off to church with my dad to teach our youth group class and because he had to present something in front of the congregation during the service (more about that later). My mom and sister insisted that we head to La Jolla for breakfast. So much for staying in bed all morning! Off we went to the beach in sweatshirts and no makeup. Jonathan even said to me before he left “are you going to start getting ready?” as I threw my hair into a ponytail. Silly me, I should’ve known something was up.

As we finished up eating our to-die-for french toast, my mom asked us what we should do next. I suggested that we drive up to Mt. Soledad, the place where Jonathan officially asked me to be his girlfriend in 2010, to see the amazing views of San Diego. I even said to my mom “we can’t tell Jonathan because I think he wants to propose up there and hasn’t taken me back since 2010!” Little did I know, they were going to suggest we go to Mt. Soledad because that was the first stop on a day full of surprises. Crazy that I suggested it first with absolutely no idea that it was in the plans all along!

We drove up the windy mountain road and walked over to the edge to look at the view of the ocean and all of La Jolla. We stood there peacefully when all of a sudden, I heard an iPhone playing Bruno Mars “Marry You” and it was coming from beside me. There sat Jonathan’s best friend Michael and his wife, my dear friend, Lindsay. Michael danced around in a way only he knows how and I threw my head back, hysterically laughing.

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Jonathan had always joked that he was going to propose during a flash mob to that song (since he knows how cheesy I think flash mob proposals are) so I looked around expecting him to jump out and propose. Michael pulled an envelope out of his shorts pocket and inside was a handwritten letter from my Jonathan:

“You obviously know what is going on by now, however, I wanted this moment to last a little longer than most,” it read. “Don’t call or text me. This is your day that I want you to cherish and enjoy. I will be here to text and call for the rest of our lives, so I think we can make it a couple of hours. I’ll meet you at some point, but until then, have fun! I love you more than words and I can’t wait to embark on this next part of our lives.”

I was shaking uncontrollably and could not stop smiling. I was whisked away by Michael and Lindsay with no idea as to where we were headed. We pulled into a spa in Encinitas that Jonathan had sent me to on my birthday a few years prior. The man knows what I love. Lindsay gave me my next letter from Jonathan. Not only did he book me a massage and mani-pedi, but two of my best friends, Denise and Lauren, met up with us there! When the massage therapist took me back to my treatment room, she asked “so what are you girls celebrating today?” I replied “I’m getting engaged today!” I’ve never seen someone look so confused. “Isn’t that supposed to be a surprise?” she asked. This whole day was full of surprises, and I love that I was able to have an entire day of fun leading up to the biggest moment of my life.

I was given my next letter by Denise and told to head across the road to lunch at Vigilucci’s, the most delicious little Italian restaurant. When we got outside to our table on the patio, my two college roommates were sitting at the table! Cue the girly screams and massive amounts of hugs. We were treated to an amazing lunch by my sweet soon-to-be-fiancee on the empty back patio we had all to ourselves.

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After lunch, my roomies gave me letter #4 and told me that we had to get going. They drove me to a restaurant where Jonathan and I had one of our less pleasant fights. The letter said “ I want this place to have better memories than the current ones.” When we arrived, Jonathan’s roommates were waiting for us. As the day went along, it was so much fun to keep meeting up with more and more unexpected people!

The boys gave me my final letter: “This day has been a journey from where it all began and now the boys will take you to a place that I want to be ours forevermore. I love you and I can’t wait to see you.”

Cue the insane butterflies. The moment had f i n a l l y arrived.

The boys played a prank on me and convinced me that I was taking a private plane to Palm Springs to meet up with Jonathan (since they know I hate/am deathly terrified of flying). That caused a different, panicky sort of butterflies as we pulled into an airport on our drive. They got a real kick out of watching me almost cry at the thought of having to get on an airplane. Thanks guys!

We got to Carlsbad and the boys told me to head down the stairs to the beach. This was a beach that Jonathan and I spent many an evening watching the sun set after dinner in the early years of our relationship. When I reached the sand, there was my handsome man.

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We both held back tears as we were holding hands and shaking, and the moment I had been waiting for was officially happening. My sweet love got down on one knee opened the most beautiful little box and revealed the most stunning ring…that he had custom made!


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I feel so silly looking back, because I didn’t notice what he was standing in front of until after he proposed. I was just so focused on finally getting to see him after the amazing day that he had planned for me! We are huge Disneyland people and when we didn’t have passes, we would sit against the “California” letters outside of California Adventure and watch the fireworks. We considered the I “ours” and our first “I love you’s” were said sitting against that giant letter. Since those letters are no longer there, Jonathan built our very own “I” so that he could propose in front of “our” place.

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After hugs and kisses galore, my friend Dawn of Dawn Alexandra Photography popped out and had been photographing the whole thing! Jonathan’s roommates ran down the stairs to congratulate us and they pulled out their phones & the GoPro to show me what happened at church that morning: my now Fiance had asked for my dad’s permission to marry me in front of our entire church congregation.

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I. Died. That almost teared me up more than the actual proposal!

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Jonathan was exhausted from all the butterflies and was starving, so we finished up our photos and headed to dinner. When we got there, both of our families were in a private room and we all celebrated together!

We headed back to Jonathan’s to hang out with his roommates and relax after our very long, wonderful day. We walked in the front door to see balloons, pictures of us everywhere, and all of our closest friends yelling surprise! This day just kept getting better and better! My sister & mom had put together an insane engagement party for us to celebrate the night away with our best friends and biggest supporters.

I couldn’t ask for a better group of friends, family. Everyone worked together to pull off a day of surprises to celebrate the love that Jonathan and I have for each other and the exciting journey towards becoming husband and wife. It takes a village, and boy do I have a darn good one.

And of course, my amazing Fiance. Are you kidding? There are no words. I’m still not sure that March 21st wasn’t a dream.

He is too good to me.

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Photography by Dawn Alexandra Photography