Last night I stood at the end of a pier overlooking a South Carolina marsh and asked Sidney to marry me. Over 13 months from the last time we stood there on our first date, she looked into my eyes and said yes.
A proposal about a month and a half in the making, it felt so good to actually do it. Although I had it planned for several weeks, it wasn’t something elaborate or over the top. However, just because the deed didn’t contain a bunch of different elements didn’t mean I took it lightly.
Sidney and I had been moving in this direction for quite some time now. We had talked about marriage, looked at rings, and even discussed when the time would come. She had a feeling that I would probably ask her on my home turf in Spokane. I played along and hinted that it probably would occur during that time. However, in my heart I knew I didn’t want the pressure to be on her or myself once we were on vacation in Washington. The last thing I would want was for her to be in limbo for two weeks anticipating when the question might be popped. This thinking plus the stern direction from my mom that I must ask Sidney in her hometown with her parents around settled my plans.
After I received approval from Sidney’s mom and dad to marry her last week, I started planting the seeds for my proposal. On Friday I casually mentioned to Sidney that Coastal Carolina University was having a benefit night down at the Murrells Inlet MarshWalk on Tuesday. I told her that a select few restaurants would donate 10% of their proceeds to the Coastal general scholarship fund. I even pulled up a graphic on my phone that I had created advertising the fake event. I went on and on about how bad the timing was and how I didn’t really want to go but felt like we needed to attend to show support for Coastal. She agreed, not suspecting a thing.
Over the next couple days I scouted the MarshWalk area. On Monday I met with Lindsay, a Coastal student and photographer. We went over the specifics of my plan and what she would do to best capture it. Lindsay assured me that she would have someone on hand to help with crowd control so I could ask Sidney in relative peace while at the same time securing clear photo access for herself.
I started to get a little nervous driving home from work yesterday. I made it home, showered, retrieved the ring from my closet, and prepped myself. I was meeting Sidney at the restaurant because she was tending to her ailing grandmother who happened to live in the Murrells Inlet area. I actually preferred this arrangement because it gave Sidney less of an opportunity to see the big bulge in my pocket.
We had reservations at the Wicked Tuna for 7:30 p.m. I had told Lindsay and Sidney’s parents that we would probably finish no later than 8:15 p.m. For whatever reason, service was extremely slow last night and we didn’t receive our food until the time I told them we would be walking out. I discretely texted both parties to let them know that we were running late and Lindsay reminded me that the precious daylight was expiring. I started inhaling my burger while also encouraging Sidney to eat fast, using the excuse that I had a lot of packing and work to do at home.
The server came to check on us and I just gave her my card to swipe. I then gently asked Sidney if, for old time’s sake, we could walk down the MarshWalk pier to commemorate our first date. I told her I ate too fast and needed to walk off my discomfort. I signed the bill, excused myself “to go to the restroom,” and went and called Lindsay and Sidney’s mom to tell them it was go-time. I went back for Sidney and we walked down the stairs of the restaurant to the pier.
As the stroll started, emotion started to fill me. As we walked down the pier, conversation between Sidney and I centered on what a beautiful evening it was. I could sense Lindsay behind us taking photos, a reminder that this moment in my life was here. As we approached the end of the pier, I noticed people turning away and walking by us in the opposite direction, many of them staring at Sidney and I. At that point I immediately knew that the plan was in full effect, Lindsay had indeed recruited someone to get word out that the area needed to be cleared out for a proposal.
We reached the end of the pier. I muttered something about this being the place where it all began and I put our leftover box on a nearby bench. I pulled Sid close and we talked. I then got down on one knee and proposed to her. She said yes. Applause broke out among people hanging out behind the area that Lindsay’s dad had roped off once we reached our special spot. Sid kept it together better than I did.
We then walked back down the pier. Waiting for us was Sidney’s mom and dad. She hugged them and showed off her ring (I got hugs too). Lindsay then took photos of us. Sid’s parents left and then we called my parents. I also received calls from my brother and sister. We then went to one of the bar patios and had a drink. Lindsay had sent me some photos by this time and we posted them on social media. Watching the response was a lot of fun. After we finished our beers, we came back to my place and basked in the very special moment.
When I look back on it, I will never forget the reaction of Sidney. It was simply the happiest I had ever seen her in my life. She kept repeating “I love you so much” and “I am so happy” over and over again. The sound of her voice was absolutely beautiful and genuine, reaching an angelic level that even I had never heard before. The emotion had completely swept over me and it was the most special moment I had ever been a part of.
I want to thank everyone who reached out through calls, texts, and social media to congratulate us. It has been spectacularly overwhelming. Our goal is to marry in either May or June of 2016. In less than a year I will marry the girl of my dreams. I am so thankful that I was guided to make the move to Myrtle Beach where I would meet Sidney. God is so good. Don’t Blink.