Words by Ashley

How did Sam and I meet and fall in love…have you seen her?! How do you not fall for someone of her beauty! Not only is she pretty, but she’s also intelligent, kind, caring, loving, & the yin to my yang.

When we first met (on Tinder), I thought the app’s purpose was to meet friends. Since my friends and I went up to Mammoth and used the app to meet a bunch of people to go out with, I decided to use the app at home, to meet people in West Hollywood & have more friends in that area. As for Sam, she was signed up on the app for guys! However, her Tinder started glitching, and women started coming across it. She decided to just go for it! Almost immediately, I popped up on her feed and she swiped right!

We started texting and then talked that night on the phone for about two hours. She told me she had never met up with anyone from the app before and I said I had made some friends from it, but that’s it. We spoke on the phone every day that next week, and then we set a date to meet for the first time. I drove over to her house to pick her up for dinner & drinks and my first thought was “WOW! She is really pretty and her pictures didn’t lie!” We went to dinner & drinks, got to know each other a bit more, and went back to her house where we talked all through the night. We were up so late talking, that we watched the sunrise together (where we shared our first kiss)! Without realising it, I put my phone on her windowsill, and when it was time for us both to leave (Sam had to go to work and I was going to play golf with my grandpa), neither of us could find it! I messaged her on Facebook that afternoon, and when she got home, she remembered we watched the sunrise together. She looked in her windowsill, and there it was. So, I told her I HAD to come over to “pick up my phone…” and I haven’t left her side since.

Fast forward 3.5 years, it was becoming that time where we were at the stage in life to take the next step and get married. I always knew I wanted to propose to Sam, but I wanted to make it perfect and romantic…a moment that neither of us could ever forget. Once I found the perfect ring that matched the 100 photos Sam sent me of a similar ring, it was time to plan the big day. Sam was about to have two huge work trips & shows in NY and LA (New Years Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and the Golden Globe Awards), and would be working 12-16 hour days for over 21 days straight. I knew that once it was over, Sam was going to want a weekend to unwind & relax.

The morning of Saturday, January 14, 2017, was the first weekend after all the madness. I softly woke Sam up saying “Sammie, I have a day of surprises for you. I need you to wake up and be ready in 15 minutes.” Unbeknownst to her, I already had her bag packed and in the car. After throwing on clothes and going down to the car, I handed her a blindfold and told her to put it on. I was shocked that not only was she was able to get ready in 15 minutes, but she actually put the blindfold on without asking any questions or complaining! (I did have to reassure her that she’d be able to blow-dry her hair later, though.)

Our first stop was Burke Williams Day Spa. We spent nearly five hours relaxing in the spa, receiving massages, drinking mint water, laying in the “napping room” with cucumber slices on our eyes…and of course, I had to make sure Sam had her nails done with a fresh coat of polish (Sam almost always has her nails done, but she had to cancel her appointment earlier that week and I knew she’d kill me if I proposed without them being done!). After several hours of relaxation, I told Sam to shower at the spa & get ready for our next adventure, while I went down to our favourite restaurant to pick us up lunch. We sat on one of the spa’s balconies, which overlooked Santa Monica & we ate lunch, and Sam couldn’t stop thanking me, saying how happy & grateful she was for the surprise spa day (little did she know, the biggest surprise had yet to happen!). Once we were done, we went back in the car and I told Sam that she had to put the blindfold back on.

As I drove to the next location, the sun was just beginning to set (part of my very thought out plan). The next stop was the main event, where I was going to propose to Sam on the beach during our favourite time of the day—sunset. I didn’t know it at the time, but coincidentally, the beach I planned everything at was literally named “Perfect Beach!” Again, Sam had no idea, but both of our families and closest friends were already there waiting for us. They had set up the sign I made that said, “Marry Me” and put rose petals & rocks in the sand in the shape of a heart. I planned to give Sam a piggyback ride down to the beach so she wouldn’t feel the sand under her feet & know where we were. So, after a little convincing, she got on my back & I walked to the spot. Still blindfolded, I placed her in front of the sign so that she was facing the “marry me” with the sun setting behind the sign over the ocean. Little did she know, our whole family & closest friends were standing behind her in silence, and I loved that she had no idea what was about to happen.

Once I had the ring in my hand, I got down on one knee and told her to take off her blindfold. She took it off and immediately started repeating “OH MY GOD!” “OH, MY GOD!” I had a big speech prepared, but could not get a word out. With tears running down my face, I kept it short & sweet and said, “Sam, I love you so much! Will you marry me?” And she had the biggest smile on her face and said, “Of course I will!” Before I could even put the ring on her, she took my face in her hands and kissed me. As we stood up I put a thumbs up behind Sam’s back, and our families started screaming in happiness. Sam immediately spun around and screamed right back at them in complete shock (!!) and then proceeded to fall to her knees overwhelmed with emotion. Our families & friends ran towards us, all (happy) crying, kissing & hugging us. Halfway through our hugs, I realised I was still holding the ring in my hand, so I ran back over to Sam and put the ring on her finger!

Another fun surprise I had for Sam, was that her best friend photographed the entire thing. She was in on all the plans and was literally hiding in the bushes during the whole proposal, so she could get pictures of it all. She came out after Sam said yes, and we had a little photo session on the beach with each other, and our families & friends.

After watching the beautiful sunset that evening, we all went to a wine bar in Santa Monica to celebrate. We walked in and the whole room was decorated with “She said yes” signs, fun décor and photos of us all around. We toasted to the engagement, ate, drank and celebrated all together. And for the last surprise of the day, I booked a suite at one of our favourite hotels in Santa Monica (the Loews Hotel) so we could both really soak it all in & enjoy the weekend. We even had a bottle of champagne and roses waiting for us, next to the lit fire pit on the balcony of our room. It was perfect.

Sam is the balance to my life, my heart, my soul, my shoulder to cry on in sad times and happy times, and my complete support system. I would feel lost without her. I am beyond blessed to call her my fiancé and my future wife!

And as for a paragraph about wedding planning… it’s definitely been quite a rollercoaster so far–so much time & planning involved. And to be honest & fully transparent, it can be difficult to juggle all the decision-making, pressure, opinions, family input & budgeting (on top of our normal working lives!). But we feel that we’ve only grown stronger as a couple & we’re getting SO excited for the big day (September 22)! We’re 47 days away and can’t wait to celebrate our love with all of our friends & family, overlooking the beautiful beach in Malibu! 

Photography by Katie Edwards