Izzy and Zac

Where to Propose in Aqua Caliente Park

How We Met

Zac and I first met when he moved from Michigan to a small town in Arizona called Fountain Hills in eighth grade.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Aqua Caliente Park

How He Asked

Planning the proposal was an interesting challenge, mostly because Izzy was sooooo suspicious about it that I was worried she was going to discover all the secrets I had covered up. Around September I had a conversation with my mom about proposing to Iz and saving up for a ring. During that conversation my mom generously offered me a ring and that’s when the planning really took off.

Izzy and I went to Fall Retreat, which is a weekend trip with Cru (a campus Ministry that we serve with) and I asked to go to subway alone with her good friend and now Matron of Honor Gaby so I could tell her about the ring. I was so nervous that I didn’t even bring it up to Gaby until the very last second! We immediately started a couple month long process of brainstorming ideas and thinking of creative ways to propose. I spent more time on Pinterest searching for cute ideas than I’d like to admit, but for most of the semester we were trying to think of the perfect idea.

As the semester started coming to a close we started forming a plan and just needed to figure out how to execute it. I wanted to propose over the winter break, but I was going to be in Tucson working the whole time while Izzy was spending the break in Phoenix. I wasn’t sure how I could convince her to come down to Tucson without her being incredibly suspicious. Luckily my birthday is over winter break and it was the perfect cover! She would never expect that I would propose on the only day of the year that’s all about ME! I knew I could get Izzy to come down and spend my birthday with me and now I just needed an alibi to get her to a surprise location for a proposal.

When I came up with my idea I immediately sent Gaby a text asking what she thought. “Ok what if I was like “oh I have to work” on my birthday or something and then you were like “hey come spend the day with me while Zac is at work.” and THEN what if you were like “OMG Shayla was telling me she wants to like practice photography! We should like go to this place and take pictures!” And then you guys can go there that will give her the excuse to dress up. And then we can all already be there and as you guys are taking pictures you can like go to a spot where I can have everything set already and then when she says yes everyone can come out and Shayla can take pictures of the moment?” – My exact text to Gaby when I had the idea for the proposal on December 8th. Shayla is our good friend who is also a skilled photographer, as you can clearly see if you’ve seen the pictures of the proposal. Gaby liked the idea so the gears got turning.

We kept the proposal between us until the end of the semester and as soon as everyone left for winter break and was far away from Izzy I texted everyone and let them know about the plan. We looked at locations and decided that a local park would be a great place for the big moment! Izzy was pretty suspicious but all of her friends did a pretty convincing job of telling her that there was NO WAY I was going to proposing on my birthday. When the big day came, I told Izzy I had to work until 5.

Gaby invited her to come down and hang out and take pictures. I actually got off work at 1 and spent the whole afternoon getting prepared for the big day. Izzy and I share each others locations on our phones so the first step was me leaving my phone at work so if she checked in to see where I was she wouldn’t notice that I was at the park they were going to. I sat down and wrote her letter sharing my feelings for her and asking her to marry me. I put the note on a poster board and set it up at the end of a trail of rose petals. Many of Izzy and I’s good friends came down and joined me at the park for the preparing.

When Izzy arrived at the park we all took our places hiding behind various trees and bushes. Gaby and Shayla led her to the spot casually and then when they arrived at the place casually hinted that Izzy should read it.

So from between two palm trees I hid and watched Izzy read the letter that I had wrote and when she looked up at the end of the letter there I was on one knee! Her exact response was, “yes…obviously.” On December 23rd 2016, surrounded by our supportive and loving friends, we took the first step in the rest of our lives together! Disclaimer: she might say she wasn’t surprised, but she was definitely surprised and had no clue it was happening.

Special Thanks

Shayla Sandoval | 
Took photos before, during, and after the proposal