Rachel and Stephanie

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How We Met

Both of us being closeted bisexuals, I met Rachel the only way I could have: Tinder. Rachel was only in town visiting family for the weekend, and I had just begun using the dating app again after a few “tinder nightmares” had scared me off. She was the first girl I swiped right with after opening Tinder that night. She was the only one I hoped would talk to me. And she did! I was quick to ask her out, but she was going out of town and we had to wait a while to meet in person. For most Tinder stories, that’s where it would end. For us, it was just the start.

She lived in Seattle at the time, and I lived in Portland. Not long after the day we met face to face, we decided to be each other’s first girlfriends. It took a little getting used to because both of us had never dated a woman before. Our first few dates were new adventures in so many ways. Realizing how serious this was getting, I came out to my family. It felt so right to be able to say she was my girlfriend and not feel like I needed to hide any part of myself. She came out to her family too, and even though it was hard, I knew it would be okay because we had each other.

Everything in my life has been easier since I met Rachel. I have a young son, and when they met, I knew I had found the right partner for myself and my son. She moved down to Portland a few months after we started dating, and we moved in together not long after that. She is my other half, she’s the one I am meant to spend my life with. She is my partner in every sense of the word. I never really thought I would find someone like Rachel, and yet when we met, I felt immediately like it had always been her. It will always be her.

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How sHe Asked

I proposed to Rachel in Seattle, on a surprise trip to celebrate our first anniversary.

I had called dibs on proposing early on in our relationship. As I started preparing…buying the ring… planning the surprise, I went over a million different ways to propose. The proposals that tugged at my heartstrings had a theme: they made the bride feel like she was the most special woman on earth. Rachel deserves to feel that way every day. So with that as my main goal, I started setting things up.

First, I needed a cover to hide the surprise. I used our anniversary to have a reason to keep her from getting too suspicious. I suggested we go to the beach, a trip we’d done before, to have a quiet weekend getaway. She took the bait.

Next, I thought of what she had done for me that made me feel special. Shortly after we starting dating, I was visiting in Seattle and we didn’t have a place to stay. She had booked a VERY fancy hotel with gorgeous views  (and a bathtub that filled from the ceiling!) for us to stay in for a night. I secretly booked a night at the same hotel for us for our anniversary.

The only time I was nervous in the whole proposal process was when I told her we were not actually going to the beach, once we were already in the car on the way. She immediately lit up at the change of plans, and the only nerves I had quickly slipped away. Once we arrived, I told her we had massages scheduled down at the luxury hotel spa. She was amazed that there was yet another surprise beyond just staying in this hotel that was so meaningful to us. She was too excited to notice that when we went down to check in for our massages I shared a knowing glance with the receptionist. I had needed somewhere for Rachel to be for an hour while I set up the proposal, and the hotel spa had been more than happy to help me occupy Rachel’s time.

We got in our robes. While we waited for the masseuse we enjoyed a complimentary spa foot soak and champagne. I told her they only had time left that day for one 1 hour massage and I had given her that spot. My own massage would be shorter and I’d be in another room. They took her back first, as the spa and I had planned a several weeks before, and I got dressed and ran back up to the hotel lobby, where I met my sister. I had asked her to be my photographer for the proposal.

We rushed up to the hotel room. I had printed nearly every photo Rachel and I had ever taken together (and hidden them in the car weeks before the trip), and using these photos, I spelled out “marry me?” on the hotel room window with my sister’s help. My sister hid in the bathroom with a camera in hand, we set up another camera to record, and I closed the curtain. I texted Rachel to tell her I was already done with my massage and to meet back in the room.

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I waited for what seemed like eons. And then there she was, glowing and relaxed, still completely believing I had also just gotten a massage and asking me about it. I told her I had something I had been thinking about and wanted to tell her, and I pulled her towards the window.

I said, “Rachel, I wasn’t really me until you. I was so afraid of taking a risk, of trying something new. And then I fell in love with you. Nothing is scary anymore. You give me hope, strength, love. You are everything I need. I hope that I can be everything you need, for the rest of your life, because you deserve that and more. It’s been true since I said it a year ago: It’s you. It’s always been you.”

…. And then I asked her to pull back the curtain and look at the beautiful view . As she opened the curtain, I grabbed the ring that I had hidden on the windowsill and got down on one knee as she revealed the message on the window. She said yes! We hugged and cried and kissed and I put the ring on her finger.

My sister had quietly snuck out of hiding while I was talking and was taking pictures of the whole thing.

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After we both had taken a moment to let reality set in, I let Rachel know that this was just the beginning of our evening. I had made reservations at three different restaurants, and she could pick which sounded best. I know her, I know how serious she is about good food. She selected a restaurant and we arrived to a rose petal covered table and congratulations on our engagement.

After a delicious dinner, I had arranged dessert at her favorite place in Seattle with Rachel’s best friend and best friend’s boyfriend to further celebrate, as I knew she would want to show off her ring and relive the magic.

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The last stop of the night was to the Seattle Great Wheel, where I had booked a VIP ferris wheel ride for us. The VIP package included a special gondola that had a glass bottom and could play music from our phone, t-shirts, photo booth pictures, and vouchers for champagne at the nearby restaurant on the pier. We ended our evening looking out high above the water and the city lights, while listening to Beyonce’s  “Love On Top”, and enjoying every moment.

Before we fell asleep, I let her know there was just one more thing: the next morning I had booked manicures for us in the hotel spa, so we would have beautiful nails to show off our rings with!

The whole night was perfect, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to soon be calling her my wife!

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Special Thanks

Jessica Tate
Photography