Katy and Mikael

How We Met

Mikael and I met at Oregon State University through mutual friends. My best friend and roommate at the time came home from class on one Friday and was like “I’m going to go watch Glee with Mikael, k bye!” And my reaction was “why are you not hanging out with me, who the heck is Mikael, and why does he like watching Glee?!”

Fast forward a bit and I realize he’s friends with a BUNCH of my same friends. Like, a ton of them. He’s in electrical engineering and I’m in new media communications but somehow we know all the same people. He starts coming to our wild house parties and gets my then-boyfriend so drunk on Scotch he throws up all over our front yard. Yay college. I remember thinking Mikael was just a really fun nerdy guy – but I was never interested in him like that.

After we graduate, we become a little bit better friends and he starts helping me whenever I have troubles with my blog since he’s an expert coder. At one point I offered to take engagement photos for him when he someday proposed to his then-girlfriend.

A few years later, I bought a house and needed a roommate! It turns out that Mikael had just gone through a horrible breakup and needed to move to Portland right at that same time. We moved in together as good friends and roommates. I still thought of him 100% platonically. He was just this super sweet, nerdy guy who was always fun to hang out with.

Eight months went by. Mikael and I were inseparable. We already had all the same friends, lived together, and spent most days together, and realized that we LOVED living together. He kept getting more and more attractive too. I tried to deny it for awhile, but eventually, I came to terms with it: I was completely and utterly in love with him.

He didn’t really have a clue. Men are oblivious. So I started flirting with him a LOT and casually touching him more frequently. Finally, one night we got a little too tipsy together and we kissed. The next day I sat him down, and straight-up told him I was in love with him, and that if he didn’t feel the same way that was totally fine and I would work to get over him. But if he DID feel the same way, I would love to see where this went. He took a chance on me and we decided to go for it, even as roommates. And now over three years later we’re engaged! I am so excited to get to marry my best friend!!

How He Asked

…as told by Marcela Pulido, the photographer;

HOLY SMOKES! How do I even begin to tell the amazing, insanely crazy and adventurous story of this proposal?! It has everything: romance, international travel, robbery, collusion, improvisation and secret signals!

THE BACKSTORY

For those of you that may not know, my roommate and best friend are none other than Katy Weaver, a local and badass wedding photographer in her own right. For the last two years, we’ve traveled in the month of February as a birthday celebration for me and this year we booked tickets to Guatemala! So when two months ago Katy’s boyfriend Mikael asked me what I thought about him crashing our girl’s trip with a surprise proposal, my only response was, “HELL FUCKING YES!” These two travel so often that Katy was already wondering when and where he’d pop the question so there was no way she was going to anticipate him proposing during our girl’s trip. She had no idea what she was in for!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Semuc Champey, Guatemala

So Mikael bought the ring, booked the flight and the plan was underway! We set off to Guatemala and had a few days to ourselves to explore and to celebrate my birthday at Lake Atitlan. Then after a particularly rough day of travel to the jungle and turquoise waters of Semuc Champey, the day finally came! I was a nervous wreck for days trying to make sure this went off without a hitch.

THE COLLUSION

Here’s what I did: I lied to Katy and told her that a local blogger was meeting us at Semuc Champey and that I’d set up a photo shoot with her. I told Katy I wanted to photograph her too, so she’d get dolled up and wear her prettiest dress (a girl has to make sure her best friend looks like a total babe when she’s getting proposed to, know what I mean?) then I changed Mikael’s name to Stephanie Moreno in my phone so I could text him meeting points and times without raising suspicion. The morning of I texted him asking for any updates and didn’t receive a response so I went up to breakfast.

When I got to the dining area of Utopia Hostel Katy told me then that she’d received an interesting call from the front desk from Mikael, who was asking for me (suspicion raised!) and that his message was “2.” Well, shit. Okay so now she knew something was up but I just played it coy, “oh, 2, huh? Yeah, I think I know what he’s talking about. That definitely could’ve waited.” Katy kept looking at me with her eyes narrowed, “Okay! Now you know we’re in collusion but I’m not telling you what I know. Don’t worry your pretty little head about it too much.” It was vague and obscure enough that she still had no idea what was happening but I took that to mean he would meet us in the National Park at 2 pm. This meant I had to find a way to keep her distracted for 4 hours with the only bus heading into the park at 10am. But here’s where Mikael’s side of the story gets pretty fucking crazy…

Proposal Ideas Semuc Champey, Guatemala

THE ROBBERY

Mikael took a red-eye flight through Mexico City to Guatemala City where he took a 7-hour bus ride to Cobán, but due to delays, he missed the last bus to Lanquín and our meeting location. He befriended an older Spaniard man he met on the bus and they had dinner together and decided to share a dorm at a hostel in town. Mikael put his wallet in his underwear and his phone underneath his head as he slept (the ring and passport were in his pockets). He woke up at 4 am with both his phone and wallet gone… along with the Spaniard. So now he had no money to make it to the final destination and no means to communicate with me about our meeting point. This is where he had to get crafty.

He managed to barter and trade his watch and his charging cube (with very limited Spanish vocabulary) for the remainder of his ride and made the phone call to the hostel by tricking a truck driver into using his cell phone. He clearly got flustered and did his best to relay his message without giving away too much information and got off the phone quickly. Then off he went to continue his journey.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Mikael bartered enough to make the final leg of the journey but once he got to Semuc Champey things got a little dicey; you have to pay an entrance fee to get into the park and the women (who only spoke Spanish) weren’t too keen on letting this gringo in without paying. First, he tried to sneak in real casually. They caught him. He did his best to explain to them what he was planning and why he was there and showed them the engagement ring, trying to appeal to their sense of romanticism. On the sign-in sheet he signed in under my name and wrote me a little note in Spanish, ” Marcela Pulido – I’m here! at the boardwalk” and he walked into Semuc Champey to propose to his lady love.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Semuc Champey, Guatemala

THE PROPOSAL

I walk into Semuc Champey thinking I’ve still got 4 hours to kill when I see the sign-in sheet with my name and the note. Instantly, I get nervous and start mentally preparing myself. Luckily Katy thinks we’re on our way to a shoot so I pull my camera out and start walking ahead, scouting the locations to see if I can spot Mikael before Katy does. There are three sections of the park he could potentially be, at, so I set Katy up at the first, then the second areas while I’m searching the horizon to see if this is the spot. (Quick backstory note: the three of us had done a marathon viewing of The Hunger Games just a few weeks before. This is important later!) Eventually, as I turn back towards to the third spot I hear it, the Mockingjay whistle signaling that… THIS IS IT! I knew we were close to the spot.

Katy's Proposal in Semuc Champey, Guatemala

Walking back to where the paths crossed I noticed there was a black bandana (a marker we had previously discussed) tied to the sign pointing to the left, now I knew where to go! I start running up the boardwalk to the third location as Katy yells at me, “Why are you running!?” and I’m thinking, “Screw it! No time for excuses, she’s about to find out why.” I round the corner and see Mikael crouched down in the bushes, pointing down saying, “This is the spot!” I take a few quick shots of him and pass him up and turn around to catch Katy’s reaction.

Where to Propose in Semuc Champey, Guatemala

And, well, you can view the rest for yourself from here!

Special Thanks

Marcela Pulido
Photographer