The Day We Got Engaged in Mount Rainier National Park

It has been 365 days since we got engaged.

August 23rd, 2017.

It was the most special day.

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I knew Jillian was the one early on in our relationship. Even when we were faced with the many struggles and imperfections that come with being in a long distance relationship, I was sure all along.

An actual decision was made a year ago and I immediately told my closest friend and my parents. When I finally got the ring, I showed it to her best friend and asked her if Jill would like my choice. After an enthusiastic response, I then secretly flew to California to talk to Jillian's parents about this decision. I knew how much more meaningful it would be if I met them in person; Jillian values her family more than anything. So over dinner and a bottle of wine, her parents also enthusiastically said yes to me and my decision. Elated, I went back to Washington just when Jillian was flying in to go on a trip with me to see the total solar eclipse.

The following day with us both up in Washington, we packed our things and drove down to eastern Oregon with my friend, Andy. We were there to witness the total solar eclipse and Oregon was on the path of totality. On the day of the total solar eclipse, I debated whether or not to propose to Jillian then. I didn't. I wanted her to fully see the eclipse and appreciate it for what it is - the most amazing natural phenomena we have ever seen.

The next day, we went to Portland to explore the city a bit. We went to her dream bookstore, Powell's, and had beer at Deschutes Brewery. The next day, the day she was set to fly back home, we decided to stop by one of our favorite places, Mount Rainier National Park, a place that is so special to us. Mount Rainier is easily our favorite mountain and we fell in love with the park when we visited together a few years ago. We have always wanted to come back and explore, so she was up to do that hours before her flight. 

I drove to Tipsoo Lake, parked the car, and got all my camera equipment. This was normal of course. As a landscape photographer, I always have my gear with me so Jillian never thought this was strange. In fact she might have thought it strange if I didn't bring all my stuff. 

We then walked on this little trail towards a point where you can see Tipsoo Lake. We stopped there at this very spot. I put down all the gear and set one camera for a time lapse and one for photos. Again, I do this anytime we go somewhere beautiful so this wasn't a weird thing to do at all. Finally, I asked her to pose in front of the cameras for a bit with Rainier in the background. She walked in front of the camera and I walked there too, telling her we should take a picture. Again, we did this all the time so she didn't even raise an eyebrow.

Finally I turned around and held her hands and went on one knee. I guess you can say that the rest was history. 

You're Engaged - Now What!

Congratulations! You both are committing to the most wonderful kind of partnership, vowing to each other for the rest of your days. The day we got engaged was one of the happiest days ever. It was overwhelmingly joyous and we were filled with awe and inexplicable excitement! 


The first thing we did was tell our parents, our siblings, and our bestest friends. We were up in Mt Rainier National Park where service was hard to come by so we hoped they would all get our group texts with a photo of the ring and Mt Rainier in the background. Their ecstatic responses touched our hearts and will be unforgettable to us. 

The first advice we have for you is to enjoy this time together. Embrace each other, think about the journey you both took to get you to this point. Nobody knows your story more than you two and you should take the time to rejoice in this new chapter in your lives.

Next, celebrate with your loved ones! Often relationships are built and strengthened by the people around you. Toast, reminisce, and look forward together. 

Once things settle a bit and you took all the time to relish in this life-changing decision, you can start thinking about the next step: how you're going to get married. Whether you are eloping or having a wedding, here are some things to think about.



Once you get into the rhythm of wedding planning, it is easy to lose sight of why you are having a wedding in the first place: each other. Always take planning one step at a time and remember that though linen colors and centerpieces are adorable and fun to think about, all that matters is you both getting married at the end of the day. 

2. Set a date and start a guest list. 

Arguably, this is the most important way to start in terms of wedding planning. Without your date and rough guest count, it will be near-impossible to book your venue. Your venue will greatly depend on when it will take place and how many guests they can accommodate. This will also greatly impact the next step to think about - budget. 

3. Set a budget. 

Our biggest tip is to only plan the wedding you and your partner can afford and/or are willing to pay for. It's easy to get carried away with all the little details of a wedding but it's important to stick to the budget you set. This ensures that you will not be in debt after your wedding - not a good start to your marriage! If there are others offering to generously gift a certain amount, consider that as well. 

4. SAVE NOW and use some of your living expenses for the little things.

Have a solid savings account accounted for your wedding. Then, to make things easier, use some of your living finances to supplement. What we mean by this is to buy little things here and there so that you're not just pulling from your savings every time. Some of the things you can buy little by little are bridesmaids gifts, thrifted vases, stamps from a post office run... in the grand scheme of things, while you're still spending money, it won't feel like such a huge chunk of expenses coming out of your hard-earned savings. 


5. Planning timelines and checklist. 

This will vary per couple, but once you have the date, guest list count, and venue booked, it's good to stay organized by checking off items one-by-one. To stay calm, we'd suggest coming up with a top three priority list. This prioritizes specific vendors and leaves the others for later which will leave you with less stress. We found online resources like A Practical Wedding to be very helpful. They have free spreadsheets that you can download and they cater towards all types of brides from a variety of budgets! Another tool are physical planners. Erin Condren is always a solid choice for planners, but there are many etsy shops that offer beautiful (and affordable) printable planners! 

6. Focus on one wedding vendor at a time. 

Caterers, photographers, officiants, videographers, djs/bands... the list goes on and it can be very overwhelming if you are trying to book all of them at once. We suggest focusing on your top lists first. If you prioritize photography, focus on getting them first. Then, check of your list one by one. 

7. Try to keep calm, stay organized, and enjoy every moment! 

We highly advise you to enjoy every moment. Being engaged can be fun and overwhelming, but it only comes by once. Keep organized, be resourceful, and get creative. Enjoy every moment. I know we are.