Tyler and Sarah

Image 1 of Sarah and Tyler

how we met

Tyler: In late May of 2014, the L.A. Kings were in the playoffs, so a group of friends and I thought it would be fun to go to a game. Following the game, we decided to visit one of our favorite whiskey bars near the stadium. When we arrived, one of my friends half-jokingly suggested that I should start a conversation with a group of girls seated in the corner of the bar, but I had already had my eye on a cute brunette at the other end of the bar. I was recovering from ankle surgery at the time, so I crutched over to Sarah and asked if I could sit next to her. Sarah, being the sympathetic soul that she is, couldn’t say no, so I sat down and started a conversation. We hit it off and exchanged numbers, and then parted ways for the night. I couldn’t wait to see her again, and I had a volunteer event coming up for which I needed extra help, so as soon as I got up the nerve, I asked if she would come help out. She accepted, and that turned into our first date—we haven’t looked back since.

Image 2 of Sarah and Tyler

Sarah: Three weeks after I graduated from college at USC I went downtown with my best friend for a happy hour. I rarely went downtown but we decided to go that night. We weren’t going to stay long but I noticed next door there was a whiskey bar called Seven Grand that I had always heard about so we decided to stop by. Seven Grand is Tyler’s favorite bar, although he rarely makes it downtown either because he lives in Hermosa Beach. However he was there that night after an LA Kings game with friends. One of those friends told Tyler to go talk to a group of girls. He came over to me instead. He actually hobbled over to me on crutches (he had broken his ankle!) and asked if he could sit next to me. I couldn’t say no to to a guy on crutches! We hit it off immediately and he put his number in my phone at the end of the night. I remember being so excited about meeting him. He text me the next day, our first date was the following day and the rest is history!

Image 3 of Sarah and Tyler

how they asked

Tyler: When I decided that I wanted to propose to Sarah, I knew I wanted the ring to be special: I wanted it to symbolize both her as a person, and our relationship together. Sarah’s mom is from a big and close-knit Irish-American family, and she’s very proud of her Irish roots. She has a Claddagh ring, which features a heart, a crown, and two hands—an Irish symbol for love, loyalty, and friendship. Because those values are foundational to our relationship, I had the underside of the ring’s band engraved with the Claddagh symbol. Meanwhile, Sarah’s parents happened to be planning a family vacation to Ireland, which I perceived to be the perfect opportunity to pop the question. A few weeks prior to the trip, I called Sarah’s parents and made them aware of my intentions, asking for their blessing and for their help in planning the big event.

I had researched the Claddagh symbol, and found that it originated in Galway—one of the stops on our trip—so I planned a little date for us to sneak away. I researched photographers in Ireland, and sent emails to about 15 asking for availability. My absolute favorite photographer from my search—Paul Duane–happened to be the only one who responded that he was available and excited for the opportunity to capture the occasion. Paul was fantastic! He was so flexible with his schedule and helped me plan the logistics of getting to the right place in the city at the right time. Still, I was so nervous…I think I said about 10 words all day! When Sarah and I finally got away from the family for a bit, I took her to a little park area in the Galway city center, and spotted Paul across the way. He discretely directed me to a secluded area where he had perfect line of sight to capture the moment. Sarah wasn’t really sure what was going on, so it took a little effort to get her to stay still long enough for me to give my speech. I had planned about 5 sentences worth of speech that I wanted to say before formally popping the question, and the moment I launched into the speech, I forgot every word of it! I stuttered and stumbled my way through telling Sarah how much I loved her, and that I believed she made me a better person, and that I wanted to do the same for her for the rest of our lives, then I hit a knee and pulled the ring out with trembling hands. I will never be able to explain the joy I felt when she said yes! I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with her.

Image 4 of Sarah and Tyler

Sarah: Tyler had been saying things that made me suspicious for a couple weeks. He told me on our anniversary that the second half of my gift hadn’t “come in the mail yet”. I kept asking him what it was. At one point, I literally said, “What is it? A ring?” He didn’t say anything to that and a lot of my other obnoxious probing but he told me he could tell me what it was in about a week. I noticed a week from then would be when we were in Galway on our trip to Ireland with my family. So on July 27th in Galway, Tyler took me away from our family dinner to a “surprise”. As I said goodbye to my parents my dad asked Tyler where we were going (which is funny because he knew exactly what was going on and that it was a surprise) and Tyler responded “a museum”.

He continued to tell me we were going to the Claddagh Museum. Claddaghs are the Irish symbol for love, loyalty and friendship and apparently claddaghs came about in Galway. I didn’t see a ring box in his pocket and believed him for the most part. So we headed out to “the museum” and we got to this area in Galway called “The Claddagh”. At this point you can see the ocean, docked ships and these colorful buildings that are iconic to Galway. You can also see a cathedral and The Claddagh Church from other directions. I told Tyler we should stop and take a picture while we were there quickly before going to the museum. So we took a selfie. Then all of a sudden Tyler turns to me and says “I need to say something to you” with tears in his eyes and I knew it was coming.

Image 5 of Sarah and Tyler

He said, “I love you, you make me a better person…” And then he pulled out a gorgeous gold ring (which has a claddagh engraved on the inside of it) out of his bare pocket and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was elated but also very nervous and couldn’t find my words! Eventually, Tyler asked me if I could just put on the ring already. I said yes!

Image 6 of Sarah and Tyler

Image 7 of Sarah and Tyler

I also told him there was a man taking pictures of us and then realized Tyler had hired this photographer, which was pretty sweet since he hates pictures. We took some pictures with Paul Duane, who was our amazing photographer, and then we were off. We got some champagne in Galway by ourselves then rejoined my family to celebrate.

Image 8 of Sarah and Tyler

Image 9 of Sarah and Tyler

It was a great day to celebrate because Galway had a bunch of horseraces going on that week which they tell us is similar to our Kentucky Derby. So the streets were bustling and Irish men and women kissed us on the cheeks and shook our hands to congratulate us and we danced in the street with my family and drank more champagne!

Image 10 of Sarah and Tyler

Image 11 of Sarah and Tyler

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Special Thanks

Paul Duane Photography
 | photographer