Guy and gal meet, they fall in love, he proposes – but it's not the same story you've heard a million times before...
Carol and Zach met at the California Delta the summer of 2009 through mutual friends (thank you, Gloskis). At that time, they were both dating other people and lived on opposite coasts. Nothing more than acquaintances, they would see each other from time to time when Carol visited California.
It wasn't until early 2012 when Carol and Zach both lived in the Bay Area that they became good friends. Part of a close knit group of couples, they were the single ones. Though they dated other people on and off for a while, it soon became clear that they were growing into more than friends.
Worried that if romance didn't work, they might ruin a valuable friendship, they decided not to pursue anything more. But that didn't last long! Afraid that their friends would also worry about the dynamics of the close group, Carol and Zach started secretly dating.
The secret lasted no more than a month and the truth finally came out (thanks, Anthony)! With their budding romance finally out in the open, Zach took Carol on their first "real" date in July 2012. He surprised her with a day in San Francisco, complete with a visit to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and dinner at Gitane.
Carol and Zach dated for a year and a half. Together they celebrated one another's successes and supported each other through the lowest lows, and all the while, running, biking, hiking, swimming, and wake boarding their way through the relationship.
In 2013, Zach asked Carol to block out the entire day of December 28th so that they could celebrate a late Christmas together. To start off the day, he brought her coffee and handed her a written clue. Zach had remembered Carol mentioning many months before that she had never been on a scavenger hunt. Instead of a purchasing gift, he planned a scavenger hunt for her. Each clue he gave her led to significant places where they had formed memories together during their relationship – Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve where they hiked and ran together, Sanchos Mexican Restaurant in Palo Alto where they often met for dinner, Zach's Atherton studio apartment where many late nights were spent playing Phase 10 and watching Adventure Time, Muir Woods where they got lost together, The Lodge at Tiburon where they had their first mini vacation, and finally San Francisco to the place where they had their first "real" date. All the while the drive from place to place was peppered with trivia questions, reminding Carol of details from their adventures together.
The final clue was meant to lead them to Gitane where they had their first "real" dinner date, but they were a bit ahead of schedule and Gitane was not open yet. Instead, they went to the restaurant across the street. Carol recalls that was when Zach really started acting strange. He hardly drank his wine or ate any of the food they had ordered – though she didn't think much of it at the time because that meant more for her! Zach stepped away from the table for a while and when he came back, he was pretty insistent that they get the check and go, saying that they needed to get back to the car and meet friends and family in San Jose for dinner.
They had parked the car at the Fulton's apartment garage. As they walked up the hill to the apartment, Zach stopped on the street, reminiscing in the same spot where he kissed Carol for the first time. Right there on the sidewalk, he got down on his knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring, asking Carol if she would spend the rest of her life with him. The answer was easy – she said yes!
For the final surprise of the day, Zach had asked their friends and family to meet them up in the apartment. It was there that they surprised Carol and together, with the people they love, Zach and Carol celebrated the beginning of the rest of their lives together.
Thank you to the amazing family and friends who helped make the day truly memorable, and to those who continue to support us on our journey together.