Claudette and Matt

Where to Propose in Montage Laguna Beach

How We Met

The Nerd Crawl I had just started working at Barney & Barney in December, when I met Dani. We began hanging out outside of work and I quickly met her fun group of friends. On January 18, 2014, Dani picked me up to go to the beach for her friend’s birthday and we grabbed her friend Matt (who she met at Chico State) on the way. Out comes Matt in his too-low hanging board shorts, bro tank, camo cooler, and big spikey hair. Surprisingly enough, it was not love at first sight for me, as I was steering clear of boys in general. Later that night, we were all headed to PB for a nerd themed bar crawl to continue the birthday celebrations. The plan was for Dani and I to meet at Matt’s house to pre-game and take a Lyft. My new acquaintance Matt offered to give me a ride to his house and picked me up with an extra coffee in hand. When we got to his house, Dani texted me that she was getting a ride with someone else. I was a little annoyed that she was leaving me with some guy I barely knew but at the same time, I felt comfortable with him. We drank a couple beers and watched the sunset from his porch.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Montage Laguna Beach

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Montage Laguna Beach

It turned out to be a good one (good enough for me to take a photo) and I remember Matt saying “the view’s better from my room”. Smooth move. Valentine’s Day My room mate Alli and I threw a Valentine’s Day party and I invited Matt and basically everyone else I had met so far in San Diego. Once were out at the bars in good ol’ Pacific Beach (PB), Matt and I ended up dancing like crazy (literally crazy people). I thought to myself “OK, I think I could be good friends with him.” A second later, he says “So you know we’re going to start dating, right?” I laughed and said “Yeah, right”. Stalker Alert Fast forward to about a month later when Matt “happened” to move in across the street and the day we became best friends. On an overcast Sunday morning, Matt asked if I wanted to grab a bagel. He picked me up and I spent my second of thousands of times as co-captain of his big black Tundra. We ate our bagels at the park down the street from my house, while he pointed out the huge stream of sewage water coming out of a big drain and funneling into the ocean.

Proposal Ideas Montage Laguna Beach

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Montage Laguna Beach

And then he taught me that you can’t go in the water for a few days after it rains and some other oceanographic information. This would be the first of many educational lessons from Matt Renault, one of the many many things I love so much about him. And that was that. We were instantly bffs from that day on. Just Friends “Me Days” became “We Days”. We began hanging out practically every day and texting when we weren’t. This inseparable friendship, of course, turned into more and more, even though we still told ourselves (mainly me) and others that we were “just friends”. He met and partied with my parents & aunt, we went on road trips, I met his family, we went on many many “non” dates and he even picked my grandma and brother up from the airport without me.

Claudette's Proposal in Montage Laguna Beach

It finally got to the point where we went to Santa Barbara for the weekend to see my favorite band and I told him I loved him during one of their songs. But we still weren’t dating… On August 17, two days after we got back from Santa Barbara, I FINALLY gave in to my completely obvious feelings for him and told him he should ask me to be his girlfriend…officially. Needless to say, he was very excited. Although it was a very long courtship, we were able to truly get to know each other as friends, without the dating game rules or any personal guards getting in our way. I knew I liked him for exactly who he was and vice versa. Once we made it official, I knew I was going to marry him just 3 months later.

How He Asked

Let me first just say, this was a very elaborate plan with a lot of moving parts, which can be expected after such an elaborate dating story. Looking back, there were a lot of warning signs that a proposal was on its way, but Matt managed to pull off an epic surprise. Of course, we had talked about marriage and even the potential color scheme we’d have, but I was 100% completely surprised when he got down on one knee. The back story: My mom, step-dad and the girls were staying at our new apartment in Capo Beach from Thursday to Sunday and we had plans to go over to the Renault’s for dinner on Saturday night. Matt’s work friend randomly offered him tickets to Selena Gomez on Friday night, so I took Emma and Claire to LA. Of course, Claire and I had to paint our nails before the show, so I had a fresh coat of my new blue polish on (thank goodness!) My parents headed off early to (supposedly) get Matt’s nephew, Bradley, a toy before dinner. Pete called Matt and asked him if we could stop by the Montage to grab Bradley’s beach stuff since he (supposedly) stubbed his toe earlier and Matt’s mom, Irene, had to carry him up to her house.

I waited about 20 minutes for Matt to take care of business and drink a beer. He was so calm, I didn’t suspect a thing. The Montage is a beautiful resort overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach. We go to the beach below often so I didn’t think anything of it. On the way to the Montage, I realized I had to pee. Badly. Matt parked his car near the valet and asked if we could leave it there just to run down to the lawn area (little did I know he had already set this up ahead of time). I bolted to the bathroom the moment we made it down the steps.

Unfortunately, there were about 8 people in line and I figured that I could grab Bradley’s stuff and make it up to the Renaults’ faster, so I darted away towards where I thought it would be. Matt ran up behind me and grabbed my shoulders, whirling me around. He said “Claudette. That’s actually not why we’re here…” That’s when I noticed the anxious look in his eye and his hands shaking.

Luckily he kept his speech short and sweet, because I may have blacked out from excitement and forgotten what he said if he didn’t. “I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you” he said before getting down on one knee for half a second and popping the ring box open.

Afterwards, we surprised Matt’s family and got to celebrate all together. There were a few other funny moments along the way, including Claire’s response to Matt when he told my sisters he was going to ask me, but we’ll save those for later. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to get engaged to my best friend and love of my life. And to answer your question, no, I didn’t pee my pants :)

Special Thanks

Paula Lawrence | 
Proposal Photos
Leah Poquette | 
Engagement Photos