Natalie and Levi

How We Met: Levi and Natalie met by being assigned to the same senior project at Cal Poly in October 2010. Levi was in the last year of his bachelor’s degree in General Engineering with an emphasis in Biomaterials, and Natalie was working on her blended master’s and bachelor’s program in Biomedical Engineering. They both applied to work on a MEDITEC project, a program that matches students who need projects with biomedical companies that have projects they have, and a professor matched them together based on their resumes!

imageFor the next 9 months they worked together in a computer lab, learning more about each other and became best friends. When Levi graduated in the spring, he moved down to Santa Barbara and Natalie went to her internship in Los Angeles. They knew they liked each other, but neither of them thought a distance relationship was a good idea. Natalie didn’t think that she would see much of Levi after that, but soon he was visiting her and inviting her up to Santa Barbara on the weekends.

In October of that year they both decided that their feelings for each other weren’t going away, and decided that even though a relationship with 100 miles between two people would be hard, it was worth trying. They sat on an outcropping on the beach in Carpinteria and discussed life and love for hours, and decided to do life together. 2 years and some months later, Levi took Natalie back to that very spot where everything started, got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. (Spoiler: she said yes)

How He Asked, Natalie’s Perspective: I was pretty sure that week that Levi was up to something – the week leading up he was continually hiding his phone, and smirking when I would ask what he was texting about. I knew he had something planned – just not what.

Saturday evening he texted me and said “be ready for church early tomorrow, like around 745”. It was a little strange, but not unprecedented, we work at the same company and carpool so some mornings he takes me to breakfast. But that morning I got a text from one of our sister’s friend’s Kristi who does hair the next morning of “hey, I’ll be there in 15 to do your hair!”

Then I knew something was up – Levi had done things like this for me before (scheduling massages, and salon appointments) but not on a Sunday morning. Plus, at one point I had confessed to him “I really am excited about getting engaged, but the fact that it could happen at any time kind of stresses me out a bit – I mean, what if I’m having a really bad hair day?!” He laughed at the time, but later told me he “got this”, so I shouldn’t worry.

After Kristi had finished with my hair, Levi showed up and we went to church. Which actually did throw me off a bit, because I knew Levi is the kind of guy who will wonderful things for me for no reason.

After church Levi said “let’s grab lunch down here and take it to the beach or something.” We grabbed burritos, and went to the bluffs – we found this little hidden spot – a little shelf above the beach that looks out on the ocean. It was the same spot we’d been to over 2 years ago, the night before we decided to pursue a romantic relationship. We sat there for a long while, just talking about life, and laughing. Then he got up “to go find a tree to pee behind”. Hah!

He was gone for a while, which, at first I didn’t think anything of (there weren’t a lot of trees that I saw on the way there) but then I figured he might be coordinating something for later. (Turns out he was finding the photographer who got lost!) When he got back we started cleaning up, and he stopped and took my hands, and started talking about how much he loves me, how the past two years have been the best of his life, and how he wants to spend the rest of his years with me… I started hearing some clicking, and his hands were shaking, my hands started shaking and all I could think was “this is for real. this is happening.”

He got down on one knee and then asked me to marry him – I said yes!

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Then Candice (who had been taking pictures) came down and we took some more pictures. (I haven’t seem them all but I’m pretty sure a lot were us kissing because she would say “okay, kiss” and I was like “OKAY!”)

After Candice left we walked over a tree, and prayed for a bit. It was a really sweet time of telling the Lord our plans, and asking Him into the next season of our lives.

Then Levi was like “okay we have to go!” and all I could say was “what there’s more?!”

He took me home and had me change because we were going horseback riding! I grew up with horses, and have mentioned a few times over the years that I want to go riding with him sometime, but he never seemed enthusiastic about it so I never thought we’d actually go!

We drove up to a place called Circle Bar B Ranch, where I got put on a horse named Elvis and Levi rode Zeus (one of the biggest horses I’ve ever seen). We rode around on the trails with a guide named Brett from North Dakota. Who spent the ride talking about how, really, Levi should have waited to propose on the ride, but then how it would have been awkward if I said no. (Apparently it’s happened before).

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After leaving there, Levi had one more surprise – which at that point wasn’t *that* much of a surprise, because Zaytoon is easily our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara. The place has amazing ambiance with it’s outdoor lighting and fire pits, and even better food. We spent a few hours there eating dinner, talking about the future and grinning at each other until our cheeks hurt.

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We ended the night at his place, eating cupcakes and champagne with his roommates. It was a really wonderful day.

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Candice Marie Photography