Once Upon A Cline: I’m Engaged!!!

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Wow, that still feels so crazy to type…I’m engaged!  As any of you who follow me on social media know, Chris proposed a few weeks ago (November 27th to be exact).  I have been blissfully letting every single emotion set in before sitting down to write this post.  Chris and I talked about how much of our engagement and forthcoming wedding I should share in such a public way.  While I have always been comfortable putting myself out there Chris has never asked for the attention and I wanted to be sure he wanted such a personal time in our lives shared.  He was as supportive as he always is and felt that I should share this as I share other elements of my life.  I knew he was a keeper 😉

Okay, so how did it all happen?

I had a photo shoot planned on November 27th with my favorite photographer (Dre Naylor) who now lives in the Bay Area.  She comes to town every year before the Holidays so I booked this session back in July or August.  Chris had casually suggested that I shoot at The Kimpton Rowan in one of the suites which I thought was such a fun idea.  A week before my shoot we were out strolling around Palm Springs when I saw this gorgeous blue dress.  I tried it on (knowing it was way over my budget and I didn’t NEED it) for fun and we both loved everything about it.  I handed it back to the sales associate and we went on with our day.  Fast forward to the Sunday before my shoot.  I was pulling together looks and realized everything I was shooting was black.  Chris asked me if I owned something colorful if I would wear it and I of course said yes.

The next day I came home from work to find the gorgeous blue dress hanging in my closet with all my other photo shoot outfits.  I of course assumed he had purchased it for Christmas and gave it to me early…I was on to NOTHING!  I woke up the day of my shoot (November 27th) and had arranged for a mani/pedi and to have my makeup done.  Chris texted me and asked if we could please take a photo together at the end of my shoot in the blue dress.  I had already mapped out my looks and planned what to shoot when and where so I told him I would figure out a time…again, on to nothing.  My photographer showed up to shoot at our house and asked to see what I was planning on shooting, asked about location, ideas, etc.  While she shot some things at our house I got my things in order and we made our way to the Kimpton Rowan to shoot my outfit content.

Chris arranged for us to use the Presidential Suite and we got right down to business testing light, laying out looks, and enjoying the day.  Dre (my photographer) suggested I shoot the blue dress last and I agreed since she knows all about lighting.  We finished up all the looks and I was about to change into the infamous dress so I gave Chris a heads up.  We took a few photos together and then I moved into some ideas I had about shooting with champagne to use for my birthday.  Ironically there was a bottle of champagne on ice and 2 glasses in the room that, after years in the hospitality industry, I thought nothing about.  Dre moved me to a different area of the suite and we shot a few more images.  I was having so much fun and felt beautiful in my dress and Chris was just watching me.  He finally looked at Dre and asked “does that camera have video?” My lame response was “what are we going to film???”

As Dre began filming Chris grabbed both of my hands and my heart immediately began to race.  He started talking and I honestly don’t remember exactly what he said but I remember thinking he was about to tell me he got an incredible offer to move for work…ha!  At some point it all clicked and I realized what I thought was about to happen.  I squeezed his poor hands so hard and my heart was beating sooooo fast.  I was almost afraid to get excited in case it wasn’t what he was about to tell me…the emotion you go through in that moment is unreal!  After what seemed like a lifetime Chris pulled a box out of his pocket and opened it to show me a beautiful diamond ring.  I looked at it for .0005 seconds before I realized he was down on one knee.  I was shaking and sobbing and dropped to my knees to hug him.  I pulled it together and realized I had not said yes…oops…and finally said yes.  We got up and he was still holding the ring which I hadn’t even taken yet…he had to remind me!  The ring was (is) STUNNING but was soooo tiny that it only fit half way on my finger…more on that in a moment.  We celebrated with champagne that he had on ice (sneaky sneaky) and Dre took a ton of photos.

Now, a little back story… Chris shared the journey with me as we sipped champagne and took in the beautiful Palm Springs view.  Back in August he pulled my grandpa and my uncle aside to ask for permission and share his intent.  He knew it would happen sometime before the end of the year but wasn’t sure when.  Once he knew about my shoot he thought it could be a perfect time since he knew that when the day came I wanted him to be sure my nails were not chipped, I looked beautiful, and that we got the whole thing on video.  He snuck a call to my photographer while I was at work one day and looped her into the tentative plan.  He began working with a local antique and estate store (Antique Galleries) to find a vintage ring but was not having a ton of success.  The owner finally put him in touch with a estate jewelry dealer out of Orange County who began sending options his way.  According to Chris none of them were quite right until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving when we was sent an image of what is now my ring.  After looking at images and showing it to his best friend he asked the dealer to have it sent to Palm Springs.  The challenge became it was the day before Thanksgiving and the ring had to be shipped.  He got a call at 10:30am on Tuesday November 27th (the day we got engaged) that the ring arrived.  He snuck out (and even turned his Find My Friends feature off for 30 minutes) and went to see the ring knowing that if it wasn’t right that it was okay.  I would still have a great time at my shoot and would have no idea this was even in the works.  The ring was obviously perfect and he made the purchase less than 4 hours before he proposed which is why it didn’t fit.

To say I was surprised would be an understatement.  Obviously we have been together for quite some time and I knew it would happen some day but I really didn’t think that day was happening in 2018!  The amount of love, thought, and time he put into the plan and picking out the perfect ring is just a teeney, tiny piece of what I love most about him and why I said YES!

The first question we get asked is if we have set a date.  We have not.  I have always known that a long engagement is what I wanted plus we want to take time saving for the day we both want to enjoy.  Our plan is sometime in late 2020 or 2021 but I will be documenting this journey both here and on my Instagram so that I always have a spot to look back and remember this magical time.

Thank you to all of you for your kind words and support as we shared this news on Instagram!

XO, Niki

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