For most people, going to the Ski to Sea parade means having fun while sitting on the sidelines as colorful floats go by.
But on May 23, 2015, as Troy McKinnon looked at his family and his girlfriend’s family around him as the parade was starting, he knew it would be different that year.
With little notice or planning, Troy grabbed Stefanie’s hand, pulled her to the middle of the street between floats, got down on one knee and asked her to be his bride.
He’d been carrying the ring around for some time, waiting for the right moment. Once he realized they were surrounded by friends and family, he went for it.
“It was amazing. It was a really great thing,” Troy says. “The Bellingham TV station came over and we did an interview with them afterwards.”
They met in middle school and dated during high school, but didn’t get back in touch until a decade later.
Stefanie says she was stunned by the proposal.
“I started to cry,” she says. “The real kicker to it is that Troy is a really, really shy guy. He doesn’t like speaking to big crowds, doesn’t like to be the center of attention. For him to do something this huge and this monumental and this very public was so unexpected and so amazing.”
The 42-year-old Bellingham natives first met in middle school, then dated before graduating from high school in the early ’90s.
A decade passed before they got back in touch when Stefanie, who is a purchasing agent, sent Troy, a machinist, condolences after his relative died in a car accident. By 2013, they were back together.
Comparatively, the turnaround from their proposal to their wedding day was incredibly fast. On June 27, a month after the parade proposal, they married, in part to ensure that Stefanie’s ill father, who would be flying from Florida, could see the ceremony.
They were married at the Fairhaven Library in front of 75 friends and family members.
Rather than have her step-father or father walk her down the aisle, Stefanie had her 3-year-old grandson Liam do the honor.
“He did so well, too!” she says.
The library was a fitting setting, as Stefanie has always been a book lover, and the historic building appealed to Troy’s love of architecture.
In a play on the fact that it took each of them a first marriage and two decades before getting back together, Stefanie’s cousin made bookmarks for the guests in the style of old library checkout cards that said “overdue wedding.”
A friend married them, and they had food prepared by Diego’s Mexican Grill and Take Out before dancing and socializing.
Rather than take a traditional honeymoon, they have been taking weekend trips. So far they’ve been to Oregon, the Olympic Peninsula, and a Seattle Seahawks football game.
They plan to go to some place warmer come spring.