Ellie and Jen

How We Met

Jen and I have been together 4 1/2 years and we certainly met in an unconventional way. We were both going through difficult times in our life and happened to be getting help at the same treatment center in Los Angeles. We found comfort and safety in each other right away and instantly became best friends.  We saw each other at our worst and at our best and opened ourselves up to each other in a way we had never been able to do before. After about 7 months of being inseparable, and also hiding more intense, growing feelings, Jen finally got up the nerve to tell me how she truly felt about me and, to her absolute surprise, I felt the same about her! We began to “date” and then moved in together after about 3 months (we know…such a cliche!). I grew up near where we met, but Jen, being from the east coast, never quite took to Los Angeles. She knew I was’t ready to leave, but after 3 years of living together in LA, I was ready to move somewhere new, so we packed up and moved to Portland, Oregon where we now happily live with our dog, cat and rabbit.

While in California we spent some time camping and hiking and just being outdoors, but it was’t until moving to the Pacific Northwest that the outdoors became such a huge part of our life and our love. Being outside makes us feel connected to the world and each other in a way we never thought possible. Jen has was lucky enough to get to travel the world growing up, but my family didn’t travel much even though I always dreamed of doing so. So, this was naturally something that we instantly took to as a couple and now we take any chance we can get to go on an adventure- no matter how big or small, near or far. Which brings us to our most recent adventure…ICELAND!

How She Asked

I have been dreaming of going to Iceland for as long as I can remember and we decided that this was going to be the year!  We bought a travel book on January 1st and started planning our trip of a lifetime for the end of the year. Jen came from a divorced family and was a little more “weary” of marriage than me. Even though I knew we were meant to be together from the first time we kissed and I would have asked her to marry me years ago, she needed a little more time before popping the question. So, we agreed that whenever she was ready, she would be the one to ask me.

We spent the whole year planning our Icelandic adventure and I could tell, just because I know her as well as I know myself, that she was getting close to proposing.  I had a strong feeling that she would do it while we were on our trip, but I still didn’t want to get my hopes up. Then, about 3 months before we were leaving, Jen accidentally spilled the beans that she was going to do it in Iceland (she was so mad at herself for ruining the surprise, but I was ecstatic to know that it was really going to happen!). I still didn’t know on what day or where or how she was going to do it, and our trip was 12 days long, so there was still a lot to be surprised about.

I tried to put the proposal out of my head and just enjoy the trip, and that’s what I did…until the third day…

Jen, who has a passion for photography, convinced me that we should go to Thingvellir National Park at first light that morning of November 1st because she heard it was the best place to watch the sunrise and see the amazing waterfall before all the crowds descended upon it. Naturally I wanted to see that too, so I was onboard with the plan. Jen had also made it a big point that she wanted to buy Icelandic sweaters so that we could take “super cute christmas card pictures”. I loved the idea, and thought nothing of it since we love our holiday cards. So we bought our sweaters the first day and decided (well, looking back, somehow she convinced me) to wear them at Thingvellir because it was suppose to be such a cool, Icelandic-y setting…and not to mention freezing outside.

We got dressed in our Icelandic sweaters and drove on this beautiful, sunny, freezing cold day from the capital city out to the national park. We got there just as the sun was beginning to rise. Jen definitely had a pep in her step and fire under her butt to get to this waterfall. I didn’t think much of it since we both get excited about these things.  We hiked for about 10 minutes though these amazing rock formations holding hands and taking photos. We turned a bend and there it was- this amazing waterfall just pouring and splashing down in front of us. I ran to get a better view while Jen took a couple more photographs. Jen told me she wanted to change lenses in her camera so I wandered out onto the rocks. I felt Jen come up from behind me and take my hand. She kissed me and we marveled at the waterfall together for a couple moments. Then she turned towards me and looked into my eyes.

The second she  opened her mouth, she started to cry and I knew in that moment what was happening. Through her emotions she told me that I am her best friend, her partner, the love of her life and her home. She told me that she could never imagine her life without me and then got down on one knee, right there in the rocks, and asked me to marry her. It was perfect. I had to take my gloves off before getting that ring on, so we just stood there, crying and holding each other.

It was a moment I wish I could relive again and again. Finally the gloves come off and the ring went on! I started to notice that there was a woman taking photos of us, and Jen whispered “she’s here for us.” She had hired a photographer to meet us at the waterfall and take pictures of the proposal! After we hugged and kissed and stared at my beautiful ring for a while, we proceeded to have engagement photos taken in front of the waterfall and all around the magical, mossy national park in our Icelandic sweaters!

I’ll never forget the way she was looking at me when she was down on one knee, and, thanks to Ann, our amazing photographer, I never will! We spent the rest of the trip celebrating our engagement, enjoying the amazing country of Iceland, and doing what Jen and Ellie do best- adventuring! When we got back into the United States the customs official asked us how we know each other and we got to say, for the first time, “we’re fiancees!” It was the perfect little welcome home present.

Special Thanks

Ann Peters
Photographer