So now that most folks know Natalie and I got engaged last weekend, it's time to tell the story of how it happened.
A little bit of info on this past weekend, Natalie's mother's birthday was on the 7th of October, so we were all headed out to So Cal for the occasion. Her parents live about 17 miles from mine, but by California's roads that's about a 45 minute drive. We, Me, Natalie, her sister, brother-in-law and neice all went out to California for the weekend, to visit with her family and mine.
We planned on everyone going to my parent's house on Saturday at 6:30pm, kind of a family gathering, have both sets of parents meet, and just have dinner and hang out all evening. I however had other plans and had Mom scope out locations on the beach for me a few weeks back. The requirements were a good view of the Ocean at Sunset, easy accessibility, and somewhere that 18 people could watch, without Natalie seeing those 18 people until after I asked her to marry me. Dog Beach down in Huntington beach was the perfect location, with two seperate parking areas so that Natalie and I could park, and walk ~1/4 mile to the sand below the cliffs at the second parking area. So the plan actually was for everyone to show up at my parents house at 5pm, and head down to the beach. Natalie and I got to the house around 4:30 and picked up the Triumph so we could drive down PCH with top down, sight seeing a little was the cover I used with Natalie.
I had to double check on the location mom picked out, as dad early Saturday morning said the two parking locations where too far apart, after seeing they were nice and close to each other I let mom know via a cryptic phonecall we would be in the same location as planned. Natalie and I drove around Huntington Beach a bit, stopping to watchi a few kite surfers (probably the wrong term) and then headed back up to the first Dog beach parking lot. I took her down for a stroll along the beach, all along looking ahead to see if I could see anyone at the rendevous point yet.
We ended up at the point I had planned probably 5-10 minutes before everyone else showed up. Not exactly on time as I had planned, but I think that worked out best as no one was around when we were walking towards where they would all be standing, I was hoping she wouldn't see anyone before I asked her. This whole time Natalie was freezing, the weather the day before had been 83 and sunny, but the weather saturday was getting overcast and windy, probably somewhere near 55-60 with a 15-20mph wind from the ocean. Though, even with the clouds and wind, we had a pretty good view of the sunset, which I had planned everything around, a 6:19pm sunset.
We stood there for what seemed like an eternity, finally the family showed up, I had to wave at them behind my back to get them down to the area near the life guard stand (stand 22) that would give them the best view. Natalie actually asked me if I was waving at someone, I said no, I was just cold and shaking out my hands. :) Once everyone was in position I suggested she put her shoes down, she'd been carrying them since we got to the sand. After a few moments, and her wiping her runny nose from the cold wind on my shirt, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She teared up, not saying a word, in shock. I had to ask her, "well, will you?" to get her to knod yes! I rose and gave her a hug and a kiss and then the crowd cheered, she turned and saw 18 people standing up on the bluff cheering for us. It took her a bit to realize it was all of our families up there watching :).
Everything turned out great, Greg (my brother) and Dad had my still camera and video camera snapping and shooting away the whole time. We walked up to the bluff and took lots of photos together, with all the family in various arrangements. Afterwards we all headed to Mom and Dad's house in Long Beach for a few hours of socializing. It was a great evening, and special thanks to Mom for getting everything together...