In honor of St. Valentine and marching together into March, I’d like to share one of my favorite engagement stories. When I tell the story of how my now husband asked me to be his wife I still get butterflies and so I’d like to share the story with you.
A surprise weekend in Estes Park, CO. created the most romantic proposal I could imagine. My love had purchased a ring months before he proposed. We had talked about getting married and he knew how important a special engagement would be to me, so he picked a place of sentiment to pop the question. I later found out that he conferred with his best friend repeatedly until the right time came.Estes Park, CO
Six years earlier, when I was living in a different community, my parents picked me up on their way through town. Their destination was a convention in Estes. This specific weekend produced some of the last memories I have of my dad feeling well and having fun before he passed away. During the conference my dad teased me about eloping to the beautiful mountain town. He said it would be the perfect place for a destination wedding and although I agreed, there wasn’t a prospective groom anywhere on my radar. The rest of the conference my dad introduced me as his currently single daughter who would be getting married in Estes Park someday! It was slightly embarrassing at the time but a most valued memory, now.
For every trip through Colorado, I would always tell my husband how special Estes was to me. There was never a chance to forget, as the route from our town to Denver just so happens to pass that exit.
Labor Day weekend in September 2009, my partner planned a trip. I assumed it was a shopping trip as finding clothes to fit his 6’6″ frame is next to impossible in our rural community! I even forgot about the commitment at one point and had invited my girlfriends on one last camping excursion before winter came. In the end, I ended up in the Estes bound car without my usual driving shift.
While digging in my purse, I missed the first clue of the surprise weekend…the Estes exit! Halfway through Loveland, I asked my love if he was lost. (Like he would be lost when he had made this very drive countless times!)
He told me that he had planned a mystery mini vacation. I was excited but clueless as he had convinced me that the weekend was to celebrate his first teaching job and the role I had played to support him throughout his post secondary career. He asked me to “just relax” and “enjoy the weekend” as it was his treat. I believed him and didn’t realize our destination until we passed the “Welcome to Estes Park” sign at the mountain’s pass!Photo via B N Sullivan from here.
Screams filled our car as I shared with him (once again) how much I LOVE Estes. The drive through the pass was filled with my stories of the beautiful park. He then asked me what I would most like to do during our stay.
“Hands down, the Stanley Hotel! We HAVE to visit the Stanley while we are here! It is one of the prettiest places on earth…you feel like you are walking through history in that place!” I said.The Stanley Hotel
He replied with a grin, “We will have to do that tomorrow. It sounds pretty cool.”
He made a sneak phone call to my mom to let her know everything was “okay.” Really, he was calling for directions and the next thing I knew we were pulling into the Stanley Hotel to check into a villa overlooking Estes. I was asked to stay in the car while he checked in. I refused. Then, he caught an earful about how much he was paying for the weekend’s stay. (The stay ended up being worth every single penny!)
After checking in, it was decided that a soak in the hot tub on the private patio was in order! I was overwhelmed by the full moon, blanket of stars, and elk bugling in the mountains. I was so wrapped up in the beauty of my surroundings that I didn’t even turn to face my best friend when he said, “Chelse, do you love me?” (Talk about being clueless!)
“Of course I love you!”
“Will you love me forever?”
“Of course I will love you forever!”
“Do you love me enough to spend the rest of your life with me?”
I FINALLY turned around to see him down on one knee, holding a moon-lit ring!
“Chelse, will you marry me?”
I was SO surprised, that I covered my mouth and said…NOTHING!
“Chelse? Will you marry me?” He asked again.
“Yes, yes! I love you! Yes! I will marry you!”