We received a very special invitation from a New Braunfels Wedding Guide Featured Vendor, a surprise engagement to take place on the property of the historic Gruene Estate. SURPRISE ENGAGEMENT? Oh, ABSOLUTELY! We planned to be there with bells on!
Let’s set the stage.
Meet the lovely couple:
Sebastien, a pilot from Paris, France, grew up around love, romance and passion. He always lives life to the fullest believing that all things should be done right and in the grandest of ways.
Jacqueline grew up in El Paso, TX. She is a Texas girl at heart who loves vintage country/ farm style settings. She has a passion for animals that shines through her occupation as a veterinary technician.
Our interview with the couple:
How did you meet?
Sebastien: I had become recently single when my friends pushed me to try online dating. After 48 hours, I had over 100 matches. Jacqueline was my first (and last) date as we immediately hit it off, and I wasn’t interested in dating anyone else.
Tell us about your first date
Sebastien: We had plans to go to dinner at P.F Chang’s. She parked a few minutes before I arrived, so she was walking to the restaurant as I was pulling up in my car. I almost ran over her in the parking garage, but as I let her cross in front of me, we locked eyes. She looked beautiful! Her first thoughts of me? She told me she thought I looked like Aiden (John Corbett) from Sex in the City!
We had a great time at dinner and immediately felt comfortable with each other as we discovered more and more that we had in common. Time flew by. We had dessert at the Cheesecake Factory followed by drinks at another location until they closed. Jacqueline held my hand as I walked her back to her car and asked me when I was thinking of asking her out again on a second date which I did immediately.
What did you find you had in common?
We both love to have a great time and truly enjoy being with each other. Food, traveling, and smaller things like going to Target, Tabasco, TV shows or sleeping with the windows open are just a few of our favorites. We have similar values in life and are both grateful and count our blessings daily.
When did you know each other was THE ONE?
Sebastien: A month after we met, I suddenly ended up in the ER. Jacqueline dropped everything and came to the hospital immediately. I was a little embarrassed, while she on the other hand, was very worried. They escorted her out of the room to work on me. I told the doctors that if I didn’t make it not to forget to tell her that I loved her. In looking back, we both realized that was the moment we knew we loved and cared for each other..
Once I recovered, we took a trip to San Diego and had the most amazing time. Jacqueline now tells me that is when she knew she wanted us to be together forever.
Sebastien, tell us about the planning process for the big proposal moment.
I originally was planning to propose on a beach in the British Virgin Islands, but our travel plans were canceled due to Covid 19. A Texas engagement was then in the cards. My first opportunity was during a trip planned with friends to New Braunfels, Texas. It was really important to me that it be a surprise to Jacqueline. I only had about three weeks to plan everything, and I knew it would be a challenge to secure a venue on such short notice.
I am a fan of the band Guns N’ Roses. In the November Rain music video, Slash’s solo takes place in front of a chapel in a field. I started looking for a venue similar to that and found the chapel at Gruene Estate to be perfect for our engagement. I contacted Melinde at the venue and explained my vision. I wanted to do things grand and romantic, plan an event that had never been seen or done. During our first phone call, I remember her asking me, “You want to do what now? Nothing like this has ever been planned or requested for an engagement.” Everyone at the venue rose to the challenge and got excited. I am always with Jacqueline, so it was very challenging to plan everything while keeping it a secret. Melinde and her team worked independently on everything behind the scenes and were able to turn my dream into a reality.
Jacqueline, what were your thoughts when you stepped up to the chapel?
I knew Sebastien was going to make things special. We went to dinner that evening, and I thought maybe he would have reserved a nice table and proposed near a small setup outside like you see others couple do. I just had a feeling that it was the night we would get engaged, but when we left the restaurant, I thought maybe not.
We drove away into the night and pulled up to Gruene Estate. I saw the chapel glowing in the field and my heart started racing. The music playing in the chapel had been streaming to the car. Drones were flying overhead. The venue was wonderfully decorated with candles, handmade signs, pictures, flowers, and rose petals. It was absolutely breathtaking and magical. I was shocked and impressed that Sebastien had secured Gruene Estate just for us. I think that every girl growing up dreams of having a magical moment such as this, and I feel that I definitely lived my dream.
When we reached the altar, Sebastian got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. When I said, “Yes!” he slipped a beautiful emerald cut tiffany ring on my finger!
What was the best thing/most memorable moment about the evening?
Jacqueline: The evening was like I was living a fairy tale. The engagement ring is a girl’s dream and the proposal was truly perfect. It was so tailored to “me.” What made it even more special for me was that my daughter, Kendall, was there to see the night unfold. When we stepped outside the chapel, she raced into our arms!
Tell me about your plans moving forward.
We are still marinating in our one of a kind proposal and know the next step will come in time.
What makes you confident in the relationship?
Jacqueline: I am marrying my best friend.