Sarah and Nick

How We Met

According to Sarah: I had met Nick through my friend Jackie. They worked together and I was often invited to many of their work events. I always thought Nick was so witty and fun to be around, and had developed a little crush. On one particular Friday, Jackie invited me to a happy hour. I usually know a few people, but at this event, I knew no one. I panned the room for a familiar face, and there was Nick. I found my way over to him and started chatting, and he had me laughing within minutes. He also cleverly got my phone number by asking me to text him a photo of a cute corgi puppy I had shown him (and anyone who knows Nick knows of his love of corgis). We ended up staying out all night, and the rest is history!

Where to Propose in Sossusvlei, Namibia

How He Asked

According to Nick: Sarah and I had an upcoming trip planned to Africa – and while I never anticipated proposing abroad (primarily out of fear of losing a ring) – I thought this could be an unforgettable experience. The friends that we were visiting recommended a hot air balloon ride over the Namib Desert, and since Sarah has always wanted to go on a hot air balloon ride, I informed the two of them that we would be interested, but I asked that they keep the activity a secret from Sarah. Originally, I just wanted to surprise her with this treat, but as the trip drew nearer, I knew I wanted to propose as well.

Sarah's Proposal in Sossusvlei, Namibia

Now that my mind was made up, I needed to get a ring. Taking into account my previously stated fear of bringing a nice ring abroad, coupled with not knowing what Sarah wanted and not wanting to talk to any of her family or friends (having this be a surprise was very important to me), I decided to go a bit of a different route. I ended up designing an “adventure” ring that I would bring over to Africa and propose with – this ring, which has a garnet stone, was to serve a few purposes: 1.) garnet is the stone that protects travelers – since Sarah and I really love to travel, I thought it’d be fitting (and the fact that garnet is also Sarah’s birthstone worked well too) and 2.) I would tell Sarah that I want her to wear this ring when we go on more adventures in the future – since it may not be practical to bring a nice diamond ring to some of the places we choose to travel – and I would make a promise to her that I would not let too much dust settle on this ring – that as we go through our lives together, another adventure will always be right around the corner. The plan then would be to get her diamond engagement ring after we’re back in the states, after I get a better sense of what she’s looking for (I wanted her to really like it after all!).

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Sossusvlei, Namibia

Any who, fast forward to the morning of the hot air balloon ride. We had to get up very early since it was a “sunrise tour”. There were two large hot air balloons that could hold up to 16 passengers each. We ended up having 10 people in our balloon – and while Sarah and I were together in our “quadrant” we unfortunately had another gentleman in our section with us (so I’m already thinking – “crap, how do I get this dude with his massive telephoto lens out of my way?”). Anyways, we get up in the air and the views were stunning. It was a really cool experience and incredibly peaceful (minus the fact that I was actually freaking out because I didn’t know at what point in time I was going to propose).

With our new “friend” in the quadrant with us, I was trying to find the perfect opportunity to have him pushed aside and have a bit of a private moment with Sarah – but it wasn’t until I realized that we had about five minutes left in flight that I just thought “I need to do this now”. I handed my friend my camera and asked Sarah to come next to me to look out over the vast desert with all others in the basket behind us. It was then that I asked Sarah if she wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.

Simply put, I’ll say that I caught her by surprise. I presented her with the adventure ring and our friends, other passengers and the captain congratulated us.

It wasn’t but a few moments later, the captain proclaimed to all passengers that we need to “brace for ‘sport’ landing” – meaning we were going to hit the ground at a fast pace.

It was at that point of slamming the ground multiple times and rolling the basket over, paired with Sarah’s laughter, I knew that I was the luckiest guy around and that our lives would continue to be filled with adventure and laughter.

Special Thanks

Brendan Belz (@brendanbelz) + Balungile Belz (@balungilebelz) | 
Proposal Photos
Kristi Blankenship (@madetobemine) | 
Engagement Photos