Erin and Bailey

Erin and Bailey's Engagement in Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

How We Met

Bailey and I have been dating for almost 7 years now. We have been long distance our entire relationship. I was a Freshman in High School when we started dating and now I am getting ready to graduate college in Virginia this May. He joined the Marine Corps out of High School and has been stationed in California ever since. We have been through so much from us trying to live on opposite sides of the country while we tried to make everything work, to him being deployed for 7 months where we had minimal contact. Our love has always been so strong and that shows with our relationship. I have been dreaming of the day he would propose for as long as I can remember and I figured at this point he was going to wait until after I graduated.

How He Asked

Last year Bailey and I had professional pictures taken by an amazing photographer named Gillian Martin, who we loved. Last Tuesday, 03/13/2018, he tried to surprise me on Laguna Beach with that same photographer. It was cold and rainy (and I had no idea what was going on) so I did not want to go to the beach. I had gotten ready and looked all nice because he had told me we were going to a winery and I did not want my hair or makeup to get ruined by the rain. He insisted that we go down to the beach “for fun” because we had taken pictures there last year so I started walking down the stairs to the beach and it started to rain! I quickly said “no way” and ran back to the car before my hair and makeup could get seriously ruined. Little did I know, Gillian had been waiting on the beach for about 2 hours already.

Proposal Ideas Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

Bailey was texting someone when we got back in the car, but I saw it was a number he did not have saved in his phone. I kept asking him why he was being so weird, but he kept brushing it off. I then asked him who he kept texting and he also tried brushing that off. I ended up taking his phone and typing the number into Google. I ended up figuring out it was the photographer who took our photos last year. I asked him why he was texting her and then I started piecing everything together in my head (still not having any idea of an engagement). He then “told me everything”. He said that he wanted to surprise me with pictures on Laguna Beach again because he knows how much I loved the ones last year. I felt absolutely horrible after he told me this! I honestly did not suspect that at all.

Bailey ended up rescheduling for Friday, 03/16/2018 with Gillian again. He told me about it and I was really excited because I loved taking the pictures last year so much. I asked him if it would be possible for us to change the location of the photos because we already had pictures at Laguna Beach. He agreed and said we were going to go to the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park instead. I also needed makeup from Sephora anyway, so I figured I would do one of their custom makeovers because I had done that for the photos last year and the photos came out great. Little did I know that I was helping to partially plan my engagement at this point.

When we got to the park, the photographer was there and we started taking pictures. We were having a great time. At the end of the photoshoot, the photographer said we were all done and asked if there were any other poses we wanted to try. I said no and started to walk back to our stuff, but then I heard Bailey say “actually… I have one”. I immediately turned around because he never has ideas for poses for pictures. He then grabbed my hands and looked into my eyes. My heart dropped into my stomach. He started out with saying that the past 7 years have been the most amazing years… I then blacked out because I was so shocked and was trying to figure out if what I had been dreaming of for years was finally happening. He ended the speech by saying that if I would give him the chance, he would love to make the rest of my life just as amazing. I then word vomited and said, “what are you doing” (he knew to just ignore that). He got down on one knee and said, “Erin Mitchell will you marry me?”

I cannot even explain all of the emotions I had at that moment. I am pretty sure I stood there with my hands over my mouth for about 30 seconds because of the pure shock. I then said YES! We took a bunch of more pictures and when we got into the car I cried hysterically because of how happy I was and called so many friends and family. The pictures Gillian took came out absolutely amazing and they capture the perfect moment. I can now officially say I am engaged to the man of my dreams and I could not be happier.

Special Thanks

Gillian Martin
Photographer