Brandon and Larissa

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How They Met: This proposal took place during the summer in 2012, and now as I write this, Brandon and Larissa have happily enjoyed their honeymoon. Our family and Larissa’s family have been attending the same church our entire lives, yet until fairly recently neither Brandon nor Larissa have really noticed each other in that romantic way. Over the course of one summer, they really had a spark ignite in their interest for one another, and they began to grow their relationship through frequent group outings. Brandon had it all planned out how he was going to ask Larissa for the privilege of officially dating her. First, he talked with Larissa’s father for his thoughts on him dating his daughter, and asked for his permission. Then one evening, Brandon had made arrangements for he and Larissa, myself and Larissa’s brother to go for a nice hike at a beautiful (and family traditional) hiking trail in Dundas, Ontario. As we drove off, I followed behind in my own car while the three of them were in Brandon’s car. As we neared Dundas (as per plan), Brandon pulled over on the side of the country road and I followed suit. We stopped, and Larissa’s brother hopped out of their car, waved to Larissa, came back and hopped in my car, where we proceeded in turning around and heading back home. That is how their first date went down, and she really had no expectation of that happening that night.

How He Asked: This proposal was very detailed, and took a lot of careful planning. A few weeks prior to the actual proposal, Brandon made a long trip down to Grand Bend, ON for the day to enjoy the public beach, but also to ask the cottage owners on the private side of the beach of possibly using their beachfront for his proposal he was planning. After knocking on a few cottage doors without any luck (as no one was home), he finally came across a cottage where the owners were home. They were middle-aged+ and were ecstatic about letting Brandon use their property for his proposal. It was perfect too, their beachfront, after walking down a long flight of steps from their cottage, included a little alcove that was surrounded by tall grass. The cottage owners put the proposal date on their calendar so that they wouldn’t miss it.

A good month or so later, on the proposal day, Brandon took Larissa to the beach to enjoy the sun and lake just as they would on any other beach day, except this one on particular held much more excitement and significance than Larissa realized. The two of them had left early, and this is where I come in. Brandon left detailed instructions for myself and 3 other good friends of ours on how this was going to happen. While Brandon and Larissa were at the beach, the four of us left work a little early and met at Brandon’s house to load up. What we loaded into one of the guy’s truck included 5 artificial shrubs with string lights on them, a few extension chords, about 40 candle holders and tea lights, some long artificial hay/grass, and his piano…

piano

A few hours later, when the four of us arrived at the private end of Grand Bend and found the property we were allowed to use (the owners were there and were hosting a few of their other family members to see the momentous occasion), we began to unload. Although it was a struggle, we did as Brandon instructed and carried his couple hundred pound piano across about 400 metres of sand from the parking lot to the little alcove. We then continued to bring everything else over from the truck. Following Brandon’s diagram he had drawn for us, we began to set up this gorgeous proposal scene. The piano was set up underneath a green canopy that was already down there, and we set up the five lighted shrubs around the alcove, connecting them all to one another with the extension chords and running a main power chord all the way up the hill to plug into the cottage. After burying the power lines, we set out the 40 glass candle holders in the sand and set the tea lights in them. The evening was approaching by the time we were finally finished. A code was in place for us to inform Brandon that we were ready, because sending a text saying “we’re ready” would seem awfully suspicious if Larissa happened to see it. Not knowing where we were at in our setup, Brandon was going to text Jaron (his best friend who was one of us four) when he felt ready to start heading over to us. He was supposed to say something like: “Jaron I heard you picked up your new car today! What was it again?” Jaron’s response was Brandon’s answer as to whether we were ready for him or not. Because Brandon actually knew what kind of car Jaron had just bought, if Jaron had replied with a different car, that meant that we were not ready yet. But sure enough, the text came when we had just finished setting up, and Jaron replied with the correct car that he had just bought, which was Brandon’s signal.

The walk from their end of the beach to where we were takes about 20 minutes, and so we added our finishing touches to Brandon’s diagram. We placed a clear glass bottle down by the water with a note inside, hid the box with the engagement ring behind the music stand on the piano, waited about 10 minutes and lit all the candles. The four of us then made our way up the stairs to join the rest of the cottage owners in waiting for their arrival.

the site

Night was beginning to fall, and the sun was just beginning to set. Colours began to fill the sky across the lake, and we waited. Very soon, from up on our perch, we saw Brandon and Larissa walking down the waters edge towards us, and we all began to get excited, Larissa had no idea what was coming. When they neared, Brandon picked Larissa up and gave her a piggyback over a little river that flowed in their path. As they neared the little alcove, they came across the bottle that was ‘washed up’ on the shore. Brandon picked it up, I assume he said something like “Hey, look at this.” From that spot, Larissa could see the lovely setup we had made, and commented: “Wow! Look at the setup those people have!” They couldn’t see the rest of us, as we were up on the hill and hidden. Brandon and Larissa walked over to the setup, and as they neared, Larissa said “Wait, isn’t that your piano?”. Brandon then sat down, and began to play a song that he had written for Larissa. This song had no words, just beautiful progressions and heart. He left the note at the end of the song unresolved, just like a question. By now, Larissa knew what was going on, and was tearing. Brandon asked: “Don’t you want to know what the note says?” (That was in the bottle). As she was opening the note, Brandon reached behind the music stand and retrieved the ring, and knelt down. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but after a few seconds they hugged. When it was ok, Brandon motioned for us to come down, and the four of us came down the stairs clapping and cheering. It was picture perfect. We had hid a camera up in the tall grass and video-taped the whole scene as well. Their wedding was Friday, May 17th, 2013, and that in itself was an event that cannot be forgotten.

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Wedding photos by Red Rubber Studio