How It Began
I was cleaning my section at the regional convention when I started talking to a friend of mine in the congregation. As I was talking with them, another sister approached to ask her a question. As I saw her, I was struck by her joyful personality and her cute smile. I started a conversation with her asking her name and where she was from. I tried to make a corny joke to which she took me seriously and we shared an awkward chuckle. That moment was pushed aside, though, by her sweet smile and we moved along in our conversation about how many brothers and sisters we have, how long in asl, etc.
We ended going to eat in the same group together after the program. To which we rode in the same car group as well. The whole time I was telling myself 'don't say anything stupid'.
Through a series of musical chairs at the restaurant, Megan and myself were seated right next to each for dinner and our conversations continued... I was not upset about that. Our time together in conversation, made up for the overpriced and lackluster entrees.... but who would expect anything less from New Jersey?
But that was it, no numbers were exchanged, no fireworks going off in the sky. Just two friends enjoying a good time together. I didn't know much about this girl, but I knew that I wanted to continue to spend time with her. So after repeated attempts to get together and invitations to parties, to which she kept blowing me off... I kept trying though. I didn't want her to slip away. We finally made plans to go in the ministry together. Seeing her beautiful qualities in the ministry, from there I knew I had found a perfect complement in serving Jehovah.
Ray and I met at our ASL regional convention at Stanley Theater in Jersey City. The group of girls I usually stayed with all had made other arrangements so I was scrambling to find someone to room with. By a fortunate fluke, a friend from Bridgeport called me up to make plans on random Saturday afternoon, which didn't work out. However, I took the opportunity to ask if she had room for one more in her hotel room. She did!!! I was kindly welcomed into her group of sisters from her congregation. She had already made dinner plans for Sunday night, which she also welcomed me to join. She invited Ray to try to even out the group.
After playing musical chairs at dinner, Ray ended up sitting next to me and we had a really nice time chatting with the group. To be honest, I wasn't sure if he was interested in me or not but... he was nice and for some reason, he got stuck in my brain. I decided to give myself a couple days to think about what had happened and then move on if I didn't hear anything further. The next day, he asked a friend about me (which naturally she told me about...) Then a week later, he reached out to invite me to a party - which I couldn't attended.
We started communicating regularly, trying to make plans to spend time together - which was excitedly difficult, as anyone who has seen my planner can attest to... But within a month, we went on our first date. We spend the morning in the ministry and the afternoon at the beach, where we sat on swings and down by the jetty, literally talking for hours, while our friends had fun hanging out on the beach.
I have to start out by saying, Megan is a very difficult person to surprise. She asks a lot of questions and typically has everything planned out to almost the minute. To slide one past her is no small feat.
The plans for our engagement all started one week before when I was with Megan at the eye doctors office... I know, the eye doctors. While Megan was in with the doctor, I was talking to her cousin about this idea I had for the proposal, but wasn't exactly sure if Megan would like it or if I could actually pull it off. I had the idea of candles on a beach... but that was about it at the time. Her cousin loved the idea, so I figured I would go ahead with it and if everyone that I needed said yes to being my partners in crime, it would happen.
I knew that we needed to have nice pictures, ya know with Megan being a photographer and all. So I contacted a close friend of hers that is a great photographer, she said yes. So then I contacted our chaperones, they said yes. I contacted her parents, they said yes. I told my parents, they said yes. The stage was set....
I spent the next two days running around picking up things to make the day romantic. Thursday finally came and I was feeling nervous, excited, anxious, all bottled up into one. That day I was visiting Warwick, seeing it for the first time. After finishing the tour I drove out to meet Megan, hitting more traffic than I have ever seen in my life.
While on the highway, I was texting our photographer trying to coordinate some last minute plans... sitting in bumper to bumper traffic on 95. I failed to notice that there was a police officer in the car next to me...who promptly pulled me over for texting. I was like, this can't be happening right now!! As he came up to the window I was in pure disbelief. He asked me why I thought he pulled me over. I told him the truth...after a short pause I broke in with what I was planning explaining how I was about to get engaged and I can even show him the ring. To my dismay, he said ok, let me see it. I rummaged thru my backpack to find it. Finally pulling it out and showing it to him. He let me off. Phew..
I finally made it to the beach after 2.5 hours of traffic to give our photographer a freshly cut rose to lay on the blankets I had for Megan at the beach. I then met up with Megan at the concert venue where we would see one of our favorite artists later that night.
Megan and I got there first, she was looking the most beautiful I had ever seen, ready for our "date night" dinner and a concert... or so she thought. When our friends arrived I told everyone that we had dinner reservations but they were not until later, so we had some time to kill. I suggested we go to the beach to try to catch sunset.... it was cloudy. Megan resisted, insisting that we go to the restaurant early so we don't miss any of the show... but our friends knew the plan so they proceeded to drive to the beach.
So at this point, I would like to take a slight diversion from the story to explain a little bit more of the plan. The plan was for both of our parents to meet at a rendezvous point, out of the path of us, going to the beach and then our friends would text them when we arrived so that they could show up as the proposal was happening. Well, her dad was running a little late and rather than meeting at the rendezvous point, he drives straight to the beach. To my horror, we are approaching the beach and he pulls in, almost right in front of us... silver SUV... out of state plates. Thankfully, Megan was completely oblivious to her dad's car almost being directly in front of us. I proceed to direct our friends to park to the left as her dad was circling the parking lot to the right.
Megan and I walk hand in hand onto the beach, admiring the beauty of the landscape. In the distance, about 20 yards away, I can see the setup for the proposal. But as we are approaching, a woman stops to take a picture of the candles. Because of this, Megan didn't realize exactly realize what was happening yet. The woman then walks away, leaving just us and the candles on the beach. Megan looks over, recognizes my guitar, stops almost immediately, looks over at me, and says 'Oh my goodness Raymond! Is this happening?!?!" I, then, assisted her to have a seat within the heart shaped candles in mason jars, handing her a rose as I spread out a blanket for her to sit on. I, then, wrapped her in another blanket because of the chill in the air that evening. Grabbing my guitar, I sang a song that I had been writing for this very occasion.
I am very difficult to surprise but somehow Ray managed to pull it off! He planned our proposal on a night we had concert tickets, which was smart - I genuinely did not think it would happen that day, but I did have a hunch it would happen that weekend! I literally told a girlfriend a couple hours before the proposal...
"As weird as this sounds, I think Ray may pop the question this weekend… I have no proof, hints, reason for this belief - besides my gut. So it may not happen, but something inside of me just tells me it might…Not tonight, not Sunday."
I was totally wrong, it was that night!
I honestly didn't blink when Ray suggested catching sunset on the beach. Our whole courtship from our first date on has involved chasing sunsets. I was a little surprised he didn't want to go straight to the restaurant and wait for our table - he is always hungry and incredibly punctual. But I was a little out of it so I didn't really even press him on the issue. I completely missed my parent's pulling into the beach parking lot before us because Ray was talking to me. With a lady taking pictures of the setup on the beach, I did not even realize it was for me.
Until she left.
And I saw his guitar.
He brought me to a blanket on the beach surrounded by candles in mason jars, gave me a rose and sang me a song. Then he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. My answer?
He made the surprise even better by having our parents behind us on the beach, witnessing that special moment. And how could he top that? Naturally, by having a good friend there to photograph the entire surprise. Having these pictures of this most treasured moment is something I cannot even begin to express my appreciation for.
Want a more detailed version of Megan's perspective of the proposal?
Click below for the full proposal story!
We are very excited to be starting our marriage by serving full time at Patterson Bethel!
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Let's All Get Acquainted!
- I can't watch the same movie twice.
- I like Phantom of the Opera but I hate operas.
- I can't stand having unread emails or text messages.
- My first concert when I was 17 was John Mayer. Maroon 5 was his opener.
- My favorite novel is Persuasion by Jane Austen.
- I am a photographer but hate getting my picture taken. I find myself horribly unphotogenic!