Jason & Audrey // Vasquez Rocks engagement // Santa Clarita wedding photographer
Audrey and I drove up to San Luis Obispo this past weekend for our engagement, although on Saturday morning, she woke up thinking it was just going to be a wild and crazy 3 year anniversary weekend. It ended up being all that and more, starting when we arrived at theMadonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, CA. The day started out normal enough. We woke up next to each other in our bedroom. I gave her a kiss good morning and started getting ready for our drive. She made us some matzo-brei with some shmura matzah we got last week. She got dressed to the nines, a scarf and summer hat. She looked amazing. Perfect for today’s events. I packed the ring in my backpack, wrapped in heavy cellophane from the cleaners, so she wouldn’t accidentally see the box. I also snuck a special wine bottle of Audrey’s into my bag, a 1998 bottle of Chateau Cantemerle bordeaux that she was waiting for a special occasion to open. This weekend would most certainly be that. We drove up the 101, stopping in Buellton to pick up some munchies right off the freeway. Continuing on, we arrived in San Luis Obispo at around 1 o’clock (maybe a little later). We had lunch at the Firestone Grill in town, where we indulged in that classic central coast treat, tri tip sandwiches. They were good, but a bit tough, and seating at that popular place was a challenge all its own. Finally we found a seat, and chowed down. I only ate half my lunch, since my appetite was low because I was so nervous.
That afternoon, we went to two wineries, Stephen Ross and Claiborne & Churchill. Both had very nice tasting rooms, the first was in an industrial location, rather than at a vineyard, and the 2nd was close to its vineyard, but not on top of it. They were both modern, with fun people pouring, and good conversation with the other patrons. Stephen Ross specialized in pinot noir & chardonnay, and Claiborne & Churchill specialized in Alsatian varietals like gewurtztrawminer and riesling (both dry, and pretty good — usually I don’t like them much). After some tasting and good conversation, I finally coaxed Audrey into heading over to the hotel. We arrived at the Madonna Inn, where I planned to propose. Checking in took forever, though to Audrey it probably didn’t seem that long. Since it was a larger property, we drove up to our room area. We grabbed as many items from the car as possible, so as to not make many trips. We got to our hotel room door, which opened out into an outdoor hallway with a view of the surrounding mountains… PERFECT…
I told her to put her stuff down, and I put my stuff down too, and started digging into my bag for the ring. She thought I was getting my camera out to take a pic of the view, but instead I was grabbing that little white box with a black box inside it. When she saw it, she didn’t react right away, she was working the whole thing out in her head, unable to believe that it was happening right now. I had the box in my hand and embraced her, kissed her, and told her that I loved her, and that I was still excited to be with her after all these years. I then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She did the natural putting her hands on her mouth to hold back tears of joy, and said yes.The odd thing about getting down on one knee at that moment was that it actually made me feel taller. Rarely have I ever been so sure of myself as at that moment, much like the first time I kissed her. It was the perfect time, it felt natural, and it went without a hitch. I placed the ring on her finger and it fit *perfectly.* She was stunned by the sight of it, and said it was perfect, exactly like what she dreamed of. We went inside our room, and, just as I had arranged, there was a bottle of champange for us, and a dozen white roses for her. We had some time before dinner, so we enjoyed some time together, making phone calls to our families, and then got ready for dinner at the Gold Rush Steakhouse, located on the property. Before heading to dinner, we had a brief wine-tasting in the gourmet wine shop downstairs. This was located across the hall from the world famous Madonna Inn men’s room (more on this soon). Finally, it was time for dinner. Have a look at our photos from the weekend, and you’ll see what kind of restaurant the steakhouse is. Lots of decorations, and a big dance floor, where it appeared that local dancing couples regularly came by to dance on weekends (they were pretty darn precise with their moves in tango, swing, you name it). I had the ribeye, and she had the filet mignon. Absolutely delicious. Great service too. The waiter took our “official” engagement picture (until we get some professional ones).
The rest of the weekend (Sunday) was great. Before leaving the hotel, we took some pictures, including ones at their world famous men’s urinal in the main building. It’s apparently a tourist attraction for people driving between LA and SF. It looked to me like a large rock fireplace with water instead of fire, with a depressed floor and drains that you peed toward. Check out the facebook album for pictoral details. Leaving the Madonna, we went to Tolosa winery and ate lunch at Mo’s BBQ, which we decided was even better than Firestone Grill, with less crowds and hotter food. At Tolosa, we had a semi-private wine and cheese pairing with a gorgeous view onto their pinot noir blocks. A great ending to a phenomenal, life-changing weekend.
Just in case you missed the VINE footage… Here it is!
©2013 Sun & Sparrow Photography // Big thanks to Claudia Navarette for second shooting with us! // Vasquez Rocks Engagement // Santa Clarita Engagement Photographer