The story of our engagement

I’m back in Bakersfield right now, after the very best weekend away in Santa Barbara, feeling so full of life and Love. Yesterday was the most incredible day of my life.

I asked Deanna, my amazing girlfriend of two years, to marry me and she said yes.

We’re gonna get married!

Being able to say that at any time, in any place, would be wonderful. Boinut the way the proposal happened yesterday was the culmination of months of planning and lots of Love and help from friends and family which resulted in a golden moment that I’ll take with me for the rest of my life.

Here’s the story–

I asked Deanna to be my girlfriend on our first date after three years of friendship. That evening, we went to three places in Santa Barbara, a French restaurant, the Santa Barbara Mission, and the Goleta Pier, and it was there, at the end of the night, that I asked her to be my girlfriend. That kicked off two years of growing and learning a lot about each other, Loving each other more and more, and going on countless adventures. This spring, it became apparent that we were ready to dive in fully.

Back in June, I took her parents out to dinner to ask for their blessing and permission. Once that was set, the wheels were in motion.

Deanna absolutely loves the people in her life, and I couldn’t think of any other way that she’d rather celebrate the moment than sharing it with all those who mean something. It would especially mean a lot to gather people from so many different circles of our life.

I sent out a bunch of emails and secret messages, and in the end, I was able to get the vast majority of our close friends and family members to lock down the date of August 17 with plans to be in Santa Barbara.

When we went to Santa Barbara this weekend, I knew she would be suspicious… we had already gone to Glacier National Park earlier in the month with her suspecting me the entire time of being ready to spring the proposal. I knew I had to do something to at least erode some of that suspicion for the day of, so that Saturday, we went on a little date.

We went to the French restaurant we went to for our first date.

We went to the Santa Barbara Mission.

And then I kissed her good night.

And as I had hoped, I got her thinking, that would’ve been such a perfect way to propose… why didn’t it happen? I guess it’s happening somewhere else.

So that Sunday morning, we went to Hope Community Church as we usually do, and I delayed our leaving by striking up conversations with friends.

And while that was happening, our friends, parents, old roommates, cousins, siblings, nephews, Santa Barbara friends, Bakersfield friends, and all were out on the pier setting up a grand experience.

After church, I asked Deanna if she was hungry, and she said “kind of.”

I told her that Bryce had told me about a new Norwegian-French-American restaurant right by the Goleta Pier.

“I don’t think there’s a restaurant there,” she countered.

“It’s new.”

We parked by the beach and walked towards the pier, and we saw Evan, her cousin, who greeted us as a waiter and walked us down the pier, up to a table set for two.

Our friends Arumi, April, and Ben acted as waiters and waitresses. My cousin Ivy and her boyfriend J.B. had the set the table and hid a GoPro in the centerpiece. Our friends Haley and Annie had baked desserts. Deanna’s parents had picked up our meal from a local bakery. My cousin Alex and friends Aubrey and Bryce were incognito, snapping photos and recording video.

And as we finished our meal, our friends Gabe and Bre came out with a guitar.

They sung Johnnyswim’s Paris in June as a duet, a song that is very special to us.

Then they did So Good, a song that Gabe wrote, and it couldn’t have been a better song. It’s lyrics were beautiful, and the finish to the song was absolutely magical.

I saw Deanna’s eyes light up, and I turned around to see why. Slowly, in sync with the music, were our parents, her sister and brother-in-law and nephews, and my aunts, along with a few friends.

I took out a jar full of “happy thoughts,” a gift Deanna gave me before I went on tour with LiNK, and from it I pulled out the diamond ring.

And I told Deanna that the past two years had been an incredible adventure.

And that I didn’t want to settle down, because settling down wouldn’t be the right word for what I wanted to do. I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her, to take on the challenge of building a strong family, and to grow and learn how to Love the way God does through that process. I told her that this would be the biggest adventure.

I told her I felt at home with her, fully myself with her, and that I liked the parts of me she helps bring out. I simply like being with her and I Love her.

And then I asked if I could spend the rest of my life with her, and if she would marry me.

And she said yes.

And then we were hit with waves of friends and family members rushing down the pier to give us hugs and share the moment with us. And the in-between of the time we first walked up to the pier and saw Evan standing there and that instant was full of golden moments. Sights, feelings, and snippets of talk I will remember for the rest of my life.

I’ll always remember…

Deanna’s dad being one of the first to rush up to me and give me a strong hug.

Hugging my mom right after the event.

Talking with Ben, the waiter, in a horrible accent.

Ben taking the centerpiece off our table and putting it back on without explanation, mid meal, because the GoPro wasn’t on.

Ben pouring us a cough syrup shot sized portion of wine.

Seeing the incognito outfit Alex chose to wear to photograph the event.

Auntie Ella coming up in between me and Deanna, putting an arm on each of us, and saying “we did it!”

Deanna spotting her Aunt Sue off the side of the pier as Evan was walking us up, and Aunt Sue divebombing into the sand to try and stay hidden.

Ariel and Daniel conceding the battle for my affections to Deanna.

Evan ending our meal abruptly because we ate too slowly

The text from Meaghan telling me that they were ready for me to come to the pier, saying “Enjoy your moment.”

Simon excitedly trying to tell us about a bird just before I was about to propose.

Luke yelling “That! That! That!” during Gabe’s song.

The look on Deanna’s face when she saw her family approaching.

And of course, the moment she said yes.

The moment was absolutely precious, and as precious as it was, I’m really excited about the future, and the fact that I get to spend it with Deanna soon-to-be-Lazaro.


Philippe Lazaro2014