Bellingham man's wedding proposal a tactical surprise during vacation

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 6, 2014 

Zack and Megan Chaplin opted for a simple, classic wedding at a relative's home in Lynden.

KAYLA LYNN PHOTOGRAPHY — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

Megan and Zack Chapin attended middle school together in Ferndale and even dated for a few weeks while in eighth grade, but then Megan moved to Bellingham and they didn’t’ see much of each other. They both graduated from high school in 2005 and started dating again four years later after they ran into each other at Whatcom Community College.

Just before Megan and Zack left for a trip to Arizona to celebrate their third anniversary in 2012, Megan dug through her then-boyfriend’s luggage, suspicious that he might have something up his sleeve. “She’s very sneaky,” Zack says. “If she thinks something’s going on, she’ll do anything she can to figure it out.” Knowing that, and knowing that Megan had already discovered and opened an unmarked envelope Jared jewelry store had sent him weeks before informing him that his credit had been approved, Zack kept his cool and stayed a step ahead.

When she reached blindly into the bag, fingers searching between the T-shirts and pairs of shorts, Megan felt a wrapped box, but it was too long and narrow to be a ring case. Zack had told her the truth when he said he’d only gotten a bracelet at Jared, Megan recalls thinking.

“I was disappointed, not mad,” she says. “Every girl wants to get married someday.”

So later in Arizona, having given up on the idea of a proposal, Megan was less than prepared when Zack took her to dinner at a nice restaurant, just happened to talk the waiter into letting them walk the private grounds, and then asked her if she would marry him.

He had joked around with Megan before, asking if marriage was something she wanted, Megan says, so she thought he was trying to be funny.

“I said, ‘No, really, would you marry me?’” Zack says.

Once Megan saw the ring in his hand, she knew he was serious.

She said yes and the two set to work planning their Aug. 31, 2013 wedding.

The couple opted for a traditional theme. A white, gray and navy blue color scheme helped tie in the bridesmaids’ and groomsmen’s outfits. Fleur De Lis Florals of Lynden made white flower arrangements for the ceremony, and floating candles in jars filled with glass beads and twigs were set on mirrors as centerpieces at the reception.

“I don’t like all this new, flashy stuff people do,” Megan says. “We tried to keep everything very simple and classic and vintage.”

They were married by a family friend at Megan’s great-aunt and uncle’s house in Lynden. They stood at a small altar, covered by an arch, as 150 friends and family members watched them give their vows. The short-but-sweet ceremony couldn’t have lasted more than 10 minutes, Megan says.

Both said their favorite moment from the big day was seeing the other person as they stood at the altar.

“When she walked out and I saw her for the first time, I think my jaw hit the ground,” Zack says.

The newlyweds cut a small two-tier cake after the buffet-style dinner of sausage, pasta and salads, but also offered guests a variety of small cheesecakes and other desserts from several Bellingham bakeries.

They now live in Mountlake Terrace, with Megan attending nursing school and Zack working at Boeing.

Reach DEAN KAHN at dean.kahn@bellinghamherald.com or call 715-2291.

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