Paul and Erika met on August 2, 2014 at a Hawaiian Murder Mystery party hosted by a singles ministry group that they were both members of. “To be perfectly clear,” Erika said, “it was not a dating group, it was just a group for like-minded people to get together and participate in fun activities.” The fact that they met there was serendipity.

Neither Paul nor Erika really wanted to go to the party, each for different reasons. He didn't have anything ‘Hawaiian’ to wear, and Erika had had one of those days that was a disaster from the start. “True to our personalities, we made the commitments to go -- so we went,” said Erika. “So, as it goes when you get to a party and don't know anyone, I checked Facebook, made small talk with some of the other guests, had a couple of bites to eat and tried to get into the groove of the party.”

Pretty soon, it was time to try to solve the mystery, so Erika sat next to Paul. Side note: He says Erika spoke to him first. She says, if “Is this seat taken?” counts, then sure. Erika was paired up with a young lady on her left, (with Paul sitting on her right). As the two of them discussed the ins and outs of the crime, she finally noticed this third member – Paul!

“We laughed and had a great time and I solved the mystery correctly (because I'm a genius), joked Erika, “and at the end of the night we went our separate ways.”

“A couple of days later, I got an email from Paul, reintroducing himself and giving me his number. I replied with mine, oblivious to the fact that he was obviously hitting on me, thinking he just wanted to hang out as friends. Well, he asked me out.”

The pair had their first date at a restaurant called Seasons 52. It lasted five hours. “We ended up closing the place down. The conversation was amazing and neither of us wanted it to end.” At the end of the date, Paul will tell you that Erika kissed him, an ending she strongly denies, but since he’s so passionate about that kiss, she lets him tell his version of the story.

Paul & Erika have been inseparable ever since.

“It's cliché, of course, but we are truly one person in two different bodies. We finish each other’s sentences. Think the same things. Have the same mannerisms - one night while in bed we both sighed and adjusted the covers to our necks at the exact same time - in the EXACT same way.

We order the same food - then have to order a different dish so we don't have the same thing - then switch once it arrives because we both want what the other has. Happens every. single. time. He is my soul mate,” Erika beamed.

Erika had been expecting it for some time, but felt like he would NEVER do it! There were several occasions when the couple would go somewhere and Paul would set her up by saying, "I have a huge surprise for you. You're going to love it. I'm so excited about it, I can't wait. I want to tell you but I can't." And then he would reveal a surprise biplane ride, or a romantic trip to San Antonio. Never a ring.

So, when the couple went on vacation to Costa Rica for Erika’s birthday she was hoping, but not certain, that it would happen. Again, Paul used the ‘huge surprise’ line, but day after day went by and no ring.

“I even thought I saw a ring box in the X-ray at the airport, but while we were waiting at the gate, he pulls out a GoPro which was the perfect ring box size,” Erika said, “That knocked the wind was out of my sails and I let that balloon sail off into the sunset.”

Erika’s birthday comes and goes... no ring.

Beautiful snorkel trip... no ring.

Amazing hike into the rainforest... nada.

Day after day went by -- no dice.

By the time the last day of the trip arrived, Erika had completely given up the ghost. “We went into the city to a mall and he bought me a silver ring charm as my birthday gift, to which I teased him, "So I guess this is the only ring I get for my birthday," Erika confided. “He laughed it off, but in his head had bigger plans. He totally made a jerk out of me by the end of the day!”

Once the couple returned to their hotel, it was time to start packing their belongings to leave Costa Rica. “So he says, “Hey, lets go watch the sunset and grab some drinks, it’s our last night,” Erika recalled fondly.

As the pair enjoyed the evening, Paul tells Erika he wants to take a picture in front of the sunset, and hands her phone to people at a nearby table. “Here I am posing when all of a sudden, BOOM, he’s down on one knee! I was confused and couldn’t figure out what was happening, then the realization hit me, and the tears started to flow!” Erika beamed. “I said yes and that was that. I was surprised as ever!”

Paul and Erika were engaged at sunset on the top of a mountain in Costa Rica.

In a word... PERFECT

Photographer: Dear Wesleyann

www.dearwesleyann.com