Sabrina and Leif

How We Met

Sabrina: I have known Leif’s family (his mom Dian and younger brother Andy) since I was 15. It wasn’t until I was about 22 when I first met Leif. I went over to Dian’s house for Thanksgiving dinner one year and Leif was there. We talked a bit but nothing came of it. A year later, I was going to a Seahawks game with my friends. Before the game, I was tailgating when Andy texted me saying he was also going to the game. He showed with Leif and immediately Leif asked for my number – he might have had liquid courage ;)

Anyway, we were texting each other the whole time but never actually met up that day. The next day, he ended up inviting me to his house at the Lake (3 hours from where we lived in Seattle) and I was a bit nervous to accept that invitation since I barely knew him. He told me his mom, Dian would be there too so I felt more comfortable and thought I would be a bit spontaneous so I accept!

Our first date, we spent 3 straight days together in Lake Chelan, WA and fast forward 5 years later we are now engaged!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Grand Canyon National Park

How He Asked

Leif: For those of you wondering about Sabrina’s mysterious engagement, I’m here to share our proposal story. I believe that her “Birthday trip” that evolved into a surprise engagement trip was spectacular, however, flawed in many ways by yours truly. I suppose those flaws are what makes those special events more memorable.

Hi guys, this is Leif. I have the unique opportunity of capturing some of those special photos you view daily in Sabrina’s aka Gypsy Tan’s IG and Blog. I’m not a photographer, nor claim to be now even though I have become “ok” through attrition. Sabrina has a special talent when it comes to setting up her shots as well as capturing the moment. If you haven’t already gotten to know Sabrina through her stories and collections of posts, I will go ahead and tell you that what you see isn’t what you get. What I mean is that there is so much more to her. She is one of the rare people that have as much beauty to offer on the inside as she does on the outside, not to mention that she is one of the smartest people I know. I’m just glad that I figured it out and courted her early before the word got out. I will stop gushing about her for now and get to the story, but after all, I am her fiancé so can you blame me?

Sabrina and Leif's Engagement in Grand Canyon National Park

It was the first day of our trip and we were exploring Grand Canyon South Rim when we happened upon a private spot away from other tourists on Hopi Point. The moment was completely spontaneously panned but I just knew it was the right place and Sabrina and I were in awe. My moment was upon me so what did I do?

Filled with excitement, Sabrina was snapping shots and propping herself near the edge, not worrying that it was an 800+ foot sheer drop… Behind her and near me was a tree so I took this opportunity while she was distracted, to place the ring on the tree and to somehow surprise her with it. The tree was small with minimal foliage on it so it was easy to find a branch to place it on.

Now, I just had to get her attention.

Not such an easy task when it comes to competing with the sights of the Grand Canyon, which is far more impressive than people will lead you to believe. If you haven’t gone to see it and the surrounding parks north into Utah, please go and see it in person. If only you knew someone that could tell you where to go and what to do? (Haha this is Sabrina: you guys can check out my full Grand Canyon travel guide here).

“Sabrina… Babe check this out!” was the clever words I came up with *insert sarcasm*.
Epic fail. But wait it gets better. “Babe, come here I want to show you something..” Ugh, it’s painful writing this. “Look, something weird on the tree…” I remember thinking I needed to hit the reset button and start over at the next location, however, Sabrina was already up and on me asking, “What Boo?” (Boo happens to be our pet name for each other btw).

I knew it was past the point of no return even so I just went with it and said “Look…” and pointed to the ring.

The pinnacle of our relationship had come to this moment and I was presenting her with an engagement ring on a nearly dead tree branch pointing at it calling it “weird.” There is nowhere to go but up from here, I thought. I hadn’t been really that nervous or anxious up until then, however, found myself extremely so at the moment. Word to the wise; if anyone out there is planning on proposing anytime soon, to be safe plan to be a much more unsettled than you think you are going to be. Please learn from my mistakes.

Sabrina's Proposal in Grand Canyon National Park

“What?!? Someone left…” “Wait…” “Babe!!!?!” Later Sabrina said she thought for a split second someone left their ring there by mistake, which I thought was funny. My response to her was “I ah, I love you..” I took the ring from the tree and grabbed her right hand and got down on a knee and then managed to ask her to marry me. She reminded me that I had the wrong hand then helped me place it on the finger of her left hand. I don’t actually recall if she said “Yes” but I really wasn’t hearing much at that point just relieved I had made it to the other side of the proposal. She reminded me later that she did say the word “Yes,” as well as there was an implied reaction so I think I’m good.

It happened. I am engaged to the most amazing woman on May 16th, 2018 about 2 pm at Hopi Point in the Grand Canyon National Park!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Grand Canyon National Park

I didn’t realize it at the time but there was a couple passing by who had stopped and been watching all this go down. Even though it was a public place, they were giving us privacy and time for our moment which I appreciated. They graciously offered to take a few pictures (first picture above is the reenactment of the moment). As we set up the shot, I turned to the guy trying to be clever and said, “Your turn next (while smiling)” only to learn that the couple were actually brother and sister traveling with family from the Netherlands. Oh well, at that point I was beyond embarrassed anyway from fumbling through things – I was just happy to be engaged to Sabrina!

So, as we finished the re-enactment photo op and I went to stand up (we were rather close to the edge of the cliff and I was kneeling on rocky soil), I thought Sabrina had the ring on her finger and she thought I had control of it since I hadn’t pushed it all the way over her knuckle. You know the slow-motion scenes in the movies where usually something bad is about to happen? I’m sure you know where this is going… The next three seconds seemed like 100 years, not to mention the jolt of adrenaline that shot through my body. I thought how I could possibly get to the bottom of the Canyon to try to find it, how long it would take and what would I really find, would our whole trip be in the Grand Canyon now looking for the ring, do I now have to buy two rings?!? Etc, etc, etc…

Yes, the ring was in the air and was tumbling towards the edge. As all of us watched and gasped until it came to a stop. Thankfully it landed and settled literally a few inches away from the edge. I believe Sabrina and I both said to each other at the same time “I thought you had it!” We were both relieved, as well as the other observers who had collectively gasped with us. I should have packed a bottle of wine or something. Sabrina and I are not huge drinkers, however, we all probably needed a drink afterward. Maybe a toast would have been good. More delayed intelligence on my part.

This last event rounded out the proposal. My brother Brett and his wife Kristen have a saying on their mantle in their living room that states; “There are many love stories, but ours is my favorite.” I can definitely say there are many events in our relationship that are very unique and memorable. I do love our story and even the bumpy times, which I’m sure most couples have had. In reflecting, I think it went the way it was supposed to. The trip we experienced and Sabrina planned was spectacular. I’m excited for her to share what we did with everyone and truly thankful for her and our future life together.

Special Thanks

Blue Nile
Ring