We’re FINALLY getting around to sharing this sweet, romantic Marysville wedding.
This one has one heck of a proposal story, so you won’t want to miss it!
How did the two of you meet?
Our moms met in third grade and were best friends growing up. I was friends with his sister when we were kids, but our families didn’t see much of each other after we were about ten or so. We had dinner with them once when I was sixteen or so, and his dad began making jokes to my mom that if this were still the time of arranged marriages, we’d be talking llamas and goats. Or sheep and chickens. Or something. The animals changed every time that he made the joke. Powell and I both were embarrassed for the other, though we didn’t see each other and didn’t know that.
His dad intimidated me, and when I saw him I was nervous that he would make an awkward joke or something. Powell’s sister got married, and I was going to the wedding. I was terrified that his dad would make us dance or put us in some other awkward situation, and my mom told his dad that (I was not a happy camper when she told me that). She then proceeded to also tell his Aunt Jen, and pretty soon the whole family knew.
We both went to the wedding determined not to like the other, but there was undeniable chemistry even in the few minutes we were around each other. We both stayed longer than planned just to be around each other. His Aunt Jen told me she had threatened his dad about the dancing thing, but mentioned how great of a guy he was and how much she’d love to have me in the family. I had a date the next day though, which I thought was going to be great, so as I drove away thinking about him, I told myself to stop. The date did not go so great as I thought, and I ended up talking to my family about the chemistry I felt with him. My mom set up dinner under the guise of needing to return some stuff from the wedding to his parents. We sat next to each other, but made eye contact for about five seconds during the entire night.
I thought he was going to ask me out, but a week went by and he hadn’t, so I shrugged it off. I didn’t realize that he had come over to ask my parents’ permission to ask me out early in the week, and they just hadn’t told me. So I hopped out of the shower, threw on some pajamas and rolled down to Marysville. I did my hair in the car. I was not ready to see people. Then there was a knock at the door, and in a whirlwind I had said yes to a date the next day. The date was great, and he called me about three hours after the date to ask me for a second one.
Tell me all about the proposal.
Originally, I was going to pick out three or so different rings with my mom and Powell was going to pick from those ones which one to buy– that way, he’d be sure I’d like the ring, but it would still come from him. All the rings I picked ended up being about the same. We went to the jewelry store because he wanted me to look at the difference in some diamonds, but the salesman thought we wanted to look at more settings, so he pulled one that was very similar to the three stone style I had liked, but with what they call a trinity setting, where the two side stones are actually made up of three little stones. I really liked the way it looked, but I liked the side view of the classic three stone better. The salesman assured us that the trinity could be customized to have a cathedral style mounting like the other one.
We were still waiting for my dad to give his blessing, (he LOVES Powell, but had a hard time with this one!) so Powell didn’t buy the ring yet. About a week later, he was going to come up to Bellingham to pick me up for the weekend, which had become our routine, but my dad asked him to come over the night before. We were sure that this HAD to be the moment. They talked for a while, and my dad told him that he wanted to talk again after he and my mom got back from vacation the next week. My mom gave him a look and asked what difference a week would make; my dad realized she was right and told Powell he had his blessing to ask for my hand. His only condition was that he and my mom were in town when it happened.
I was in the mall with some friends at the time. Powell called me and told me that my dad hadn’t said yes and wanted to talk to him again the next week. I couldn’t hold back tears as disappointment overwhelmed me. Powell quickly retracted what he said, not wanting me to cry or to be mad at my dad for no reason, and told me it was a joke, he had said yes. Stinker!
The next day he went to buy the ring, and found out it could take anywhere from four to six weeks to be made due to the customization. We debated whether to get a different ring, but I finally said I thought we should just go with this because an extra few weeks to have the ring of my dreams wouldn’t make that much of a difference compared to the rest of my life.
Powell was pretty sick on that particular day. He had driven around for work all day long, then drove the sixty miles or so to come get me in Bellingham. From there he drove me down to Seattle for a bachelorette party. On the drive down, he asked me if I was sure that he couldn’t just put a string on my finger. “We could go string shopping, it’ll be cute!” I insisted that I wanted the ring to go with the proposal. I was texting my mom, telling her that he wanted to propose without the ring, and she asked me what was more important– the ring, or being engaged. I had to admit that she was right, and being engaged was the most important thing. Her response was, “Well, pull over then!” We were on the freeway and did not pull over. 🙂
I went to the bachelorette party, and as far as I knew, Powell went to get himself dinner, some Sudafed, and read a book. He picked me up about two hours later, and we were somewhere near Shoreline when he looked at me and said, “So, what would make this proposal special even though it won’t be with the ring?”
A little backstory is necessary here; we had stumbled on this spot on our second date where we watched the most perfect sunset ever to have existed, and he asked me then to be his girlfriend. It was a scene straight out of a movie. We went back there on our second second date after getting back together, (a story for another time!) which was only a week after I broke up with him. We joked on the way there that he always had to say important things when we went there, and while we were watching the sunset that night, he said “I know the important thing I’m going to say.” I smiled and said, “Oh yeah?” He looked me right in the eyes and said “Yeah. I love you.” (Don’t worry, I said it back.)
So back to Shoreline, I had figured out a while before where he was planing to propose– where else would he say something important? In response to his question I said, “Just take me to the spot, there’ll be a sunset, it’ll be cute.” He asked me what would happen if we were a little late and there wasn’t a sunset. I said, “Well then there will be stars!” He nodded silently and then a few seconds later, looking at the road and not at me, he said, “Okay, we’re going to Bellingham.”
I stared at him in disbelief. “No we’re not! No! It’s 9:30! You’re so sick and you need to sleep! You’ve already driven to Bellingham today!” He was unwavering. I didn’t believe him for a solid five minutes, and when I finally decided he was telling the truth, I sat quietly for a few minutes just smiling before I realized– “But my parents wanted to be here! It’ll be one before we get home– that doesn’t count!” He calmly told me that he already called them and they said it was okay. “Oh…Well did you call your parents??” Yes, he thought of everything.
So off we went. We stopped in Marysville and he got a quad mocha, hoping it would be enough to keep his tired body awake for the next hour and a half. He was counting on adrenaline to work for him on the way back down. I sent a quick “HELLO FRIENDS I’M ON MY WAY TO GET ENGAGED” text to the group chat with my girlfriends. He spent most of the rest of the drive telling me how he had gone to Fred Meyer while I was at the party, because craft stores are hard to find open at that time of night, and had tried to buy a ring box from the jewelry department. The woman told him that they couldn’t give out ring boxes. He went looking for a cheap piece of jewelry that would come in one, but there were none to be found. He went back to the jewelry department to buy the cheapest ring she had, just for the box. She asked why, and he told her “I’m going to propose to my girlfriend with a piece of string.” The woman gave him a blank stare and then said, “Are you SURE?”
Finally she gave him a ring box, pretending for the security camera that he had purchased a ring the day before and she had forgotten to give him a box.
Next he had to find string. He bought some kite string and spent about an hour trying to figure out how to tie it around his finger. After the string had frayed him several times, he gave up. Then he remembered that he had some Hawaiian leis in the back of his car that had been sitting there since a family birthday party. He cut one open and made a ring from the string inside of it.
The spot where we watch the sunset doesn’t exactly radiate super safe feelings in the daytime; there is definitely a pile of garbage, old couches, and some needles that you have to pass in order to get there. Once you arrive at the spot, it’s a beautiful, rocky bluff overlooking the water, but the drive there puts you on edge a little.
Now imagine that in the dark. It was around 11:30 when we got there, and I told him to take a wrong turn, which resulted in him having to turn around in a space about the size of his car. We got to the bluff, and there were people in our spot! Of all the times for there to be people, how is this it?! So we backed up, trying to decide what to do. Not far down the road there was an area off the road big enough to park in. There was one car there and the activity happening in it seemed…potentially illicit, but we parked anyway and were about to get out when another car pulled up right behind the other one. We couldn’t shake the feeling that we might get shot if we stayed there, so we turned around.
Now what? Where can we go? Should we just pull over on the side of the road somewhere? I remembered that Barkley Village has cute cafe lights strung across the street and suggested that, but then I wasn’t sure if they always kept the lights on. Finally I told him to just head toward Fairhaven, as most of our dates had ended up being there. We turned onto the main street in Fairhaven, and I pointed to some twinkle lights woven into a hedge, and said “there’s some cute lights!” He pulled into the parking spot in front of them, which was also in front of a Jalepeño’s restaurant.
A car was driving by very slowly, and we decided to wait for it to pass. Just as we got out of the car, a truck, also driving very slowly and also looking like it had seen some illicit activity in its time, started coming down the street. The blinker was on, so we decided to just wait for it to turn.
It didn’t turn.
The old man driving the truck stared at us all the way down the street, and we joked that maybe this is where we would get shot after all. Finally he was gone, and Powell got down on one knee. Right there in the parking spot.
I can’t remember exactly what all he said to me, but I will never forget the look on his face as he told me why he loved me and asked me to marry him. He had just gotten a haircut that day, not even knowing that he was going to propose to me, so he looked clean cut and sharp. He had on a burgundy Vans sweatshirt and khaki shorts and grey Vans, and the biggest, most genuine smile I’ve ever seen from him. That image is burned into my mind forever.
He was just starting to talk when someone tapped on a window. We could never figure out which window, but it distracted him enough that he lost his train of thought and his speech came out in a sweet, jumbled pile of words describing his love for me. He forgot to use my full name when he asked me to marry him, but I still said yes. 🙂
So there he was on one knee, and he pulled out a ring box with a string set neatly inside of it in a circle. I had giggled from overflowing excitement through his entire speech, and then giggled “YES.” He said we should get in the car to put the string on because it was going to be a little complicated, but I said no, this is cuter! After about ten seconds I realized how cold it was and changed my mind. He stood up…and forgot to kiss me.
We got in the car and finagled the string onto my finger. He had to get gas, so I called my mom while he did, and she insisted she’d stay up and wait for us. We headed back south, for the last sixty miles of the three hundred or so he drove that day. He stopped to kiss me at a stop sign until someone drove up behind us.
When we got back to my parents’ house, he realized that he had bought a bottle of sparkling cider and forgot all about it. He opened it with…a keychain? His teeth? I really have no memory but we each drank a sip from the bottle before going inside.
My mom did wait for us. We poured the rest of our cider into glasses and talked with her for a while. He was at their house until about 2:30 in the morning, and then came over again for pancakes in the morning. I said I wasn’t going to wear the string for more than a couple of days, but I ended up wearing it for the whole eight weeks until I got my real ring.
The real ring did finally come, and he proposed again, this time with my full name. He was waiting at my apartment when I got home, and came to open my door and dropped to one knee right there. In his words, “I did it in a parking spot once, why not again?” I said yes again, and then we went to dinner at the Fairhaven Jalapeño’s.
Is there anything special about the venue you chose for your Marysville wedding?
This is the church building I grew up in, though a different church now uses it. It is also the place where my parents got married in 1993.
Describe anything special that you’re planning at the wedding.
My song with my dad is “I Loved Her First” covered by Elliott Park. Not long after we got engaged, I was dancing with Powell in the dining room at my parents house. My dad walked in and started crying, unbeknownst to me. I asked him to dance with me, and Powell suggested I play the song I had picked for our dance at the wedding. We were only a little bit into the song when he started crying uncontrollably, using me to support his weight. Powell’s family arrived just then for dinner, and my dad disappeared into his room. I went to check on him about twenty minutes later, and we had a talk and cry and he kissed me on the forehead and then we just held each other for a few minutes. During dinner, someone suggested toasts, and everyone went around the table and made very sweet comments to the two of us. My dad went last and told Powell that if he were even half of who he was, he would be more than he’d ever prayed for me to have. There were a few other things that he said, but between the tears on his cheek and in the rest of our eyes, I don’t think anyone really remembers what they were.
I debated going with a different song, but decided to stick with that one because it had a sweet memory attached to it, and the words describe so well what my dad would say to Powell.
For our first dance as husband and wife, we selected the song “I Get to Love You” by Ruelle. I was listening to our collaborative playlist of love songs to each other on Spotify one day, and that song came up as a suggested track. I listened to it and the lyrics described so exactly how we felt about each other and sentiments we had communicated to one another that I teared up and told him that night, this is our first dance song. I can’t remember for sure, but I think we may not have even been engaged yet at that point.
What are you most looking forward to at your wedding?
I am probably anticipating the moment when the doors to the sanctuary open and I start walking down the aisle the most. For whatever reason, this is the moment I have always pictured when I’ve dreamed about my wedding, ever since I was a little girl. I’ve pictured looking at my groom down the aisle, the music in the background, I’ve imagined the flood of emotions washing over me as it becomes real that this is my wedding and I am only a walk down the aisle away from marrying the man of my dreams. I’ve always pictured it in this venue too, because that is where I went to church growing up and so started imaging my wedding, and that just never really left my mind since. In that picture my groom is also crying; Powell is not convinced that he will, but I’m confident that there is a least a good chance it’ll happen. 🙂
If we ran into you on a relaxed weekend, what would you be doing?
Snuggling on the couch watching TV together (but honestly probably really just talking and being silly with the TV in the background), shopping and getting lunch together, or having a causal dinner with one or both of our families.