Ashley and Jake

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How We Met: A little over four years ago, I was waiting for the wrong man to come back into my life, while he was waiting for the right girl to realize he’s always been waiting and loving her. As college freshmen, neither of us knew that when we met on the second day in our dorm, that our lives would change forever. Dormmates turned to best friends, turned to dating and now engaged, we are so blessed to head into a wonderful future together as husband and wife.

How He Asked – by Jake: I bought the ring about two weeks before I asked which was excruciating! For fourteen days the thought of that little box would keep me concentrating on just about anything. I knew it was there. I knew I would ask. I knew I couldn’t let anything slip.

However, I needed the time to prep and plan for the big day. I decided I was going to take Ash to San Francisco many months before I even decided to buy the ring. She loves the city and we had our three year anniversary there. Additionally, I made a banner for her. The banner was made up of individual pennants that each represented a year that we had known each other. On the top, each pennant had a picture from that respective year followed by a short caption that summed up that year for me.

I enjoy working on projects so the banner was a lot of fun to make, but planning the day was the part I found to be the most difficult. I wanted to capture the moment for her through video but I didn’t know how I could do that without raising her suspicions. This was not an easy task. Ash and I talked about getting engaged many times. We looked at rings and other cute proposals every now and then so she had dormant suspicions for about a year. Anything involving a video camera may have been too obvious, but our long time friend from college is passionate about video work so I knew I was going to ask him to be the videographer, but that created an additional challenge. I couldn’t have him hide and take pictures because he is way too noticeable and if she saw him she would know what was up.

Ash always enjoys taking couples pictures together though so I decided to use that to help cover up my intentions. Our family friend had taken pictures of us before and he had just graduated from Cal Poly SLO. I told Ash that Our friend wanted to meet up with us in the city after his graduation and that he would be willing to take some pictures of us as well. While I felt that was decently void of suspicion, I kept telling Ash how we could look at rings together in January.

When eve of the big day came, I was so anxious. I wanted everything to go smoothly but thoughts of it going awry kept me up well into the morning. But, after getting a few hours of sleep I woke up like spring. I was too excited to be tired. We got ready and headed to the Presidio of San Francisco with our friend. The whole way there I kept trying to stay calm and act like nothing too special was going on. While Ash later told me I did a good job at that, during the drive I felt like I was giving everything away and I am pretty sure my hands were shaking.

We finally arrived at Presidio over looking the Golden Gate Bridge. The three of us walked out onto an nearby trail and we set up to take “pictures” or so Ashley thought. We took some pictures and then I told her I had a prop I wanted to use, it was the banner. I walked back over to Ash stretched out the pennants. I read through each one with her, reflecting on our past years together. When we got to the last one, which was blank, I reached into my back pocket and told her that there was a new chapter I wanted to start. I dropped to my knee and asked her to marry me.  I fumbled around trying to find the right way to open the box and felt silly, but I was determined and my mind never wavered. I don’t even remember what she said but I distinctly remember when she stretched arm out towards me and I slipped the ring on her left hand.

The rest of the day was filled with great ice cream from a place in SF and laughing and talking with our friend but it was all some kind of blur the rest of the day as I was floating above the clouds.

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How He Asked – by Ashley: I had been dreaming of this day for years. Aside from the fact that I wanted to be a wedding planner from age 12, and that my cabinets were filled with wedding magazines, I had longed for some time for the day that my favorite person, a Mr. Jake Baumgartner, would get down on one knee.

We both knew that getting engaged was something we wanted and felt ready for, but life seemed to get in the way a lot. After several big transitions out of colleges, into jobs and onto new towns, we were settling into a comfortable life together. So, of course, I started to slowly bring it up again, knowing it wouldn’t be until at least spring (but hey, it doesn’t hurt!).

I joked with Jake everytime he asked me what I wanted for Christmas, that I wanted something shiny, perhaps made of diamonds. He could see straight through my intentions and ever-so-politely remind me that we should probably wait until our lives are a little more settled and calm. That rarely eased my anxiousness, but I tried to take his opinion to heart.

Pinterest, however, can be a girl’s best friend or worst nightmare. Weekly, I started pouring through engagements and weddings longing for that moment in my life.

Jake decided to go away for the weekend to the Bay Area to see his brother’s basketball tournament, and let’s just say, when I’m alone for too long my brain goes into “imagine every possible scenario” mode. What if he was secretly visiting my parents? No Ashley, don’t be crazy. I spent the weekend trying to distract myself, especially since someone wasn’t contacting me due to a dead cell phone. After a day and a charged battery later, Jake apologized for the lack of communication and offered a resolution: that we would visit SF and do a couples photoshoot next weekend when we went to visit my parents. Odd, I thought. That seemed like an awfully detailed spur-of-the-moment way to reconcile a silly little problem.

Don’t think too much into it. Of course I did. Of course I started to wonder. Of course I started to scour SF proposals on Pinterest. Am I crazy? Probably.

A few days later, as we were planning the weekend, Jake said he would take care of all the details. My plannin’ little heart felt a weird surge as I was no longer in charge of the plans, details, anything. He rarely wants to plan everything, what is going on?

A few months back, when discussing proposals and engagements, Jake brought up that we hadn’t quite found “our spot” here in Sacramento, Nothing had the special significance like many spots in SLO or even SF, which we had visited on our third anniversary. So of course when this week rolled around, it crossed my mind that SF is a “special place”. No, it still couldn’t be.

Well several days later, and a well thought out conspiracy theory of Jake’s potential proposal that I only shared with one coworker and one friend, the weekend arrived. I nervously packed my suitcase, curling iron included – I need to look good if it really does come true! We stopped by parent’s house to pick up the furniture and my mother, who I believed would give some sort of give-away regarding this huge moment that could happen, was nonchalant and normal. Maybe I’m wrong.Next up, our friend’s house. He seemed natural as well, so did his family. Maybe I really am crazy.

I tried to distract myself. I texted my friend who knew my theory, he was convinced I was crazy too. We watched a football game, ate dinner, and hung out. Still couldn’t get it off my mind. Finally, it was time for bed and I wrapped myself up in a blanket and tried to not let my anxiousness get the best of me.

Jake had made a comment, that if he had any inlinking I knew, he wouldn’t proposed. Do you know how hard it is to act cool when something so life changing could happen? It’s hard, trust me.

Sunday Morning.

Finally.

I woke up early and went back to sleep. Why did Jake suggest leaving at 7am on a Sunday? Why is he so awake right now? I got up, got ready, curled my hair, and tried to stomach a snack so my nerves wouldn’t get the best of me. I hopped in the back seat while the boys rode up front. Texted my friend again, pretty sure I am just crazy, we’re just taking pictures for fun!

Cue: Good ol’, left my heart in, San Francisco.

We made our way to the Presidio and hopped out to find a cute little spot off the trail with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. It took every ounce of energy to not shake or wiggle like I had actual ants in my pants. Never really understood the phrase until that moment.

I stood there and smiled as our friend pointed the camera in my direction. Jake walked towards me, and kid you not,  I did a scan of his pants pockets. No little box, calm yourself down woman! Jake and I smiled for a few pictures before he said he had a prop to use. A prop? Is a ring a prop? He walked back towards his jacket and I turned around to face the bridge. I couldn’t look at either of their faces. I couldn’t hide my anxiousness or my quickly beating heart. Jake walked back over with a burlap banner filled with photos and memories from the last four years. He slowly read them to me with a huge smile on his face. Is this really happening? This has to be it. OH MY GOODNESS THIS COULD BE IT I COULD BE RIGHT (like always).

We finished reading through the banner, but the last pennant was blank. Jake looked me in the eyes and whispered in my ear “I have one more present for you.”. My heart was beating at the speed of sound. Not joking.

It was then, in a whirlwind of tears and laughter, than my best friend got down on one knee, pulled out a ring more sparkly than I’ve ever dreamed of, and asked me to marry him.

A hundred “oh my gosh” statements and a few tears later, a diamond ring was on my finger and I was the soon-to-be Mrs. Baumgartner.

Best. Day. Ever.

P.S. I found out a few minutes later that we never actually took photos, our friend was videotaping the whole thing. Such a special way to remember the moment forever.

Videography by Galen Tran