Mari and Carlos

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Valdez, Alaska

How We Met

When we first met, I was a sophomore at Connecticut College and Carlos was a senior right across the street at the United States Coast Guard Academy. It was the beginning of the fall semester and I was scheduled to take a Spanish class with my major advisor but I decided to drop it, however, a couple of my friends decided to stick to it. A week later, celebrating the start of the semester, my friends decided to throw a party and invited a boy from their Spanish class. Little did I know, that boy was Carlos. We immediately hit it off, but it was not until a week later that we saw each other again. The song “When We Were Young,” by The Killers was playing when I heard someone behind me ask if I wanted to dance. Till this day, I tease Carlos about that because how do you even dance to that song? Of course that was not my initial thought at the time, instead I was overwhelmed with joy because I could not believe we had come across one another again. Two short weeks later, it was parents weekend at the academy, and Carlos insisted that I meet his parents. I was very nervous and could not help but think that it was way “too soon.” However, I took a chance and met them anyway. After getting the opportunity to spend time with them and get to know Carlos a little more, I knew he was the man I was going to marry.

Fast forward through 2 years of dating, school, meeting families, traveling and Carlos being stationed in Norfolk, VA here we are in Valdez, Alaska. Spring of my senior year in college, Carlos got orders to be stationed in Valdez, AK for his next tour. After two years of long distance, we decided it was time to move in together. Though we had planned differently following graduation (because trust me, Alaska was definitely not on the list), things don’t always go as planned, and that is something we have learned to overcome together and make the best out of. We signed the lease to our first apartment together and after a couple of months we decided to become first time dog owners! Neither of us had ever owned a dog, so we were completely clueless as to what that meant but here we are with Moose Totem our lovely lab.

Mari's Proposal in Valdez, Alaska

How He Asked

Carlos proposed to me on September 8th, 2018. We had been talking about going to the top of a snow capped mountain for as long as I can remember, and though we love to hike, there was no way we were going to make it up there unless we took a helicopter. Mountains have always been incredibly special to us and our relationship, mainly because of the song that was playing when we first met.

Carlos had been in touch with Leigh, our pilot, planning for the perfect day. Here in Valdez, the weather can be crazy unpredictable and Carlos had been waiting for sunshine, no wind, and clear skies. If you are familiar with the weather in Alaska, you know it can be sunshine mixed with rain and 5 rainbows all in one day! Anyway, I had no idea what was really going to happen up in the mountains. Carlos scheduled a tour and told me we were going to have a photoshoot because that was the only way he could tell me to “dress up” without giving anything away. Once we got to the mountains, Carlos began saying all these sweet things that I can’t even remember (I swear I blacked out! Luckily, there’s a video!). I honestly did not find it out of the ordinary because he’s done that on more than one occasion. He then continued by singing:

Can we climb this mountain I don’t know
Higher now than ever before
I know we can make it if we take it slow
Let’s take it easy
Easy now, watch it go

The lyrics to “When We Were Young,” otherwise known as “our song” to us. At that moment I saw him get down on one knee and go for the camera lens, so I still didn’t know what was happening. Once I saw that he took out a Tiffany Box instead of the lens, I could not help but burst in tears.

After the proposal, it finally made sense why he had been playing The Killers the whole week before. I always told him I would see it coming, but after all the planning he did to make this moment incredibly special, I’m glad I didn’t. Definitely the best “yes” I’ve ever said in my life. We are keeping the tradition of Connecticut College women marrying Coasties!

Special Thanks

Leigh Coates
PLANNING/PHOTOGRAPHER