Chanelle and Christian

How We Met

When we were 18 years old, Christian had told my best friend at the time to set me up with him but I had a boyfriend. We had gone to the same jr. high, knew everyone else in our hometown but each other and knew of each other but had never officially met. Once I broke it off with my ex, my bff called me and said, “you should make out with Christian”. I was caught off guard and wasn’t sure how I felt about that exactly but I said,  “set something up and we’ll see how it goes, but don’t make it awkward!”. After we got off the phone she called Christian and said, “Chanelle wants to make out with you!”. I found this out way later and was actually kinda upset because I wanted to play it cool! He ended up saying the same exact thing as me and we left it at that. The next week or so we ended up at the same party but never spoke to each other. We were both with other people and it didn’t feel right.  A couple days later, ended up at the same party again. I was in the kitchen and I heard someone say “I just want to dance!” and I immediately shouted “ME TOO!” without even thinking about it.  I turned around and Christian and I caught eye contact. We both got so nervous and turned away pretended like it didn’t just happen. We left that night not meeting or speaking to each other as well. Third times a charm because the next week we both showed up at the same club in Hollywood (45 min outside our hometown) with totally different groups of people. I was on stage dancing and he saw me. He said he was going over what and how he would approach me in his head, meanwhile, I saw him and thought to myself “REALLY?!?! This is getting ridiculous!”. Being the outgoing personality that I am I went up to him and just started dancing with him. We danced the whole night without saying anything until we got outside. He said, “I’m Christian” and I said “I know” and he gave me his number. After that day, ever since we were 18 years old, we have not stopped seeing each other, we’ve never broken up and we’ve been inseparable ever since.

How He Asked

For our very first Valentine’s Day we went to the Santa Monica Pier. We played some arcade games and decided to take a photobooth photo. At this point we were around 5 months in our relationship, already living together (kind of by default) and going to school together. I don’t know what it was about these photos but they’ve always been so special to us. We’ve saved them, blown them up full size and hung them on our wall and always revert back to them when going down memory lane.

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Christian had told me he was ready to propose to me this year but he wouldn’t tell m  e any details (he can’t keep anything from me). All I asked is that it was documented somehow whether it be a photo or video, and other than that he could do whatever he wants. Christian hates being the center of attention and/or a lot of people in general so this was a tough one for him. He had started mentioning that he wanted to take new photobooth photos because we haven’t done any since our first Valentine’s Day (parties aside) and I got suspicious.

Christian isn’t super spontaneous, he hates driving (we live about 20 min from Santa Monica) and he hates photos so all of these things didn’t add up. After he told me this I had uncontrollable word vomit and said, “IS THAT WHERE YOU’RE GOING TO PROPOSE!?”. He had to play it cool and said “No! But that’s a good idea and now I can’t do it!”. Cut to a month or so later, after we got home from Thanksgiving weekend at my moms he said, “Do you want to go take those photos?”. I said “Sure!” and immediately got nervous. This was the night. This was it. I kept telling myself to calm down and I had to check myself by making sure I didn’t get disappointed if it didn’t happen, but I couldn’t keep the butterflies away.

Little hints happened throughout the night to make me believe it was the night; when I was getting ready he said “is that what you’re going to wear? Shouldn’t you be more dressed up?” mind you, these photo booth photos cut you off at the shoulders so I had no idea what he was talking about or why he cared but it made me suspicious. While I was getting ready all I could think of was “this is what you’re going to wear when you get engaged. This is what your makeup is going to look like when you get engaged”. We headed off and had a pretty standard car ride but I could feel an elephant in the room. It’s like we both knew but we couldn’t’ say anything and I actually loved the whole car ride because of this. See, we’ve been together for 11 years and after that point, there’s not a lot of mystery (which I actually love).  I loved having something I was nervous about again and it gave me butterflies like when we were first together.

When we parked we walked across the pier to get to the arcade and he got so nervous because there were big gaps between the wooden pieces that made up the pier. He said ” this makes me so nervous I’m afraid I’m goign to drop something” so I said “like what?” (being sneaky) “….like my keys….” he answered. There’s another hint. We walked into the arcade and the feeling I got was indescribable. To be there again, after 11 years, with the same person I was first there with was so magical. When I saw the photobooth it brought back so many feelings and emotions it was so amazing.

Now it was time to take the photos. We went to the original booth we took the photos in and it wasn’t working. We tried another one (they have 4 and 2 of them are literally from the 1970s so they break down a lot), it had $2.25 out of the $4 fee in the machine so we tried it. It ate our quarters and it was apparent why there was $2.25 left in there. We jumped around to the other 2 but they were new and lame. It just wouldn’t’ be the same. We got a little disappointed but then Christian insisted we try the second one with the $2.25 in it again. It worked. Our quarters worked. It was like we won the lottery. We got in, Christian suggested we take a few just to have and we started. In the back of my mind I knew it was happening but I didn’t know when. After the first set of photos we got out of the booth and waited. I looked over at Christian and saw him feeling in his pocket. It was confirmed. It’s really happening. We took a second set. Got out of the booth. Chrisitan obsessively felt around his pocket. Third time, we go in the booth and I say “so what are we going to do this time?” and he says “….I don’t know…” and feels in his pocket.

“Babe…” he said, I look over to see him holding a ring, “will you marry me?”. I instantly hugged him, and cried, and he cried, I think I nodded yes? We put on the ring and cried and hugged some more. The whole time the photobooth was snapping away, getting every moment on film. After the photos stopped we sat in the photobooth together and talked and hugged. There was no line outside, no one even knew this life changing moment just happened to us. When we stepped out of the booth it was the most magically feeling because here we were, in the middle of this arcade, people playing games and having fun, and we just shared something so special that no one saw or heard. We had a little secret to ourselves and we had it all documented.

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Special Thanks

Paul Klecka
Jeweler