Marisa and Keith

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How We Met

I was dating my high school boyfriend who was friends with Keith. When I first saw Keith I was instantly attracted to him, but once he opened his mouth he became so unattractive by how conceited he was (he liked to think of it as confidence). We met again at a mutual friends house four years later, and just exchanged information since I was still unavailable by another guy. He texted me about a month later, and we would grab a bite to eat to catch up. Once a good friendship was built he asked a simple question about my relationship. “Are you happy?” My response was not a strong yes. I was just comfortable in my relationship. I was not truly happy. When I began to be honest with myself it was Keith I couldn’t stop feeling happy around. Once I came to the realization I broke it off with my boyfriend (even though it was on my birthday, June). Keith began courting me until I became impatient. I called him out on it on New Years Day because any holiday he could’ve asked me he didn’t! Apparently he was 10 minutes behind on asking me after I confronted him, so he made me wait till January 27, 2013 to ask me to be his girlfriend. Impatiently happy!

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How He Asked

We’ve been fixing up Keith’s house for a few months. Transforming a four man bachelor pad to a home for him. Keith told me we could take some Christmas photos to hang on the wall, and make it a second home (on the weekends) for me. We were going to take the photos on Coronado Island at Hotel Del Coronado’s beach front. We’ve (and by we I mean me) always wanted to go there during the holiday season because it truly is a beautiful island. I’ve stayed there with my parents, and godparents before my godfather passed away. I’ve never been there during Christmas time, and seen amazing photos online by my friend Neil who lives there. Every year I would ask Keith if we could go, so he took me last year, 2014 and it was beautiful!

The drive to the hotel was colorful with homes and businesses all decorated with Christmas lights. The Hotel Del Coronado was breathe taking! It was all lit up in white lights. There was a beautiful Christmas tree in the hotel lobby. Once you stepped outside to the hotel’s beach front there was ice skating on the beach! They had their lawn covered with the ice rink with lights hanging above as the people skated. We were going to try to skate, but weren’t financially ready. Keith promised we will come back, and skate next year.

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When Keith asked if I wanted to take Christmas photos I was beyond excited where I took control of what we’re wearing, what poses to keep in mind, what Christmas props to use, etc. I wanted a “Southern California Beach Christmas” photoshoot. The night before I texted my girlfriend Amanda to see if we were all carpooling because she was going to take our photos. She got terribly sick, and wouldn’t be able to make it. I told Keith, and was determined to find another photographer because if we didn’t go Dec. 5th we had no other weekend to go. After texting all my friends who have taken engagement photos or had that experience I told Keith no one was available. Neil was our last hope because he specialized in scenic pictures and has never done a photoshoot. He said he would be excited to do so. Keith was glad I was relieved, and our (his) plan was moving in the right direction. He picked up his dad’s GoPro so we can take our own photos and videos for behind the scenes.

It was such a beautiful day at Coronado. It was the perfect warmth from the sun with a light breeze from the ocean. Once we parked the truck you can hear the huge waves crashing on the shore. We were able to find Neil by the beach front, and I will admit I was not as comfortable with taking pictures as I thought I would be. I felt super awkward with people still walking by while we pose by the boardwalk. Keith made sure I was having a good time, and for that to happen it involves dancing. When we were by the ocean water Keith just started dancing with me all childish. I instantly became more comfortable. We walked to the rocks to take some photos, and that’s where I felt like myself again. I feel it showed in those photos compared to the first set of pictures. We took some quick photos in the Hotel lobby with their Christmas tree, and a “steamy” one in the elevator. Neil was getting hungry, and we wanted to enjoy the day as well. We took about a thirty minute break to explore.

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We were goofing off with the GoPro, and putting everything away in the truck. We were going to take our last photos ice skating during sunset. We were waiting for Neil, so we signed the waiver forms and tried getting the wristbands to skate. I had to go to the bathroom and change for the next set of pictures. Keith told me to go, and he’ll get my wristband. I ran to the bathroom trying to pass people, and like any ladies room there was a long line. Once I was done I tried to pass the crowd of people in the Hotel to find Keith. We tried to look for Neil, but he still wasn’t there. We got our skates, and before we headed on the ice Neil came. We told him to go sign the waiver, and we’ll meet him on the ice. Keith and I had a rough start skating. It’s been awhile for the both of us, but our first time ice skating together from the almost three years we’ve been dating. We had the GoPro on us, so we can laugh on us moving 1mph on the ice. I told Keith they really need to smooth the ice because it was all skated, and had divots making it difficult to skate. I wanted to take a break, and see how Neil was doing.

As soon, as we sat down Neil got his wristband, and on his way to get his skates. They asked for everyone to clear the ice for the Zamboni to smooth the ice. Neil had his skates ready, and showed us some of our photos. Once the Zamboni was done an announcer came on stating they were doing the drawing for one person to ice skate for five minutes with someone of their choice. I was bummed because we didn’t put our names in, but Keith assured me that they said it was from the signed waivers. Then they said “Keith K–a–p–r, Kwa—” and I just am stunned because I know its my Keith (His last name is hard to pronounce; Kwappenberg.) Little did I know he had been setting this up for weeks, and the owner made sure to pronounce his last name incorrectly. So he turns on the GoPro we get on the ice, and we’re skating! I’m just in smiles, and excited. I tell Keith “…this is awkward but pretty cool…”. We are not professional skaters nor entertaining for others to watch us skate, but we made the most of it. We skated for about three times around the rink then I feel a slight tug where I’m facing Keith, and he’s on his knee. I want to drop to the floor, and almost just fell, but he uses his arm strengthen to balance me. He then pulls out a jewelry box I’ve seen for over eight years, and says the words I’ve been waiting my entire life for a man to say to me “Marisa Sanchez will you marry me?” I’m in tears, and stunned where I just have enough strength to nod yes and kiss Keith. The ring is so beautiful, (granted my eyes are filled with tears) and looks EXACTLY what I’ve ALWAYS wanted. I kissed him again. I had to take my promise ring off, and have it replaced by this new forever engagement ring. I tried to look at it through the tears, but I just had to kiss my now fiancé again. As soon as he got back up I realized we have an entire crowd sharing this moment with us, so I flashed them my engagement ring. I couldn’t move, but we were on ice so I had no option. I hung onto his arm for support. We went around the rink one more time while everyone cheered for us. Kids saying “way to go Keith”, and “that’s how it’s done Keith”. The announcer states “lets hear it for the newly engaged couple, Keith & Marisa!” Neil was able to capture this entire moment on camera and Keith on the GoPro. I told Keith I need to be still, and process this moment. He leads me to the end of the rink where I hear a man shout “so are you happy?”! I try to search for the man to let him know yes! Searching in the crowd I see my mom, and dad with cameras and tears. I lose it! I start crying from this joyous moment! I kiss Keith again because I am just so happy, and blown away. My parents informed me that I apparently ran past them on the way to the bathroom. As Keith and I were about to skate off the rink a gentleman calls out for Keith. A professional photographer (Bommarito Fine Art) was able to capture Keith’s proposal with the crowd and sunset. He gave us his card, and to keep in touch (his work is incredible and we’re very thankful). We skated off with all positive vibes and congratulations from everyone. I was able to hug my mommy and daddy, and have my fiancé hug them too. It meant so much. Neil asked if we wanted more pictures. We walked to the beach where there was a beautiful lit sand castle with two hearts “Love you” and the date “Dec. 5, 2015”. It was a beautiful day, and still overwhelming, yet excited to know that I am going to be loved by the same man for the rest of my life.

We said our goodbyes to Neil and my parents. We went to check in at a beautiful, elegant hotel called the Glorietta Bay Inn. This was another surprise that Keith had for me. He made prior reservations and packed a suitcase for us. The front desk staff were so welcoming, and over heard me on the phone taking to Keith’s best friend Nate stating we’re engaged. They bumped us to the suite! We hadn’t eaten anything since we left in the morning, so we went to the restaurant I always go to when visiting Coronado called Miguel’s. I did some quick phone calls to my sister and brother. When we ordered Keith did not eat much, and that is not normal. So we took the food to go where we stayed the night. The next morning we woke up early to watch the sunrise, and it was just beautiful. Amazing weekend with my now fiancé.

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Special Thanks

Neil Kelsberg
Photographer
Daniel
Unplanned Photographer
Donald Squires
Ice Rink Owner