I always love hearing all of the crazy, beautiful, wonderful proposal stories that my friends and Beautini brides pass along. It seems like proposals have gotten more and more elaborate… grander declarations of love that showcase the personality of the couple, and I couldn’t love that more. In the interest of sharing these stories with my lovely readers, I’ve decided to host a five part series, featuring some of the most beautiful proposal stories that I have heard.
I learned about my first feature through my blog manager, Abby. Her friend and ex-coworker, Hailey and her now-husband, Chris, got married this past September. Their wedding AND engagement were absolutely picture perfect, and Hailey was kind enough to share the story behind how she and Chris met, and Chris’ beautiful proposal!
HAILEY + CHRIS
Your name and your hubby’s name:
Hailey Landers (formerly Colburn) and Chris Landers
City where you guys live:
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Quebec City, Canada
How long had you been together when the proposal happened?
We had been dating for about 2.5 years before the proposal
How did you guys meet?
Chris grew up in MA and I grew up in NH. Chris actually went to boarding school (for high school) in Andover, New Hampshire at Proctor Academy – and their ski mountain, Blackwater, was where my high school team trained for ski racing. It’s funny looking back now, thinking we must have overlapped even if it was for a hot cocoa in the lodge.We both went to Wheaton College, in Norton, MA. Chris is a year older than me – he graduated college in 2011 and I graduated in 2012.
We both played lacrosse at Wheaton and naturally had the same group of friends, since the school is really small and athletes tend to stick together. I met him one of my first days at school and he had been dating the goalie on my team, and I actually ended up dating Chris’s best friend and teammate on/off through college as well. When Chris graduated, he and my now ex-boyfriend moved to England for 1 year to coach lacrosse.
When Chris and my current boyfriend got back, we all ended up moving to Boston that summer, and we started all spending a lot of time together on the weekends. My current boyfriend and I broke up and he moved back to Ohio, where he was from. Chris and I, already being in the same friend group in Boston, continued to hang out. There was one night a few months later that we were all out at a really fun small reggae bar in Boston – and that was the night Chris and I ended up really hitting it off – on more of a romantic level. Now when we talk about the progression of how our relationship came to be, we always say “I was always in love with you” – he always tells me that he would compare every girl to me.
Through college, we realized we had so many things in common (skiing, hiking, traveling). Although it might sound cheesy, we really believe it was completely meant to be. I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. The fact that we were such good friends for 5 years as well, before we started dating, I think really makes our relationship unique. When we started dating, we moved in together about 6 months later.
Our entire wedding ceremony was really based around our “adventure” and how the basis of our friendship really allowed us to grow into having such a strong bond + marriage! When we first started dating, we traveled a lot and did a bunch of trips (to this day we’ve done trips to Seattle, Utah, Colorado, Jamaica, Peru, Spain, Canary Islands, England, France, Austria, Switzerland, New York, BVI’s, St. Barths, St. Lucia…the list goes on). We really fell in love when we started to travel. I truly believe traveling with someone can reveal a lot!
Ever since we started dating, Chris couldn’t believe that I had never crossed the border into Canada. I’ve traveled a lot in my life, yet the Canadian Border is about 3 hours from where I grew up – and I had never crossed it! Finally, in the summer of 2015, we booked a weekend trip up to Quebec City for October 2-4, 2015. He planned the entire weekend – which was rare (I’m a travel agent, so I love planning the trips). We drove from Boston and got up there late on October 2nd. We arrived at our hotel – the Auberge Saint-Antoine, and when we checked in, the concierge told us we had been upgraded – which I swear NEVER happens to me. We were led to an almost hidden door that just said 007 on it. One of our first dates was to the new James Bond movie in 2015, so this was all just getting weird… We literally got upgraded to the “007” suite – which had it’s own 2 private entrances and the suite itself was incredible – certainly nothing we could afford at the time. I was starting to get suspicious – but the funny thing is, to this day, Chris swears he didn’t upgrade us or tell them that we were getting engaged (his parents who knew this was going down also swear they didn’t request the upgrade either)!
We had a lovely dinner and went to bed. We woke up on Saturday, October 3rd and Chris had insisted he had the day planned (it was FREEZING by the way – and Chris was thankful for this, so he could wear his Barbour Jacket which has tons of pockets to hide the ring). We started off in a cute little café to start our day. From there, we did some site seeing and stopped for lunch pretty early at the Chic Shack – to get their famous poutine (ha!), which was on my list. We had a couple of beers with the poutine and then set off for more walking.
It was probably around 1pm at this point and Chris said he wanted to take me somewhere special – we walked about a mile and showed up at J.A. Moisan, the oldest grocery store in North America. I swear we spent 30 minutes in there. It was the coolest and cutest grocery store I have ever seen – Chris remembered coming here as a little kid and that’s why he wanted to show me. We got a fresh loaf of bread, some cheese and a few beers. Chris suggested that we walk around a bit more and then go to one of the parks overlooking the city for a late afternoon picnic. I remember we realized in the store we didn’t have a knife and Chris paid for a pocket knife – just to make sure we could spread and cut the cheese (of course post-engagement, I understood why this was important). He has never taken this knife out of the jacket he was wearing to this day!
After visiting the market (this is Chris’s favorite part of the story – and came up in our wedding ceremony), he took me to the Citadelle which is the famous fort in Quebec. Chris is a history major, so I didn’t put up too much of a fight and wanted to check it out too. They happened to have some type of festival that day and it was free entry and they had tons of military vehicles and helicopters around for people to get in and take pictures with. Then there was a tank….there was this huge line of kids and parents lining up to ride around in the tank. Yes, you guessed it – Chris made me ride in the damn tank! Again – his favorite part of the story. I got to sit up with the driver on top of the tank – I had to wear the helmet and all – it was hilarious and looking back knowing this was approx. 45 minutes before he proposed, makes me literally LOL all the time.
So after the tank detour, we walked into the massive nearby park – the “Plains of Abraham”. We found a private spot – laid down a blanket and had a picnic overlooking Quebec City. Chris was acting really weird at this point and at the time, I couldn’t figure out why! He was being really quiet and I was cold, so it was a lot of silence. We probably sat there eating and drinking our beers for about 30 minutes before I said I was really cold and thought we should head back to the hotel – the sun was going down as well. He didn’t argue with me but said “before we go, let’s take one picture – we haven’t gotten a picture of us yet.” He took out his GoPro, which is normal for him to bring around (we GoPro everything) – he then grabbed his “empty” beer can and placed it up on the hill. At the time, I was thinking – what the hell, why is he going through all of this trouble to get a photo – usually he just reaches out his arm and takes the pic. He says to this day that is the 1 beer he never finished (Chris drinks a lot of beer – and his family is in the beer industry). He purposefully left beer in his can to make sure the GoPro could balance on the can without tipping it over for the photo!
To be completely honest, I had a feeling the proposal was about to happen – this whole GoPro on the beer can really threw me off because we rarely did self-timer pics. As he was walking back to me my heart started racing with excitement like “IT’S HAPPENING” and to my surprise – he just hugs me and starts smiling and taking normal pictures. Granted this only happened for probably 10-20 seconds, if felt like forever and I was kicking myself being like “stop it Hailey, he’s not proposing you are crazy.” Little did I know he had put the burst timer on for 3 MINUTES.
After about 20 seconds of taking photos he let go of me, took off his sunglasses (he says he wanted to look me in the eye when he asked for my hand in marriage) reached in his pocket and dropped on one knee. I was SHOCKED. He asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, and of course I said yes.
We hung out a bit longer just taking it all in and made our way back to the city center. We went straight to Hotel Frontenac and had a glass of champagne in the bar overlooking the city. After the champagne, we called our families to tell them the news, and announced on social media a few days later!
When was the wedding?
The wedding was on September 24th, 2016 at the Hildene Estate in Manchester, Vermont. It was the most magical day! Perfect weather and perfect everything.
Did anyone help with pulling off the proposal/how did they help?
Chris did it all (and the GoPro)
The engagement shoot took place at Billingsgate Farm, which is privately owned by Chris’s grandparents own this farm on the South Shore of MA. You can view Henry and Mac’s blog post about Hailey and Chris’ engagement shoot here.
Thank you so much to Hailey for sharing all of these beautiful proposal details, and the story of how she and Chris met and fell in love. Wouldn’t it be so nice if we could all fall for a long-time friend??
PS, if you’d like to be featured for this proposal series, we are still accepting submissions! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to have your story shared.