by Derik Nelson
I just got engaged.
That’s right, the person behind the music proposed to the person who inspires the music.
I’m SO proud to introduce you to my incredible fiancée (AHH!! can’t believe I can finally actually say that!), Camille!
It was an idyllic autumn afternoon in the Pacific Northwest, and all Camille knew was that I was taking her somewhere "as a surprise date” because she had a few days off of work, and to “wear something nice” because we’d be “going straight to dinner.” All a grand facade, of course.
What really happened at Alderbrook Resort on Washington State’s scenic Hood Canal, framed by mountains, evergreen trees, and the late harvest sparkle of the Puget Sound, was that I had secretly arranged for both of our families to be hiding out on a boat at the edge of the dock. Camille is a private person, and doesn’t particularly enjoy attention or people looking at her. In fact, that’s what I wrote the first line of the song “All the Time” about:
She’d be in good company
On the pages of a magazine
But she doesn’t care for fame,
She doesn’t care for fame.
We walked for what felt like miles to the edge of that dock. My heart was pounding, my mouth was dry, and my pocket was burning with a diamond ring and a seemingly simple question safely tucked inside. In all of my years of stage and performance experience, this was a strange and foreign version of nervousness that I’m not sure I’ll ever experience again in my life. With my love of words and songwriting, I of course had been preparing a meticulous script for weeks. Riana was an amazing coordinator, and helped me craft the logistics around the entire plan, and I met with her, Dalten, and mom the night before to go over the details one last time. They made me show them my knee pose to make sure I didn’t look too much like Gumby (spoiler alert, I still kinda did), and advised me to stay in the moment. To trust my heart, trust my gut, and most of all, trust Camille.
So I scrapped the entire script.
We got to the edge of the dock to the pre-arranged spot (my bro Dalten helped make sure there was a mat laid out in advance because my biggest fear and recurring nightmare was dropping the ring through the cracks in the dock), hugged each other, looked in each other’s eyes, exchanged a few words that are just for us to know, and the moment was gifted to me. I dropped to a knee.
I’ll never forget the way her beautiful face looked, the tears in her eyes, and the way she squeezed my hand tightly right before she said yes.
But the surprise wasn’t over! After sharing our private moment where time stood still, Camille and I turned around to reveal both of our families, including her sister who flew up from LA! I knew Camille would want the proposal to be private and intimate, but that she would also want to call her parents, call her sister, and tell our families.
This was my creative solution to accomplishing both, and it came together magically thanks to Riana, Mom, Dalten, both of our families, and the wonderful staff at Alderbrook Resort.
It was the most beautiful perfect metaphor to sail off into the sunset with both of our families literally ON BOARD.
With a whooooole lot of love from the very tippy top of cloud nine,