San Diego Sunset Cliffs Engagement Proposal | Emily and Matt


San Diego Sunset Cliffs Proposal

My best friend, Emily, is an amazing writer. So is my husband, so lucky for you at least one of them has chimed in with impeccable storytelling capability. I’m always intimidated by these two because they’re capable of transparently expressing their hearts in an eloquent fashion. But here’s my best shot at describing one of my favorite proposals I’ve ever had the honor of being apart of…

Emily and I met in college and immediately became best friends. Our similar energy and humor had us rolling on the floor in laughter and immediately creating memories and spending weekends with each others families. I knew she was a special gal and a lifelong friend right off the bat. Emily is also a very private, introverted person. And if you know me, I’m the exact opposite. So…when I got the message, “I just had a really great first date,” I was intrigued, because Emily NEVER tells me about “great first dates” until weeks later. The only the ones I heard about immediately after were the ones that went awry and had some comical relief (see below Q&A).

Fast forward a couple weeks and I received the following: “I feel like I’ve known him for years. I don’t think that’s ever happened to me. We watch The Office reruns together. Taylor, I’m [freaking] flabbergasted. HE IS MY PERSON. IN EVERY SINGLE WAY.” And I knew…my best friend had found her forever person. (And yes, I just sifted through a years worth of iMessages and hilarious selfies to find these messages.)

I’ll leave the rest of the storytelling to my amazing writer friend and the photos, my favorite form of storytelling. Congratulations, Emily and Matt! We love you guys and are so thrilled for this next chapter in your lives.
Taylor and Mike (and Colter)

San Diego Sunset Cliffs engagement proposal Emily and Matt San Diego Sunset Cliffs engagement proposal Emily and Matt San Diego Sunset Cliffs engagement proposal Emily and Matt San Diego Sunset Cliffs engagement proposal Emily and Matt

How did the two of you meet?

“I joined in March of 2018, with rather extensive encouragement from both my sister and my best friend, the latter of whom happens to own this website and photography business. Let me paint the picture for you. My first date on match was with this guy who was financially affluent and had an expensive luxury car–which is all fine–until you post multiple pictures of said vehicle with the caption “#blessed”. It’s cool if you’re fortunate and all, but I will never support the notion that owning a Mercedes makes you a viable candidate for an ordained and exceptional consecration from an almighty higher power. I just can’t do it.
Even more determined to be my true self whilst braving the jungle that is online dating, I decided to filter my dialogue a little less. Weed ’em out, you know? The second date–when he told me he lived in Beverly Hills, I replied [verbatim] with “I literally only ever drive to Beverly Hills to see my therapist.” Which is true, mind you. Moving right along to date #3…
In the meantime, Matt was working 10-12 hour days, 6-7 days a week at the new Rams stadium in Inglewood. He had been considering the whole online dating thing and decided to test the waters when he saw a commercial for a free 5-day trial on Lucky for me, his first [and only] date was me–March 31, 2018.”

What are you most excited about for your wedding day?

“Cake. I think we’re both excited about cake.”
Emily: “Honestly, I haven’t thought about wedding details very much. I do know, that on that day, we will legally be a family. He will be my family. That fills my heart in a way that I’ve never really felt before.”
Matt: “Seeing her in a wedding dress.”

San Diego Sunset Cliffs engagement proposal Emily and Matt
San Diego Sunset Cliffs engagement proposal Emily and Matt

Tell us about your first date!

“We went to Golden Mean, a cute little plant-based cafe in Santa Monica. We were both extremely hungry (something that certainly hasn’t changed). We got burgers to-go and walked down the street to a picnic area that overlooked the beach. Our conversation was filled with typical introductory Q&A. I’m highly introverted and probably speak a little less frequently than most. Matt–and this is one of the things I love about him–is not that way. At all. I remember sitting on the wood bench, eating my burger and thinking “Damn, this kid can talk”. In a very endearing, curious type of way, of course.
We finished our food and walked down the 3rd street promenade, grabbing a matcha latte from Starbucks and continuing conversation. I think we ended up walking and talking for like 2 hours or more. Conversely, I think Matt was genuinely impressed that I ate the entire burger I had ordered for lunch. And if I’m being honest, I was also a little impressed myself. Regardless, I do know that we both felt like we’d somehow just met someone we’d known for years.”

When did you know you wanted to marry each other?

“I don’t know that there was an exact moment for me. I kind of just fell more and more in love with him each day, starting from the day I met him. Sounds mushy, but it’s true. I suppose, though, that I do have a short story about the first time the universe stepped in to assure me that indeed, Matt Menzer was made for me. I saw this quote a year or two ago on social media that said “My soulmate is out there somewhere – pulling on a push door. I just know it.” I read that and was like Yes. Yes that’s for me.
As a female that grew up in the 90s, the consistent romantic message encouraged the expectation that we would be swept off our feet by a random, sexy, wealthy..and somehow, royal?..perfect guy (ahem, Disney–I’m looking at you). I think, that maybe, it took my generation a little longer to figure out that princes are actually very stressed out individuals with a lot of baggage and that finding a person who will join you in watching hours of The Office reruns and snorting with laughter is, truly, the stuff of kings.
Matt and I are both a little eccentric and intense, but in very different ways. A couple months into dating we were entering yet another [vegan] burger joint that was new to Matt, but one of my favorite places that I had visited many times. And every time–I would always forget about this *freaking* door that they have; it’s got these giant handles but only opens inwardly by pushing. More specifically, this door was the bane of my existence. This time, of course, was no different. Matt, in typical, enthusiastic-Matt fashion, leapt onto the sidewalk towards the entrance and just wrenched the shit out of the door, pulling on the giant handle that had betrayed me so many times before. I looked at him as I heard the jarring sounds of a commercial-sized door in protest. Naturally, this was combined with Matt yelling obscenities at the deception he’d just experienced. And I thought to myself “Oh. And there he is”.

Tell us about your Sunset Cliffs proposal from your point of view!

“Taylor and I have been best friends since we met in college. She and Mike are like family to me. Matt and I live in Los Angeles, so we don’t get to see them very often. Mike and Taylor were visiting southern California for a couple weeks so we had been planning on going down to San Diego to visit them. A couple weeks before our visit, Taylor asked if Matt and I would do a quick photo shoot for them so they could get some California lifestyle pictures for her website and portfolio. Of course, we said sure.
Matt and I drove down to San Diego February 9th, 2019. There was a lot of traffic and it took us about 3 hours to get down there. We didn’t eat lunch, and we are both hangry people, so I knew he was probably irritably famished and a little on edge.
I had no idea when he was going to propose. We had talked about getting married, so I knew it would happen but I was clueless to the timeframe. A tiny part of me had wondered if he was going to do it in SD, since Mike and Taylor would be there. BUT, Matt had been working crazy hours, and the time he did have off, we always spent together. When would he have possibly gotten the ring? He hadn’t been acting weird or showing signs of hiding anything. I had no evidence.
PLUS, we are going to Hawaii at the end of March and I thought maybe he was waiting to do it on our trip. We had also spent so much money furnishing our new place. That, combined with the expense of a Hawaii trip made me wonder if spending money on a ring was even a priority at the time. AND, I was always thinking that maybe it’s just too early, that he wasn’t ready yet. There are a lot of factors here, people.
And, at the risk of sharing too much, there was always a tiny part of me that thought something this magical could never happen to me. It’s just been a long, and sometimes very rough, road to finding Matt. Most of my friends are married and have [multiple] kids. I think, as a means of self-protection, I had convinced a large part of my brain that maybe marriage and finding a life partner just weren’t in the cards for me. And I had kind of gotten to this point where I couldn’t even picture it in my head. Like, literally, I couldn’t conjure up an image of what a ring would look like on my finger, or what it would be like to have that feeling–that absolute confidence–that yes, this is my person, and I am his person. Even when I knew that Matt was indeed my person, there was this inherent part of my brain that said “this isn’t real”.
So on with the story–we drive straight to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park in SD and meet up right away with Mike and Taylor. The place is amazing. As advertised–cliffs and sunsets. It’s a beautiful landscape. It is now that I start to notice small things. Everyone seemed …a little flustered. But then again, we were late and there’s only so much daylight left to shoot. We walk over to the cliff area and Taylor has me posing and taking pictures and Matt ducks out to the restroom (very typical). So then I think “Oh, OK, he probably wouldn’t duck out to take a leak if he was going to propose.” All the while, that part of my brain is subconsciously saying “remember: these things don’t happen to you”. If I started thinking that something so amazing was going to happen…and it doesn’t, I was going to be let down. And let down is not fun (nor fair to Matt). The photo shoot continues, and Matt joins in and we continue to be prompted by Taylor. Mike and Colter are chill and hanging out next to us. Nothing is happening.
As we continue to take pictures, I just get this feeling. I don’t know if I sensed Matt was anxious, and maybe even that Taylor was a little anxious also. I don’t know what it was. But I do know–that the little voice inside my head that kept trying so hard to prevent me from let-down–just got completely squashed. Actually, it kind of felt like my entire ability to think rationally got squashed. And at some point, within the few seconds before he got down on one knee, the only internal cognitive message I could pull together was: “Oh my god. This is happening. This is really happening.”
I wish I could give more detail or explanation, but everything was truly a blur. I heard Matt say “wife” at one point right before kneeling and I think everything inside me melted. My favorite person in the entire world had asked me to be his family–to be his favorite person, forever. My entire periphery became cloudy and irrelevant. I really felt like David in the YouTube video “David at the Dentist” when that poor little 6 year-old is all hyped on anesthesia and is like “is this real life??”; except this was not anesthesia, this was a moment of unprecedented pure bliss. Yes, David. Yes this is real life.”

If you could pick one word to describe your favorite quirk about the other, what would it be and why?

“Emily: Microchip. There’s this episode of Parks & Rec where Chris Traeger (the excessively enthusiastic, over-the-top optimist, and ridiculous health nut, played by Rob Lowe) has contracted the flu virus and is in the hospital freaking out, trying to explain how his fine-tuned physiology is extremely susceptible to outside forces, dubbing himself a “microchip”.
This is Matt, in a [healthy] nutshell. Right after he consumes something with an above-average oil or fat content, he can “see” his abs disappear. He has eaten the exact same weekday breakfast for about 2 years now. Along with his, he trims *my* nose hair–that I didn’t even know I had. Microchip. But he’s my microchip. And I love him dearly.”