‘Real-Life Love Stories’: Proposal in a photo booth

This is the fifth instalment of Lesbian.com’s February Love Special, Real-Life Love Stories! Every week this month, we will be posting love stories submitted by our readers. Want to share your story?

Lauren and Darcie are a beautiful pair from San Francisco that  love their communities as much as they love each other. After Darcie had all but given up on true love, Lauren stole her heart!

Lesbian couple getting married.

Lauren, left, and Darcie, on their wedding day.

Who they are:

Lauren: I am a Deputy Sheriff with the Marin County Sheriff’s Department.

Darcie: I’m currently a private childcare provider who enjoys volunteering whenever I can. I am fortunate to work with a non-profit that helps provide a tuition-free, literacy-focused after school and summer program for underserved youth in the Tenderloin and Western Addition neighborhoods of San Francisco. I have also had the amazing opportunity over the last year to be a part of creating some community service projects for Sweet. Besides my wife, my volunteer work makes my heart truly happy. I’d say my philosophy in approaching life is to try and make things better than when I found them and to respect all things around me. I admit I am far from perfect but continually strive to be a better person. I hope to be an example for younger generations. I want foster a fascination and respect for the environment by connecting inner city youth with the outdoors.

Who they are as a couple:

Darcie: Lauren and I are the couple that doesn’t go out as often as some but love to have a good time.  We especially love adventures and being active whenever we can. Our favorite thing to do is to pack an awesome picnic and take a day trip down the coastline, to wine country, hiking, zip lining or whatever we come up with next! We love to make dinner together or with friends and have good conversations with great food and a glass of wine.

Lauren: If I had to name a “philosophy” for our life it would definitely be that we like to give back to the community and help others. Darcie has set up multiple volunteer projects that serve at-risk youth. She keeps me busy with volunteer projects!

Love stories all start somewhere:

Lauren: We met in 2005. I was still in college and I worked at a coffee shop with one of Darcie’s friends. I can remember the first time we met, I thought she was so beautiful. That mutual friend ended up having a birthday party later in the year, and Darcie and I were both invited. We just hit it off, we were inseparable, and have been for 7 years now. Darcie is my family now.

How they got together:

Lauren: I don’t remember who asked who out! We just both gravitated toward each other.

Darcie: I think it was Lauren who asked me out first. We went to her friend’s potluck soup party for the first half of the night. I was nervous to be in a room filled with her friends but felt comfortable and happy to be with her. It was so packed, we sat on the floor and held hands while we chatted with the people around us. We ended up talking in the car for two hours before we said good night. And it was a good night.

How they knew it was the real thing:

Lauren: There is no one single thing that makes Darcie “the one.” She is the complete package. She is such an amazing woman: beautiful, smart and she has the kindest heart. We share a lot of the same interests (cooking, camping, being outdoors). I guess I knew she was the one when I started thinking about my future, she was always in the picture.

Darcie: When I first met Lauren, I was recovering from a relationship that had really brought me to my knees. I had decided forever love didn’t exist and that while I was able to be very committed to her and had no interest in dating other people, I couldn’t say we were going to be together forever. This put a little strain in the way we viewed our relationship but we knew we loved one another deeply and had no desire to breakup. We moved in together one year after we started dating. It was about three years into our relationship when I had a glorious realization. I realized how truly in love I am with her and even the slightest thought of losing her made my heart feel sadness I can’t express. It was that exact moment I started to plan how I was going to propose to her.

The Proposal and Celebrations

Darcie: Lauren and I love to take photo booth photos together and have been collecting photo strips since we started dating. I hatched this plan to propose to her in a photo booth and secretly invited all of our friends to be witnesses and celebrate in our love with us. (I hope that’s not too squishy or makes you want to hurl!) Even when forty of our friends just “happened to be at the bar” where the photo booth is, she had no idea I had set it all up. When we headed into the booth to take a photo, I had my best friend switch out the new photo strip for one I had taken earlier that day while Lauren was out work. This photo strip pictured me with a different heart in each of the four frames that read ” Will You Marry Me?” As she looked at the photo strip after we came out of the booth our friends gathered around us and I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She was speechless. She finally choked out a “yes” through tears of joy. Phew. We were married a little over a year later in September of 2011.

Lauren: Darcie and I got married (unfortunately not legally, but we are domestic partners) in September of 2011. We did the whole thing in Golden Gate park, all outdoors. We had the ceremony at the Dutch Windmill, then had a catered picnic wedding in Marx Meadow. It was such an amazing day. We relied heavily on friends and family to bring the whole thing to fruition, and everyone came together to make it amazing! We had originally planned to get married on 09/10/11 but we had to change plans when we found out a free concert was being held in the park that same day. We didn’t want to compete with thousands of people so we switched the date to the following weekend. It worked out great because 09/10/11 was an ugly overcast day, and the day we ended up getting married it was 80 degrees, sunny and beautiful the whole day!

What challenges have you been through that have cemented your bond?

Lauren: Going through the Police Academy was definitely a challenge. I spent 5 months training in Windsor. I lived there Monday-Friday and would only come home to San Francisco on the weekends. Even when I was home, I was usually studying and preparing for the upcoming week. Darcie was extremely supportive of me during that time. She gave me a ton of encouragement and even let me practice my handcuffing and arrest techniques on her!

Darcie: Lauren worked a graveyard shift for three years up until a few months ago. She would come home from work at 7 AM and I would walk out the door for work at 7:15. We didn’t have any days off together and the time we did have, I was often beat from ten hour work days. By the time the end of dinner rolled around, I was ready for bed. Meanwhile, she would be up until at least 3 AM because of the schedule she was on. It was nearly impossible for us to find time to connect and be with one another. At times it put a tremendous strain on us because we felt like ships passing in the night. We started making formal dates to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have each other and to make what time we did have meaningful and worthwhile. We learned to put true efforts into communicating effectively what we were feeling and committed ourselves to not giving up. We chose to see the tough place we were in as a temporary stop on our journey together. Our bigger picture was worth it. Without the tough times, because we all know they happen no matter how amazing a relationship is, we wouldn’t be us. We’re partners, in every sense of the word. She’s my best friend, my biggest fan, someone who challenges me while lifting me up, my lover, my love, my wife.

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