Christie and Paul
How We Met
Paul and I bumped in to each other in a bar in North Hollywood, CA on September 21, 2013 and have not taken our eyes off of each other ever since. I was going through a tough time after living in Los Angeles for 5 years without ever really feeling like it was my home. I missed my family and my hometown in Connecticut, all the way on the other side of the country. I had been feeling like all the glitz and glamour of life in Southern California was just there to distract me from how homesick I felt…until I met Paul. A true gentleman, he simply swept me off my feet. Always surprising me with flowers, showing up with homemade chicken noodle soup when I was sick, writing me love poems…the whole nine yards. I fell completely and desperately in love with him. But more than that, I found in him the home I had been missing. He was my best friend and my missing piece. I genuinely feel like the universe conspired to help us meet that night, leaving us both open to explore a new relationship with curiosity and care. After a year and a half of learning to trust each other and building a life together, he told me to book flights to Connecticut because he had a question to ask my father, and he wanted to do it in person…
How He Asked
Paul asked my father for my hand in marriage in the spring, and I could not have been more excited. He flew all the way across the country to shake my dad’s hand in person and explain to him that he would do anything to protect and cherish his youngest daughter. As the months passed by and spring turned to summer and summer turned to fall, I heard nothing about Paul’s proposal to me. I knew he had my father’s blessing, so there had to some kind of hold-up or complication. As much as I tried to stay patient and calm, I couldn’t help but wonder if Paul was having second thoughts. Eventually, I had to push the idea of a proposal out of my mind completely. I could not bear the idea that Paul was getting cold feet. Then one ordinary Friday afternoon in October, shortly after Paul got home from work, he handed me a card. I opened it slowly, wondering if I had forgotten some kind of anniversary or special occasion. The inside of the card read, “Pack your bags! We’re going on vacation.”
I looked at Paul excitedly as he told me to pack my bags because we were leaving as soon as possible. Within an hour, we were on the road to Nevada, where Paul had reserved us a weekend away in a gorgeous lakeside hotel. Paul told me he had another secret surprise planned for the following night, but would not tell me any more than that. The next day, he took me to get my nails done and buy a new outfit on our way to the surprise destination. I had no idea why we were in Nevada or why he had chosen this weekend to whisk me off my feet. It finally came time to drive to our surprise, but Paul began driving straight in to the Mohave Desert. I was beyond confused. It looked like we were headed on a fast track to the middle of no where. We drove for a couple of hours before I saw a few huge white tents way off in the distance, literally in the middle of the desert. I still could not put the pieces of the surprise together. As we got closer and closer to the white tends, I was finally about to make out the words “RISE Festival” in huge glowing lights a few miles away. I could not believe it. The Rise Festival is a celebration of lights, in which each person in attendance is given two lanterns and a pen. We were asked to write our biggest hopes, dreams, prayers or wishes, on our lanterns. Paul suggested that we write a letter to our future selves, asking the universe to help us grow in our love together. He wrote on his lantern that the future version of himself is the luckiest man on the planet, as this future Paul would have spent many more years adoring and honoring me, never taking a single day for granted. As night fell, the entire festival came together to release our first lanterns all together. We counted down from ten and then released our lanterns, as 14,000 other wishes lit up the desert sky around us. I have never felt so small. I immediately burst in to tears. I could not believe Paul had planned this entire weekend for me and that I had no idea. After an hour or so of admiring the lights, there was to be a second unison launch of thousands more lanterns. Instead of releasing our second lanterns, I asked Paul if we could just sit back and watch the lights all around us. Little did I know that Paul had a plan of his own. As thousands more lantern wishes rose up around me, Paul dropped down to one knee with tears in his eyes and a ring in his hand. Everything became a blur around me, and all I could hear was Paul whispering, “You’re my best friend.” The next thing I remember, I was in his arms as tons of surrounding onlookers began clapping and cheering for us. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine living out such a fairy-tale. I felt like an absolute princess.