Ingrid and Joshua

Where to Propose in Oakland, California

How We Met

Joshua and I met in college about seven years ago. I was a freshman, and he was a junior. I’m going to breeze over my actual first impression of my fiancé, because it was not a good one — in short, I was in my super chipper, incredibly talkative mood, and he was in his terrible, tired one that I would come to know and almost, just almost, find endearing (ha!) over the five years we’ve been together.

In the two years we knew each other in college, we floated in and out of each other’s lives in the times when he would randomly show up at the dorm study lounges, thumping (yes, thumping, because, for some reason, I remember his footfalls to be unnaturally heavy) around with his trumpet or when I would be mooching snacks off his roommates.

Of course, my most vivid memory of Joshua during this period of our friendship involved donuts. On a late-night trip to The Token Donut Shop of Austin, Texas (also known as Ken’s Donuts, which, BTW, RIP) with friends, he went to the convenient store to buy some milk for everyone to enjoy with the donuts. Apparently, people enjoy the watery, thin taste of 2% milk, so he purchased a lot of 2% milk. However, I was surprised when he handed me a bottle of whole milk, having remembered a random conversation we had had a while ago about my love for whole milk. Whole milk is the best. Alas, this sweet gesture was overshadowed by the three or four donuts I inhaled, washed down by the creamy taste of whole milk, and I didn’t think about Josh’s awesomeness again for months.

Our sort-of-friendship slowly transitioned into something questionably more while he was studying abroad in Prague for his last semester of senior year. Over his spotty wifi, we would share book recommendations to each other, he would tell me about his various adventures abroad (crawling over skeletons through the Paris undergrounds, jumping off cliffs, dodging cooking responsibility at his community hostel…), and I would tell him about the arguably more exciting things going on while I was finishing up my year in school. By the end of my sophomore year, I was looking forward to seeing that little green dot appear next to Joshua’s name on Facebook messages.

In hindsight, our long distance friendship was good practice for what would become 3.5 years of a long distance relationship. We were able to bond, laugh, and grow in friendship over many miles, time zones, and strange circumstances. It was the start of a best-friendship that would endure through the highs and lows that would be experienced over Facebook messages, emails, FaceTime calls, and the short times we would actually be together, outside of the 0’s and 1’s of the computer screen.

After he returned from Europe, he made a week-long trip to Austin, where I was still located for the next two years, before heading out to Fort Worth for his post-college job. Long story short, he convinced me to leave work early to stand in line at the grand opening of a nearby Chick-Fil-A for 20 hours, we were each awarded a year’s worth of free Chick-Fil-A meals, and, with fireworks (actually) and much fanfare, we began officially dating shortly after.

Besides our shared love of dogs, eating disgustingly large amounts of food, and singing at the top of our lungs to duets in the car, I knew it was meant to be when we both took elbows to our faces playing sports and got the SAME two teeth knocked out of our mouths within a year’s span of each other. After that, I was like, “Wow. We are truly soulmates,” and I’ve never looked back since.

How He Asked

Over the past couple of months (okay, okay, years), I’ve been asking Joshua about marriage at every opportunity. Marriage felt unrealistic while we were still long distance, but when things finally settled down and we were both in the Bay Area, it felt more likely. With this in mind, I increased the asking Joshua about marriage a couple of notches. He kept saying he wasn’t ready or was feeling overwhelmed by all of the decision-making that would come with proposal planning and wedding planning until…

The first time he asked, it was through text message. He sent me a picture of this beautiful rose gold ring. Then, he asked “wyd”, and I said “ofc”. Just kidding, about the last part, but yes, I did accidentally get sent a picture of the ring and, also yes, I deleted it right away. YET, the proposal was still such a HUGE surprise. I think this minor (okay, maybe major, for him) mishap actually added to the surprise factor even more, because I spent every single week for the next two months thinking I would be proposed to that weekend until…finally…I gave up…

The day the proposal actually happened, I spent the entire morning and afternoon biking up and down insane hills to and from work and then uploading Instagram stories that showed the world how sweaty I was. I was very proud of myself by the time the afternoon came around, and I think at this point, my friends were anxiously wondering from afar if I would at least shower before I got proposed to.

Unfortunately, I did not.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Oakland, California

Equipped with an oversized dri-fit t-shirt, helmet hair, poop bags tied to my waist leash, and my dirty dog park shoes, I dragged myself out of my apartment after my long bike ride home to meet up with fellow dog parents at the dog park. I picked up my dog’s poop. I watched my dog play. I angrily pulled him out of the ditch he runs into all the time when he wants to scavenge for poop to eat. I made dinner plans at my favorite Taiwanese restaurant with my friends Larry and Sally (isn’t that such a nice couple name duo?!). It was a normal dog park day like any other.

As Larry, Sally, and I were walking back home, I was dreaming about beef noodle soup. When we got to the end of a bridge, I saw people in the distance holding signs and Josh waving me over.

At this point, everything was a blur. With a big projector playing a homemade video of pictures and videos of us in the background (which very quickly ran out of power…but it’s okay because of 1. I didn’t really notice it through the shock, and 2. I wouldn’t have seen anything through the tears I was crying), Josh belted “You and I” by Ingrid Michaelson for the city of Oakland to see. It was so special because this was a song we sang together five years ago before we started dating, the week he was in Austin after his study abroad trip.

There were friends, champagne, and my favorite cake, decorated with what was ostensibly a whale. My dog was there, wagging his tail and then, trying to run away from the noise of clapping. The ring was even more beautiful in real life. Everything was so perfectly me, and it was one of the best days of my life! Right after the proposal, Josh surprised me with two more things: whale watching in Monterey and a huge surprise party with all of my closest friends directly after a late-night flight back to Houston. I spent 2.5 hours throwing up on the side of the boat during whale watching, and I cried many ugly tears that weekend, but I truly loved every moment of it.

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Special Thanks

Gently Crafted Films
Photographer
Gently Crafted Films
Videographer