Exactly five years ago, to this day, I proposed to Meg. And, June 1st also happens to be the same day we met on a study abroad trip in Greece, two years prior. I’m excited to share a big part of our love story here on the blog!
Meg went to Ukraine for three weeks. While she was away working with churches and kids and exploring new places, I was busy preparing for the elaborate multi-step proposal.
When she returned to the U.S. on May 29th, after having no contact with anyone from home while she was away, including me, she had no idea what was in store.
First, I took Meg on an elaborate romantic date the day before I planned to propose to throw her off the scent. According to Meg, it totally worked. The next day (the day of the proposal) when we pulled into the valet circle at L’Auberge Del Mar for lunch, an upscale boutique resort and one of our favorite spots, Meg shrieked with joy and at the same time was a bit perplexed because it is such a “fancy” place for lunch and she wasn’t expecting anything special since we had just had a wonderful time the day before. Nevertheless, we enjoyed an amazing meal at the ocean view restaurant at L’Auberge. Over wine, steak, salmon and ocean breeze, we caught up more from our three weeks apart. Meg had brought her journal to lunch and decided it would be a good time for her to share a letter she had written to me while she was in Ukraine. It was a beautiful moment as she read the letter filled with words of love, affirmation, hopes, and prayers for our relationship together.
“Let’s run wild and free and love God, people, and each other like crazy, okay? I am in love with you. I choose you. I love you. Everyday. Always. Love, Meg.” Little did she know how perfect the timing of this letter was.
After lunch, we went to retrieve the car from valet and a silver scooter was returned to us instead of my car. Meg was confused at first but it didn’t take long for her to start jumping with excitement. “That was really smooth babe, nice work.” We rode down Pacific Coast Highway until we reached Torrey Pines Reserve, a place we had hiked before together and is a place of significance in our relationship.
We drove to the spot we normally hike, hopped off of the scooter and started to walk. Then Meg saw a picture glued to a hand cut piece of wood. It was attached by twine to one of the posts that guide the trail. It was in that moment that she knew without a doubt what was happening. Instead of nerves or uneasy excitement, we both experienced a calm and joyful sense of peace. It was just us, walking down a trail to a place that would signify the beginning of a new chapter. It just felt right.
On the back of the wooden panel was an excerpt from the first book we read together called, “God Hides in Plain Sight,” by Dean Nelson. The excerpts on all of the pictures were from the last chapter of the book that speaks of the sacrament of service. We continued on the path and took turns reading the back of every other picture. The process was only broken up by laughter, hugs, kisses, tears evoked by certain pictures, and joy as what was happening continued to sink in.
We eventually reached the end of the path, and I led Meg, guided by a path of rose petals, to a lookout accompanied by a bench and an immense, expansive ocean view. She sat and I bent down to where a bucket of water, soap, and a towel lay. “Meg, I want to serve and love you each and every day as Christ came to serve and love. I choose to commit to you. Can I wash your feet?”
Speechless, she nodded. I washed her feet and dried them.
“Well, can I wash yours then too?” “Um, yeah!” We switched places and she proceeded to wash my feet. I hurried her along out of excitement to just ask the question I had been dying to ask. We read from John 13 where Jesus washes the disciple’s feet, the finale of the last chapter in the book we read along the path about service.
After we shared these moments, I couldn’t wait any longer. I pulled the ring out of the blue bucket that had held the towel and got down on one knee, “Megan Christine Hallock, will you marry me?”
She hadn’t cried yet, but at the sight of me lowering to one knee, the intensity of the moment brought tears of overwhelming joy to her eyes. “Umm yes! Duh! Yes!”
I put the ring on her hand and my brother and two close friends, who waited in the distance and who helped set everything up, came to join in the celebration!
We took a few portraits with our friend Jeff who captured the whole thing!
Over our year and a half or so of dating, we would meet at a special tree on our college campus: for runs, walks, lunches, talks in between classes, etc. It’s located at Point Loma Nazarene University (where we both went to school) and overlooks the ocean above Sunset Cliffs. I had contacted Ashlyn Carter, a friend and wedding designer that Meg worked for, and asked her to help me set up a Greece-themed tablescape at our tree because it was on a trip to Greece that we had met. She did an amazing job and the scene was exactly what I dreamed and more!
Hanging on the tree were pictures of Greece and of where our story first began. Also by the tree was a photo album composed of photos I had taken in Greece.
I drove Meg down to Point Loma and as we walked up to the tree, the magical setting became clear. I surprised her with a beautiful Greek dinner delivered by another amazing friend.
It was a special time to be still together in the midst of God’s creation and to pray and be grateful for all of the past & present moments by the tree, and the future moments to come. The sun continued to set and streams of sunlight poured through the clouds casting bright pools of sparkle onto the Pacific below.
As dinner ended I asked, “Ready for the next part of the adventure?” “There’s more??” We hopped back in the car and drove to a friend’s house where at least fifty friends and family waited to celebrate with us. We walked through the house to the door leading to the backyard and as we turned the corner, screams and yells erupted from the large group of some of our favorite people. The night was filled with storytelling, laughter, tears of joy, cake, and dancing. Meg showed off her ring, I explained the craziness of the past few weeks, and by the end of the night both of us were overwhelmed with joy and gratitude and humbled by the people who showed incredible support of our relationship, proposal, and our future together.
We love to celebrate important milestones in our journey and this was certainly a day we will never forget. See the whole proposal featured on Style Me Pretty.
A special thank you to everyone who helped me create this amazing day…
Photography: The Youngrens | Styling: Ashlyn Carter | Proposal Setup: Taylor Welch, Seth Richardson, Steve Peterson | After Party: Tyler Axtell, Lynne Hallock, Nancy Padias, and everyone who helped contribute