My Proposal

So here’s how it all went down.

A Little Background.

1. Rachel and I started dating August 6th, 2012 and I knew I wanted to marry her from day one. In fact, during my very first conversation with her parents about dating (one or two weeks into our dating) I pretty bluntly (or stupidly) asked them what their thoughts were on us getting married soon given the unusual nature of our lives at the time (we both had just quit our jobs at the time in preparation for going on the road with my then-bandΒ Claudeo). I think they were a bit surprised by that but were supportive nonetheless πŸ™‚

2. I wanted my proposal to revolve around the theme of journeys. Our relationship has revolved almost entirely around being on a journey (traveling around the country together, moving up to LA together, journeying into new industries together (film/music), etc.) and I think that journeys are a simple yet great image of relationships and faith. It’s probably not the most unique idea, but I just felt especially tied to the idea for us.

3. I wanted my proposal to be tied to artwork because our relationship was in many ways brought together by our mutual love of art and pursuing God’s heart for the arts. We co-led a series with the youth group at our home church dealing with a biblical perspective on the arts, we traveled the country playing music together, we both wanted to pursue careers in the arts, etc. So I had lots of art! I made a video, I wrote her a song, and the proposal day was centered around us taking photos together.

Phase 1: The Video

vidWith all that in mind, I started working on a little short film project for my proposal. I titled it “ON THE ROAD.” It’s a collection of self-filmed clips during many of my travels as I traveled between san diego and LA, across LA, etc. (I drove a lot in 2013). During the filming I talked about our story, why I think she should marry me, etc. I began filming it on the day that I moved out of San Diego and continued filming myself throughout 2013.

For now, I’m keeping it private for close friends and family. But if you’d reeeeaaaally like to see it, shoot me a message and I’ll consider it :). Special thanks to Clayton Yip for helping me out with the video πŸ™‚

Phase 2: The Ring

This part was relatively easy. We went to check out some rings together early in 2013. I got a pretty solid idea of what she liked and her ring size, so there was not a lot of mystery here. As a personal preference, I decided not to purchase diamonds and went with a yellow sapphire center stone and small white sapphires surrounding.

Phase 3: The Song
There’s a song that I’ve had running through my head for the past few years. Every time I’d pick up a guitar I’d usually end up playing the same few chords and have the same melody running through my head, but I didn’t know how to finish it or what it was meant for. I knew the song had to do with the idea of coming home b/c those were the words that kept coming to my head, but it wasn’t until some time in December that I realized the song was meant for her as the song idea of “Barren” came to mind. It’s kind of a strange name for a proposal song haha…. but it’s because Rachel’s full name is Rachel Elizabeth Kwai Ying Moy. She was named after Rachel and Elizabeth, who were both biblical characters who were barren (could not bear children), because her mother initially had trouble conceiving her. Rachel also often shared with me how she often related to the idea of barren-ness as she struggled with never having a boyfriend throughout her life (until me!). It won’t all make sense to you, but here are the lyrics to the song i wrote for her. I decided to make it a pretty simple song so that hopefully I can keep singing it even when I’m old:

Empty is the way I operate
Runnin on the fumes
Always too much, too little on the plate

But you came for me
And you sang for me
You sang, ooooh

Even though the road back to home
Seems oh so alone
I will not be barren long
Even though it took me some time
To find my way to you
Oh now, I’ve been renewed

Phase 4: The Parents
So even though I knew I wanted to marry Rachel from day one, I knew it would take some time to get both parents on board. Me being in the midst of a career transition (to music nonetheless) is plenty of fodder for worrying mother’s everywhere. But this is also why I decided to get my ring far in advance (I’ve had it since around July of 2013) so that once I had the parentals on board I could make it all happen quickly!

Once I had the approval of my own parents (thanks Mom and Ba!) in early January, I had a secret dinner down in San Diego with Rachel’s parents a couple days later during which I asked for their permission and explained my plans. They were extremely nice and the dinner was super pleasant! We set a date for February 15th for both our families to meet for dinner, and so I decided I would also propose to her on the 15th and started putting things into motion.

Phase 5: Getting Her There
This part was surprisingly easy. Rachel is generally pretty suspicious but I came up with a pretty good plan… I asked her: “Hey! Let’s do something on the 15th…. it’s the weekend after my birthday and the day after Valentine’s day… let’s take a day trip or something”…. and then I sort of let it hang there. As we talked it over, I subtly dropped suggestions like “out in the middle of nowhere” and “do a photoshoot”…. Looking back she told me she wasn’t sure who had planned the day πŸ™‚

THE PROPOSAL: February 15th, 2014
The morning of, we decided we’d head up to Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve. I figured it would be a nice place to take some interesting “high-fashion”-like desert scene photos. Before leaving, we dropped by Chick-Fil-a for some breakfast and while we were eating she yells “Today is the best day ever!”…. I respond with “Because of Chick-Fila?”…. She responds: “Of course! I love Chick-Fila!!”…. At this point I wasn’t sure if she was just messing with me and had figured it out or if she was just expressing her deep genuine love of Chick-Fil-A. But whether she knew or not, it didn’t really matter, the plan was gonna steamroll forward.

It took about an hour and a half for us to get to the location. It was suuuuper empty and pretty much exactly what I wanted! Haha.
We spent a couple hours there taking photos in whatever fun poses we could come up with and whatever unique outfits we could come up with from our trip to the thrift store the week before. Here’s my favorite shot of the day:


On the way over to the main spot that we did our shooting, I had noticed a cool expanse of desert that I liked. So I suggested we go back to that random desert spot I saw and take some more photos. When we got there, I went to the back of my car to pull out my guitar (I had explained it as a being a photo prop). As I was setting up the shot in the new location, I asked her if she could take a look at the photos that we had shot earlier to see if they had come out okay. I handed her my computer and a flash card containing what she thought were the photos but was actually a card containing the video I had made for her. She loaded it onto the computer and was confused for a second to find only a video on it.

Then she watched the video….. I sang her the song…. then I said a few words that basically went along the lines of “I decided to propose to you in the middle of nowhere because I wanted you to know that I am happy to be with you regardless of where we endup…. ” Then I got out of the car and onto my knees and proposed πŸ™‚ She cried. I almost cried. She told me she knew I was gonna do it that day. Then we took some pictures and met our families in Los Angeles for dinner πŸ™‚





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About Claudeo

Chris Changchien (aka Claudeo) is most well known for his ability to grow a beard, despite being Asian-American. When he’s not taming that beast, he is also an aspiring Music Producer and Singer/Songwriter based in Los Angeles.

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