Christie and Alex | Engaged at Driftwood Beach

a and c How We Met: In the fall of 2011, I was shipped off to north Florida to manage the renovation of the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. I didn’t know it at the time but I would soon find the girl of my dreams in this small, quite beach town.

Between the 80-hour work weeks and the fast pace of construction management, I spotted a beautiful girl (Christie) walking through the employee halls of the hotel. Not being able to muster up the courage to talk to her myself, I asked a mutual friend to arrange a meeting.

On November 25, 2011 Christie and I met for the first time with a group of friends at the Green Turtle Tavern in downtown Amelia. Although I attempted to talk to Christie numerous times throughout the night, the most important thing to her was her grilled cheese sandwich. However, with the few words that I was able to get in, I saw a personality that I needed to get to know better.

Putting my thoughts to action, I got the courage to ask Christie out on our first date to Sliders. Before I knew it, we were in love and Christie and I were spending any and all of our free time together. With the project coming to completion in March 2012, it was time for me to move back to Orlando and we decided to continue our relationship, despite the distance.

a and c cuteAfter numerous weekends of commuting back and forth between Amelia and Orlando, Christie got the opportunity to transfer to the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. It was definitely a relief to have Christie living in the same town as me as this made seeing and spending time with each other much easier.

Having been together for almost two years, I decided that it was time to start planning the biggest commitment of my entire life. After discussing my engagement ideas with my dad, I knew it was time for the next step; buy the ring and have “the talk” with Christie’s dad. Despite all the hype that guys have about buying the ring, I would have to say that “the talk” is definitely more challenging!

How he asked: Christie and I headed up to Amelia Island for what she believed to be a weekend getaway and baptism for our good friends baby. What Christie didn’t know is that the baptism was actually a set up just to get us up to Amelia Island (although we did actually try to get have the baptism that weekend too, but that’s another story). Arriving at the Ritz-Carlton on Friday night, Christie and I enjoyed casual drinks in the lounge and headed back to our room for an early evening. Saturday started off with a delicious breakfast and then relaxing in the spa. She had no idea what was coming up next!

Christie and I then headed out for our romantic afternoon surprise at our special spot, Driftwood Beach. This beach is AMAZING! The beach is almost totally private and is covered in beautiful driftwood. With a small campfire set up and candles burning, Christie and I enjoyed her favorite bottle of wine, Masi Campofiorin, while snacking on cheese and crackers as the sun was setting.

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With about 30 minutes left before sun down, I began setting up a few sky lanterns for us to set off. I told her that I thought it would be special if we could set them off and make some wishes on this special night. After getting a few of the lanterns off the ground successfully, I asked Christie to face the ocean and release one while I took her picture from behind. As she was releasing the lantern, I stayed down on one knee and waited for her to turn around. As soon as Christie turned around to see me still resting on one knee and asking her to come closer, her mouth gasped and eyes began to water. As she approached me from across the beach I was barely able to get out the words I had spent so much time planning and asked her to marry me. Through Christie’s tears of joy and shaking hands, she said YES! After many kisses and long hugs, Christie turned to discover her best friend and her husband standing close with cameras in hand capture this unforgettable moment. What Christie didn’t know was that I still had one more surprise up my sleeve.

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As we packed up our picnic and reminisced on the early events of our special evening, I asked if we would want to head over to the Green Turtle (the place we first met) for a celebratory drink. Christie, of course, said yes. Upon arriving at the Green Turtle with her best friend and husband, Christie was shocked to find both of our families and very close friends waiting to celebrate this evening with us.

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Through many hugs, tears and joy we shared our wonderful story of our magical evening with all and celebrated the night away with our loved ones. I could not think of a more incredible and memorable way to start the most amazing chapter of my entire life.