The Legacy Files : The Cottage Weekend that Changed My Life


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Our Engagement Story from Dylan’s Perspective

Bridal Veil Falls

My whole future changed with a little plastic ring from a plastic water bottle lid. And what was a great family weekend with Sandra at our Manitoulin Island family camp became suddenly extraordinary.

I fell asleep in my creaky metal-framed cottage bed the night before it all happened. That day, Sandra and I had explored Kagawong together like love-sick kids; we chased each other (she dropped her iPod which earned a big screen crack) and soaked in all of the beauty of the island. We also stopped by Bridal Veil Falls – seems like a great spot to propose right? I guess if I had come into the weekend prepared and thinking I would be proposing, then yes, that would have been a great idea!

As I lay in my bed looking up that night, I was having a conversation in my head. I convinced myself I absolutely could not propose without a ring. But I felt so conflicted. I have this girl, who I absolutely love and have spent the last 3 months really intentionally courting. I wanted to propose but didn’t have a ring. So that night I talked to God and soon fell asleep.

The Legacy Files - Dylan & Sandra at Bridal veil falls the weekend of their engagement.

The Proposal Preparation

The next morning, I felt a tangible peace. I felt excited about the future. Our chilly pre-spring morning started with the whole family packing up to return home to Sudbury. It was supposed to be just a normal day, really even I thought that. As you might be able to tell I was slightly clueless about what was going to happen.

We were getting ready to return home. Sandra and I were still in our PJs on the back deck, brushing our teeth, when my dad suggested I should take Sandra down the laneway to show her the beachfront, the place where we lived some of our best childhood days. At the same time, I was getting flashes of my inner reflection the night before. Suddenly I felt REALLY nervous. All the guys will sympathize with me in this moment… the thought of proposing is one of the biggest life moments for any guy!

So as we were brushing our teeth, the whole time I was saying to myself, “wow, is this happening, am I really going to propose without a ring!?” So as we finished brushing our teeth, I noticed the ring on the water bottle lid (you know, the one that seals the lid on), turned my back to Sandra so she wouldn’t see me pulling it off, and then said to God: “Just in case, here is my ring!”

Dylan & Sandra share their engagement story from their engagement weekend on the blog. This is a picture of them on a hammock at camp.

A Request to God

Just as we were leaving for our walk, I continued the little chat with God; “God, I need you to confirm that this is what you are saying and to let us see an animal on our walk… wait, no God that’s too easy considering we are in the woods(!), make it so we don’t see any animals on our walk, and I need a REALLY obvious sign.” It was definitely a reasonable miracle request considering our camp is 10 minutes deep into the bush, notoriously teeming with squirrels, deer, etc.

There were no animals in sight. So what do you do when you ask for something and get it?

I was wanting to really make sure about this big move. I was Sandra’s first boyfriend and Sandra was my first girlfriend (not for lack of asking girls out, Sandra jokes that it’s because she prayed for God to protect me before she even knew me!).

So with my water bottle ring in pocket and God as my wingman, we started down the pathway to the beach. And not even paying attention or looking for anything specific at this point, I saw what is pictured below. Two trees intertwined in an amazing heart configuration that stopped me in my tracks. I stopped Sandra and said, “STOP, wow, look at that!!!”

This heart shape was what Dylan saw as a sign before he proposed to Sandra. See the blog in our legacy files

When She Said Yes

We walked into the bush to see the vines more closely. I then shared with Sandra how special she was to me. So in our PJs on March 25, 2012 around 3pm, I got down on one knee and asked the love of my life to marry me. Now ladies, I need to be real here for a minute. I understand and value that it is a big question and you need to think, but when there’s a pause, it feels like a really long time for a guy!! After, what felt like an eternity to me but was probably really just a couple seconds, Sandra said (while pushing me): “You’re crazy, You’re crazy, You’re crazy!” To which I responded, “What does that mean?”. She was apparently in shock.

“Yes! Yes!”, she then whispered.

I then reached into my pocket and shared with her my experience from the day before, my chat with God and all about what was going through my head, and presented her with a, wait for it, water bottle ring. She loved that part and said it was perfect! In our legacy box, we still have that water bottle ring and a cracked, well-adventured iPod from that weekend.

Ps. I would say the heart vines were a pretty awesome sign from the Big Guy. But there were more to come. As it is with most things in our life together, a lot more adventures were about to unfold, more stories, the kind you are excited to share with your future kids that belong in the Legacy Files. /// DM



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We're Dylan & Sandra. Married photographers, donut lovers, and obsessed with family and our squishy toddler. We're so glad you're here! Grab a drink and stay awhile for classic + joy-filled love stories in and around the GTA, London, Niagara and the best-of wedding advice!