Seeing as my fiancée Karen is a former Intelligence Officer, keeping the proposal planning from her was no simple task. I negotiated with the Cliff House in San Francisco to have a brunch party in a separate room overlooking the ocean. I chose a menu, contacted all my friends locally and scheduled it all. We had to keep Karen's friends in the dark and dubbed it all as a surprise birthday party. In the midst of all of this, I was simultaneously working to meet with Karen's father to ask for her hand as well as for her mother to help me with picking a diamond. I did my research on diamonds and Karen was conned into looking at settings by her sister and mother. As luck would have it, Funston Beach, an off-leash dog park with stunning views, happened to be literally minutes from the Cliff House. This had become a special place for us to spend time together as a family. Although our dog Hollywood wasn't with us, I frequently mentioned to Karen how I liked to "make sure the ocean was still there," so it wasn't a big surprise when I suggested we stop there en-route to go horseback riding for her birthday.
The plan was to have a nice ride up the coast to Santa Rosa and go horseback riding for the day. I let her know I wanted to stop at Funston. We shared some very special moments together after a more invigorating hike to the water than I had anticipated. After I got on one knee and planned the wonderful growth of our bond together, she said yes. After Karen started calling everyone, we left to go celebrate. I stopped at the restaurant, and the guys immediately knew who I was and why we were there.