Riannon and Clinton
How We Met
During my last semester at the University of Southern California (Go Trojans!), one of my best friends kept telling me that I had to meet a friend of hers that had asked about me several times. My friend’s persistence went on for a couple months until one night in December, when I was feeling rather brazen (probably from the lack of sleep and abundance of coffee due to finals), I sent him a friend request on Facebook. After a few intriguing messages back and forth, we made plans to meet for coffee. The day came and I walked into Starbucks to find him wearing a Santa hat, yes that’s right, a Santa hat! My initial thought was “RUN!” but a little voice inside my head told me to stay. Thanks, little voice, best advice EVER! From the second we sat down with our coffees, there was never even a moment of awkward silence. We talked for over four hours that December night. We talked about our lives – from school to our childhoods to plans for the future – never realizing at the time that those future plans would one day include each other!
After that night we saw each other casually over the next few months but we talked often. I knew Clinton was special because of how easily I could talk to him about anything. Flash forward to the following fall – newly graduated and in the working world – only to find ourselves living fifteen minutes away from each other! We went out a few times and then started seeing each other more regularly. Things progressed and we began dating. Over the past four and a half years we have grown together in so very many ways. We have shared our triumphs and our losses and propelled each other to be the best versions of ourselves. I have always believed that things happen when you least expect them to. I know I never expected a casual coffee date on a December night – with a guy in a Santa hat nonetheless – to be any more than that. But it was and it is and we could not be happier!
How He Asked
Clinton and I had been planning our trip to Europe for a few months. We were traveling to Paris and then Munich for Oktoberfest and to visit Neuschwanstein Castle. It was Clinton’s first trip abroad so I became travel agent extraordinaire…no museum left unvisited, no baguette left uneaten! To say I was a little preoccupied with the planning would be an understatement.
To make our trip even more special, my parents had gifted us with a rooftop dinner at the Terrace Hotel in Montmartre on our second night in Paris, which we were very much looking forward to. Little did I know it would be a night I would never forget! As we were getting ready, Clinton kept saying we could not be late, he wanted to be there by 6 p.m. I thought that was a little strange since our dinner reservations were not until 8 p.m. When he offered up drinks at the hotel’s bar as an excuse for arriving early, I happily went along with it. I mean, who wouldn’t? Cocktails on a terrace high above Paree with a breathtaking view of the City of Light!
We ordered drinks and Clinton said he wanted to take a panoramic photo of the city with me looking out at the view, which meant I would have my back to him. I obliged as I envisioned my next Instagram photo! Finally – after what felt like forever – Clinton asked me to turn around and as I did, I saw he was down on one knee. As I stood there in my vintage black velvet sleeveless dress, it began to mist and drizzle yet instead of feeling cold, I felt an incredible warmth and love – greater than I had ever felt before – for the man kneeling in front of me. Between the happiness and the excitement and the tears, as the fog cleared from my eyes, I muttered out a YES! To make the evening even more perfect (if that was possible), Clinton had hired a photographer to capture the moment which meant we would be able to relive it over and over again through the photos.
Following congratulatory wishes from strangers, we were escorted inside to the restaurant to enjoy the most amazing dinner – amazing because we were dining for the first time as an ENGAGED couple! Even though the restaurant was very crowded that night, we were in our own world. It felt like it was just the two of us. Following a delectable dinner in true French fashion, I excused myself for a moment but when I returned, our table was empty. With one look at my confused expression, a waiter came to my rescue and pointed me toward a small area near the front of the restaurant. Clinton had arranged for dessert and champagne to be served on a private balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Sipping the sparkling champagne with my fiancé, as the City of Light sparkled beneath us, on the most perfect night of our lives, was truly a dream come true!