After dating my fiance, Mark, for nearly four years, I was expecting there would be an engagement ring at some point. I just had no idea to what lengths he would go to make getting it one of the best days of my life.
It all started on my birthday last April. Now you have to understand that Mark is romantic by nature, sending me flowers at work, giving me gifts for no reason at all and so forth, so when my birthday rolled around I held my breath in anticipation of what he had planned.
That day he brought out a hand-made 3-D display outlining a Mexican Rivera Cruise that we would be taking the following November. I was shocked and so excited to be going on a cruise. But one of the best parts was that prior to setting sail on the cruise, he had made arrangements for us to visit Los Angeles, California for two days. Going to California, especially Hollywood, has been my dream since I was a little girl.
After much anticipation the time for our trip was finally here. We landed in LA on a sunny day and made our way to Seal Beach in Long Beach, Ca., where he rented us a suite in a nice hotel. We were about five minutes’ walking distance from Seal Beach.
After a good night’s sleep, I woke to a bath being drawn. He had filled it with bubbles and had sprinkled the water with rose petals. He told me he was doing this because this was supposed to be my birthday celebration.
I got out of the bath to the scent of hot coffee, bagels and muffins, which he had delivered to our room. There was also a new outfit laid out for me on the bed. He had truly gone above and beyond for my “birthday” celebration in California.
After breakfast we headed up the Pacific Coast Highway toward Huntington Beach, which I fell immediately in love with. There were surfers, a huge boardwalk with a restaurant at the end, several volleyball courts on the sand, people flying kites and others roller blading™ on a path right on the beach. It looked just like California does in the movies: all sunny, with palm trees and sand that stretches for miles. I was in my glory.
After some shopping and lunch we headed back to our hotel for a sunset walk on Seal Beach.
Mark parked quite a way from the boardwalk because several streets to the beach were for pedestrians only.
With the boardwalk looming in the distance, we headed down the sandy beach, listening to the waves as they crashed against the shore. I thought to myself, it can’t get any better than this.
As we got closer to the boardwalk, I saw children sledding down sand that was piled up and thought, who needs winter? You can even sled in sunny LA!
As we walked hand in hand, I noticed several people looking down from the boardwalk and saw a beautiful, 12-foot tall sand castle, which was built near a table on the beach. The table was decorated with a fancy tablecloth, champagne flutes, chocolate covered strawberries and more.
I looked from the table to the sand castle to the crowd on the boardwalk and told Mark, who had now stopped walking, that we needed to move because I thought the crowd was waiting for a bride and groom and we were going to be in the way.
Then he turned to me and said, “Well, there is something I have to tell you.” And it was at that pint that I knew: all of this was for me.
He took my hand and led me to the front of the castle where, written into the sand, were the words, “Patti, will you marry me? Mark.” I grabbed him in a tight hug and he said, “Will you?” I said “YES!”
He walked to the sand castle and took a ring box (which he had made on a lathe out of wood) from the castle, took the ring out and put it on my finger.
The dozen or so strangers watching from the board walk started asking “Well, what did you say?” and I yelled, “YES!!” so they all could hear. And they cheered and clapped. It was so amazing.
After we quit hugging and kissing, we walked around the sand castle, and Mark showed me two paths that led to the castle. He said one was mine and one was his and they met in the middle - which led to this day. On the side of the castle were sand hearts one with the words, “dreams do come true” and the number 143, which means I love you (the word “I” has one letter, the word “love” has four and the word “you” has three).
After a tour around the beautiful castle, I met the people who built it. Mark had hired the sand castle building champions, Archisand members.cox.net/archisand to build it. And he had hired an event coordinator to help with the fancy table and the gifts he gave me.
I found out the reason we stayed near Seal Beach was because the sand castle builders said that beach has the best sand for castle building.
Finally we sat at the table, drank champagne, ate strawberries and watched the sun set on the best day of our lives. The next day we left for our Mexican Rivera Cruise.
Mark and Patti will be cruising to St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands where they will be married in a beach-side ceremony in November, 2010.