Every once in awhile we receive a story that truly blows us away. We were already hooked when photographer, Lynn Lewis, sent us a peek at these photos from a surprise proposal she captured in Big Sur. But then she sent us the story behind it all told by the groom-to-be, Brian, and we couldn’t wait to share!! We won’t spoil it, but here’s the set up: Each year for the last 7 years, Brian + Candice return to their secret hideaway spot to celebrate where they fell in love with a picnic atop the coastal bluffs. Only this year, he had an extra special surprise for her.
From Lynn: I arrived to the unmarked turnout with GPS coordinates from Brian and wondered if the only other car parked (with an adorable dog inside) could be theirs. There was no cell service, so I walked down the path to find that it diverged – and what seemed to be the main path was blocked by some tangled brush. On a closer look, I noticed an arrow drawn in the dirt, pointing to the right. So I ventured onward, following the arrow until I stumbled upon a very narrow downhill path. And there, just beyond it, silhouettes of two lovers picnicking near the cliff.
We’re going to let Brian tell the story from here…take it away, Brian!
He Knew From the Start
I met Candice in geometry class when we were 16 years old. From the moment I met her, I knew I wanted to be with her forever. The last two years of high school flew by and we were just about inseparable. Candice was my dream girl, but I could never tell her because she was also my best friend. When we graduated high school she moved to LA to pursue her dream of being an actress and I moved to Monterey to attend the University. Even though we lived 6 hours away, we kept in contact everyday. As soon as I had a break from school, Candice was the first person I wanted to see.
A Monumental Kiss
I remember the day I was finally able to see her as if it were yesterday. The 6-hour drive felt like days. I knew I had to do something to let her know I liked her more than just a friend, so when my break was almost over, we took a trip to Santa Monica. As dusk approached, I asked if she wanted to go on the ferris wheel. Of course, she said yes! As we approached the very top I was getting more and more nervous. We finally stopped at the highest point and I didn’t know what to do or say. My only thought was to kiss her…so thats what I did! Thankfully she kissed me back and the rest is history.
The Tradition Began
Candice drove to Monterey every other weekend and I went to LA any chance I could. When the first year of college came to an end, I couldn’t live another year without her. So, I moved to LA, where we started our life together. Every year for the last 6 years we’ve traveled to Monterey and Big Sur to celebrate our anniversary in the place that brought us together. And for our 7-year anniversary, I wanted to make it extra special.
Plans in Place
I worked diligently for 6 months, designing her custom engagement ring with a vintage diamond and securing the perfect photographer, Lynn Lewis, to capture the moment at our spot on the cliffside. Those 6 months were some of the most stressful of my life! I’d never made so many plans and reservations, all the while keeping it a secret from Candice. (I had many many sleepless nights.) Finally, January 15th arrived. The day of our anniversary.
Lost + Undetected
We set out in the afternoon to picnic at our special spot in Big Sur. I’d sent Lynn the coordinates to find us, not realizing we were approaching a dead zone. As Candice + I drove down the coast we thought we’d found the place, but it was just a similar turnout. We continued our search for about 30 minutes before we found it. However, when we approached the foot of the trail I noticed there were multiple trails I hadn’t recalled, nor told Lynn about! At this point I’m freaking out inside, trying my best to keep it together.
We finally found THE spot and set everything up. Of course it was the least marked, most treacherous trail of them all. I took a big swig of champagne and wondered how, between no cell service and multiple trails, Lynn would ever find us. Luckily, I came up with a plan. Our chihuahua, Jellybean, was back in the car, so I insisted on checking on him. I power jogged back up the cliffside, just 30 minutes before the Lynn’s arrival. Back at the car I found a receipt and begin to write directions, in hopes that Lynn would find them. I also left arrows in the dirt, pointing to the correct trail and attempting to block off the more obvious ones with sticks and debris.
Lynn showed up right on queue and although my description of a “short hike” was off, she spotted us and climbed down the mountain. It was finally time to do what I’d been waiting for not only the last 6 months, but the last 6 years. I looked at Candice and said, “I love you more than the universe,” got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. Candice cried for about 2 minutes before she said yes, and Lynn was able to capture every beautiful second.
For all the gents taking notes, here’s your “Romantic Cliffside Picnic + Surprise Proposal” starter kit:
Wasn’t that just the best?! And the dreamiest photos to go with the sweetest story. All our congrats to the happy couple!
photography: Lynn Lewis Photography and Design