I’m Engaged!

Posted by on Nov 3, 2009 in Blog, Engagements, Mine | 12 Comments

This past weekend I FINALLY proposed to my girlfriend of five and a half years. It was a long time coming and I’m so glad she stuck by me all these years. I wanted to really make my proposal special for her because of this.

Ever since I got into photography I’ve always planned on popping the question at a beautiful landscape location. Whenever Chau and I go somewhere I’m always going out at sunset to take photos so I knew I’d have a good excuse to get us out somewhere with a beautiful view.

Chau and I had been talking about going to Sausalito for a weekend for a while and I knew it had beautiful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate so I knew this would potentially be a good spot to do it. After much searching online I decided that Cavallo Point would be a good destination. I knew an old friend of mine was a chef at the restaurant there so I asked him for his opinion of the place. He confirmed what I had seen through pictures, and was even able to get me a sizable discount off a King Suite room with a view of the Golden Gate. I knew now that this would be the perfect destination.

The day before the big day I called the hotel and got in touch with the concierge to try and arrange a bottle of champagne to be placed in the room for when we arrived back after dinner. She then informed me of a rose pedal turndown service that she provides to the hotel. She apparently provided this service on an episode of the Bachelor that was in Sausalito. After reading the description I was sold, and even though it was more than what I was expecting I decided to get it. I mean how often do I get engaged (I hope only once!)? I decided a while ago that I didn’t care how much the day cost, it would all be worth it in the end. In preparation for the rose pedal turndown I had to write a card and put together a playlist the night before, which kept me up until 3am because it all had to be done after Chau left my apartment that night.

The morning of I woke up still very much tired as I was only able to catch a few hours because of my excitement. We started the day by heading to a favorite brunch spot of ours in San Francisco called Zazie’s. We had the gingerbread pancakes and dungeness crab eggs benedict. Both were delicious, especially the eggs benny.

After brunch we headed over to Cavallo Point. When we got to the hotel I immediately knew that I had chosen the right place. The area was relaxing and peaceful and the weather was perfect. As we drove past the water it was obvious to me that I wanted to be by the bridge to take my “sunset photos” later that evening.

After checking in we headed to our room which had a fabulous view of the Golden Gate. The plan with the concierge was for me to leave a bag with a letter for Chau and my ipod in the closet for her to stage the room with. I sneakingly hid the bag in the closet when I realized that I had forgotten my ipod in my car. I quickly came up with an excuse and told Chau that I saw an ipod player in the room and wanted to head back to the car to get mine. We then left for my car and I told Chau that I would just run back myself and put my ipod away while she stayed there and took pictures. She took this one as I scurried back to our room.

When I met back up with Chau we decided to walk around by the bridge to scout for an area to take my sunset pictures. We walked around and I found a nice spot near the bridge that I knew would be perfect. It was secluded enough that I could comfortably setup all my camera gear but a short enough walk from our hotel that it wouldn’t be a pain walking back in the dark. Here is a picture of the spot.

After our short walk we headed back to have a couple drinks at the bar at our hotel. I quickly downed three beers to help calm my nerves and waited intently for the clock to reach 5:30. We decided to take our last couple drinks outside to a grouping a chairs around a fire pit that hadn’t been lit yet.

We talked more as I tried to hold in my excitement. As Chau was in the restroom I snapped this picture of where I was hiding the ring.

When the shadows started to get long we headed out by the water and eventually made our way to the spot I had scouted out earlier. I waited for the light to come down a bit when I decided it was time to take “couple pictures”. We had never done this before so I made the excuse that I wanted to get some pictures of just the two of us, since Chau has always complained that we don’t have enough pictures of just us. I set my camera up on my tripod and placed my flash to camera left and took a few shots to get my exposure right. This was one of those shots.

There was a family enjoying the view right next to us at this time. I wanted to wait until they left but the pictures were looking good and it was getting hard to keep my excitement in. I just wanted to get it over with! So I went over to my camera backpack and made it look as if I was fumbling for something. When Chau wasn’t looking I grabbed the ring quickly and put it in my pocket and prepared for the big moment. I set my camera on a ten second timer and went over to stand next to her. I then knelt on one knee, showed her the ring, and asked if she’d be my wife.

Chau got so excited she moved from her spot and completely blocked my flash! At first she just stared intensely at the ring and didn’t say a word. The first thing out of her mouth was “really!?!” and she grabbed the ring and put it on. I then asked if that meant yes to which she replied “of course!” The family next to us witnessed the entire spectacle and congratulated us. We then took more pictures while we were both on cloud nine, as this one shows.

As twilight was coming to an end I was finally able to take my sunset pictures to document the area. This was the view we had to the southeast. The family that was next to us was playing on the rocks at the bottom of the frame.

And this was the view from the proposal spot at the peak of twilight.

As darkness came we walked back to the bar to get a couple celebratory drinks as we waited for dinner. We had about half an hour to kill before our reservation at Murray Circle. Chau wanted me to ask the hostess if we could be seated early but I didn’t want to run the risk of ending dinner before our room was prepared so I stalled and said that we should just relax and finish our drinks.

When we were seated we were given complimentary glasses of champagne courtesy of the kitchen (thanks Paul!). This was a big day so I decided to go for their biggest and most expensive meal. We both got the grand tasting menu which consisted of eight courses. We also got wine pairings for each plate as well. The food was absolutely delicious as every dish was amazing. And Paul again came through with an extra course for us which brought the total courses to nine and the total glasses of wine/champagne to ten. Needless to say we were COMPLETELY stuffed and buzzed by the end of the meal. After our fabulous meal the waitress took us back into the kitchen where Paul gave us a short tour. We thanked him for everything he did for us and then headed to our room.

At this point I couldn’t wait to bring Chau back to our room to surprise her for the second time that day. I opened the door to our room and the first thing we saw was a coffee table full of roses, chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of champagne, and our pictures placed throughout the room.

The playlist I had put together the night before was also playing in the background and as luck would have it the song that I had been listening to all week was playing on my list of fourteen songs. The lyrics were perfect for the occasion, they can be found here. It was a perfect scene. We walked around the suite and found a hot rose pedal bubble bath drawn for us. Our bed was also completely laced with rose pedals and pictures of us placed nearby.

Chau was left speechless until she muttered the words “its perfect.” She said how she would have never expected this from me and I agreed. It was the end to a truly great day.

After staying up till 4am we woke up the next morning and planned to head to download Sausalito for brunch.

We had brunch, walked around beautiful downtown Sausaltio some, and then headed back home. The end of the best weekend of our lives, a day we’ll never forget.

More photos from our special day can be found here.

  • Pingback: Wedding: Chau and Ross « Chotography()

  • Ross Stovall

    >thanks sol! im very excited to meet you guys!

  • Sol Tamargo

    >Ross, you had me smiling and tearing.. perfect perfect proposal!! and I'm so impress you were able to take photos yourself! I mean being all excited and nervous!!!! How Cool! and amazing proposal day.. :) Congratulation from Matt and Sol

  • Ross Stovall

    >thanks a bunch matt! very much looking forward to seeing your work in action =]!

  • Matt Adcock

    >Kewl story amigo!!! Her ring is very similar to Sol's :) Congrats!

  • Ross Stovall

    >thanks ed! im a big fan of your work!

  • ed pingol

    >not sure how I got here… but a HUGE CONGRATS!!! =)


  • kathleen

    >very VERY cute. excellent job! and with pictures to boot ; )

  • Anonymous

    >congratulations to you both…i sa your testamonial on your ring so thought id have a look at your blog!!
    absolutely amazing…i was bawling my eyes out in the UK as i as reading it!!
    everything seems so perfect and wonderful for you both.
    congratulations again

  • Anonymous


    Major Congrats!!!
    You guys look like a great couple and that ring is gorgeous!!..;-)

    Don't mind if I use some of your pics. for our ads..couple is beautiful and so is the ring!!!!!

    Best Regards,

    Judah Gutwein

  • Quick

    >Congratulations to you both!!!!! This is absolutely romantic!!! We couldn't be more happy for you.

  • cz

    >Congratulations!!! Ah – you made me tear with your photos and blog! Really GREAT job. So happy for you both!