It is hard to believe but we met in Memphis over six years ago. It all started at a Memorial Day camping trip with mutual friends. We certainly owe a lot to that day and those amazing friends (especially you, Michelle!).
As fate would have it, this was only two short months before Michael moved to Las Vegas for his orthodontic residency. The time we had really seemed to fly by. A new relationship was neither planned or convenient and the resulting two year long distance relationship was a true test of our love for one another.
After those two years, Annie was finally able to move to Las Vegas where we were at long last able to be together. We loved living in Vegas, but were excited to finally start the next chapter of our lives and couldn’t be happier with our recent move to Arizona.
We have landed in a beautiful home in Goodyear, AZ. In fact, Michael moved everything into our new home and, on the same day, surprised Annie with a trip to a resort spa in Sedona. He claimed it was just an anniversary surprise…
The engagement was a complete surprise. Annie had previously planned a camping trip at our favorite campground, Lo Lo Mai Springs, four months in advance to celebrate our six year anniversary. Michael canceled the reservation in secret and booked a stay at the luxurious L’auberge in Sedona. Annie had hinted that she would love to stay there but never imagined it could happen so soon.
As we arrived, a valet took the car and luggage. The features of the resort were explained and afterwards Michael suggested we go directly to dinner rather than to the room. The restaurant was gorgeous with outdoor seating next to a babbling creek so it was not suspicious when they explained that we would be dining at the Creekside Reserve. You might think the private dining and rose petals on the ground would have given it away, but Annie was not convinced that this was the moment until Michael started talking about not wanting to spend the rest of his life with anyone else, and reached for his pocket. That’s when the tears started flowing. Not a moment later Michael was down on one knee, saying those four words many girls dream of one day hearing. Through tears, Annie exclaimed “Yes! Of course!!”
The ring was (and still is) super sparkly. Annie had no idea of the design Michael had chosen. We had discussed rings many times before, but Annie had always insisted on a simple ring, while Michael tried to get her to envision something with some added style. The ring is unique and beautiful, and Michael pointed out later that the design choice was influenced by the design similarity of the ring to many of Annie’s other jewelry pieces that Michael has gifted to her over the years. It is a perfect ring!
The best part about the before dinner proposal was that it gave us the rest of the amazing night ahead to discuss the details of Michael’s secret engagement plans… and to enjoy a one of a kind dinner in pure joy without the getting engaged nerves! Michael revealed that L’auberge had assigned him an event coordinator, Kirsten, who ensured that everything associated with our weekend in Sedona would run smoothly. Kirsten had even popped into our dining area when Annie was away for a few moments to introduce herself to Michael in person and make sure everything was going okay.
A dedicated waiter served a six course meal prepared especially for us by the chef, complete with wine pairings for each course.
Everything was delicious, to say the least. The restaurant at L’auberge is open air, situated alongside Oak Creek. We enjoyed a lovely creek serenade the entire night, and couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere. There was even a space heater to keep Annie warm already setup upon our arrival. Somehow we didn’t get a photo of the filet mignon course, probably because we were so eager to enjoy it!
When Michael proposed the curtains to the “Creekside Reserve” were open, and we could tell there were a few onlookers to our engagement moment. It still felt very personal, and we could tell whoever walked by was only taking joy in our moment. A few dinner courses in, someone drew the curtains, making it even more romantic (as if that were possible!).
We certainly shut the restaurant down! As hard as it was to leave this wonderful event behind, we knew it was only the beginning of what would be the best weekend of both of our lives (so far!).
Michael booked the Vista Suite. L’auberge offers a variety of cabin styles, each set offering something unique, such as a creekside experience or wood-burning fireplace. Knowing how into spa-ing and relaxing Annie is, Michael thoughtfully chose the Vista Suite option. The Vista Suite is the highest elevation of the cabins at L’auberge. Not only are the views incredible (see below), but this suite also offers a spa-themed bathroom, complete with a luxurious jacuzzi tub and even an outdoor shower!
The staff at L’auberge did an exceptional job making our cabin special. Not only did they transfer our rose bouquet from our dining table to our suite before we arrived there, they also scattered rose petals and lit candles all throughout the room and bathroom while we were enjoying dinner.
On Saturday morning, we woke up to classic Sedona views. Even the view from the bathtub was breathtaking. The outdoor shower was one of the highlights of the suite. The outdoor cedar shower was so amazing we never even used the equally impressive indoor shower!
We enjoyed coffee and tea in robes while taking in the beautiful early morning Sedona views on our gigantic balcony (there were forest fires in the distance the weekend we visited, so it was hazier than usual). Michael briefed Annie on the activities he had planned for the day. He made it a point to pre-plan practically every detail of the weekend, leaving nothing left for Annie to do but relax! While we are typically low key travelers, preferring doing nothing to the hustle and bustle of sightseeing, this weekend had just the right mix of downtime and planned activities.
The first item on the agenda was a yoga class for Annie. Since yoga didn’t start until 8:30 a.m., we decide to head down to the creek for the feeding of the ducks. We continued to be amazed by the hospitality of L’auberge. There were swings and rocking chairs set up for the guests, and each table was topped with several water bottles. We watched the local ducks sail along the creek, and even witnessed a crafty squirrel stealing the duck food after the duck master had departed.
The whole reason Annie had originally discovered L’auberge was their offering of morning yoga for guests. Michael is familiar with Annie’s love of yoga, and ensured that she got to enjoy an onsite class. There were only three other students in the Artists’ Cottage. The class was peaceful and relaxing, and a great way to start the day.
As if it couldn’t get any better, the woman on the mat next to Annie mentioned how sparkly her ring was after class. Annie immediately looked down at her ring (which she had been doing all throughout class), and said “thanks, my boyfriend proposed to me last night.” The woman looked into her eyes and said “I know, my husband and I were there and witnessed it when he got down on one knee.” She then said that we had a wonderful journey ahead of us. Annie got a bit teary-eyed at this point and gave her a big hug. It felt so special that Molly, celebrating her seven year wedding anniversary, had witnessed our engagement moment, and even more special that she happened to be on the neighboring yoga mat the very next morning.
When Annie arrived back at the suite, Michael had already had breakfast delivered to the balcony. He had pre-selected our menu items well before the weekend, and timed the delivery perfectly to arrive after yoga. We enjoyed coffee, tea, and ricotta beignets. Annie had banana pancakes with an English muffin on the side (not the time for worrying about carbs!), and Michael enjoyed an exquisite lox and cream cheese plate.
The Spa at L’auberge is quaint and serene. Not being the kind of guy who is big into booking couples’ massages, Michael found a fun and unique activity for us at the spa known as Blending. Jess at the spa was our guide. She gave us an overview of the different dried flowers and herbs on hand before we set out to create our own unique bath soak blends. Annie went for a more girlie and romantic blend consisting of dried rose petals, cacao, nutmeg, & lavender, while Michael went the heartier, savory route. He joked that he wasn’t making a bath soak but a chicken marinade (using rosemary, white ceremonial sage, & cardamom). We had a great time, and could tell Jess was enjoying herself too.
At the end of the experience, she asked us to come up with creative names for our unique bath blends. Michael chose “Christmas Time”, and Annie chose “Will You Marry Me?”… and the girls in the room teared up again!
Later in the afternoon, we got ready to go out on the town with our very own driver. David took us to three local wineries, saving the best one for last.
Javelina Leap was our first stop. We thought we would be in the tasting room with everyone else, but instead we were led to a peaceful back patio that we had all to ourselves. It was a beautiful overcast day (our favorite kind) and we enjoyed looking out over the vineyard while wine tasting and learning a few facts about the Arizona wine growing regions from Ron, our wine expert.
Michael got the idea to select a favorite from each tasting list and save the bottle for each of our first three anniversaries. Those three bottles are sitting in our someday “wine cellar” in our home as we speak, on reserve for enjoyment in the coming years.
The second winery we visited was Oak Creek Vineyards, literally a stone’s throw away from Javelina Leap (but David was nice to drive us anyway). We enjoyed a more traditional wine tasting room experience at this winery. We actually liked the white wine, but true to form selected our favorite red to enjoy at our second anniversary.
Page Springs lived up to and exceeded the bit of hype we had been hearing from David on the drive to this scenic vineyard. Of the three we visited, it was by far the most beautiful Arizona winery we have seen so far. We were even starting to envision this as the location for our wedding.
We were slightly devastated when Annie casually asked our waiter at lunch where the weddings take place and he replied that they no longer do weddings due to a few past weddings getting a bit out of hand. What a shame! Michael still plans to write an appeal letter to the winery, in hopes that we can get them to make an exception for our occasion. Fingers crossed! (update: we obviously are not getting married here, but love to visit for the tasty wines, lovely views, and yummy food – highly recommended!)
After our winery tour, there was still plenty of daylight left to enjoy our cabin and balcony. Later, we walked off the property to a local restaurant, Ken’s Creekside. Michael chose this location based on it’s well-known sunset views. Although the day remained overcast, we still managed to enjoy a perfect afternoon and evening.
On Sunday morning, we dined at the L’auberge restaurant on Oak Creek. This time, we enjoyed a table for two right next to the creek, with a view of the playing ducks and the sounds of our engagement just a few nights before. The brunch buffet was incredible. We got one last look at the location where Michael proposed, and hope to bring our families here to share this place that will always be so special to us. Not too shabby of a place to re-visit again and again!
On Sunday afternoon, Annie enjoyed a massage at the L’auberge Spa. Everything about this place was top-notch and Annie’s massage experience was no exception. Before the massage, the therapist, Sarah, asked Annie if she had any areas of tension she would like the massage to focus on. Annie simply replied no, and Sarah seemed somewhat surprised. After the massage, Sarah said “you were right. I couldn’t find a single knot.”
Annie remembers a time not too many years ago when she used to go get massages and the massage therapist would comment that there were knots all throughout her back. It was a moment of personal pride to have what she knows to be the product of a year of regular at-home meditation and yoga recognized, not to mention that of a weekend of pure relaxation and joy, thanks to Michael!
Annie never could have imagined how she would feel when Michael proposed. It was like every happy ending of every romantic comedy happening in real life. She had always tried to picture what it might be like when he proposed, but couldn’t have ever dreamed it would be so magical and beautiful. The whole weekend went way beyond what any dreamer could imagine.
We are excited about planning our upcoming wedding, and will be sharing the details of the plans with friends and family here as they unfold. We look forward to reuniting with friends and family in Sedona! We hope you have enjoyed sharing in our special weekend, and look forward to sharing many more moments of our lives to come.