Charlotte, will you marry me?

Last Updated on by Charlotte van de Sande

Thursday morning, March 7, the sun is shining, it is 15 degrees below zero and we are in Lapland. Together with Ries, I am standing in the middle of a beautiful snowy lake in a completely white environment posing for a photo when Ries suddenly kneels down. He asks me if I want to marry him and I say yes! Or actually, my first reaction is “OF COURSE” after which he asks if ‘of course’ is a real yes, after which I say ‘YES’!

It feels weird to write a blog about this. The moment was so magical and special … by putting it down on paper and sharing it with the world it almost feels as if I am impairing it. A part of me wants to keep it to ourselves, but then another part wants to shout from the rooftops that I am engaged to the sweetest, most handsome en best person in the whole world!!! So let’s give it a try:


Our story

Ries and I have been together for almost ten years. We come from the same region in Limburg (the South of The Netherlands) but didn’t go to the same secondary schools. When we met through Hyves (a Dutch forerunner of Facebook) and common friends, we became very close in a short time. Ries was (and still is) my best friend. Even though Ries studied and lived in Maastricht during weekdays, I saw him at least once a week. Hundreds of cups of cappuccino were served while we chatted for hours at a local restaurant in Weert. Ries tried to teach me how to squash, not a great success because physically I am hopeless and completely the opposite of Ries, who seems to be able to do everything in terms of sport. We celebrated my graduation by a day trip to Antwerp and I joined him secretly to some lectures at his University in Maastricht.

After being best friends for a year, I discovered that I had fallen in love with Ries. In terms of timing not really a favourable moment: Ries would leave a month later to Madrid for a half year university exchange and I would start working full-time as a model in, among others, London. But oh well, I didn’t care about timing and so on June 1, 2009,  I ‘hit on’ Ries by taking him on a picnic and drinking together a bottle of champagne. After our first kiss, I asked if he wanted to be my boyfriend, although I expressed myself differently: “I don’t want to lose my best friend, so if we continue to kiss, you will be my boyfriend, oke?”. Ries, who actually liked me already for a long time, immediately agreed with my not so romantic proposal!Ries en Charlotte 2009 Londen

Travelling between Madrid and London

A month later, Ries left for Madrid and I went to London. Luckily I could work a lot in Madrid and I visited him every few weeks. Then we slept in his single bed, he went to university during the day and I did castings or shoots. Our first year was very nice, but sometimes a bit hard as well. We were very young, sometimes lived far apart and suddenly had to find a completely new balance now that we were no longer ‘just’ friends. We had both lows and highs, but we loved each other and so we managed to find, bit by bit, more steady grounds.

After a year of modelling, I decided to go to university and I moved to Maastricht, where Ries had just finished his bachelor. During the day, we studied individually or went to lectures, in the evening we both went to pubs with our own friends, but there wasn’t a single night that we didn’t sleep in the same bed. Just like Ries, I went to Madrid for my economics exchange and at the same time Ries graduated and moved to Amsterdam for his first job. After my bachelor, I followed him and together we found an apartment in Amsterdam. That, incidentally, was not for long, since Ries was offered to go work in Sao Paulo for three months. Fortunately, afterwards he came back to Amsterdam and we could finally live together for real.

Charlotte Plans a Trip

The following years were great. I graduated, found my first and then my second job. We made the most beautiful trips, culminating in our four-month world trip. Together we started a blog (Travel Planners) to share our experiences and photos with friends and family. This quickly grew into something bigger and we discovered how well we could work together (something that we always thought to be very hard). And even though this blog is now called ‘Charlotte Plans a Trip’, Ries is just as much part of this website as I am.French Polynesia


The Proposal

Okay, maybe this is a very big run-up to what this blog is all about, but this is all part of our story. This is the history of Ries and me, our story so far. And this is also what Ries tells me when he sits kneeling down into the snow, after which he asks me if I want to marry him. For a moment I have the feeling that I will faint, but then I decide that’s not a convenient moment and so I yell “Of course!”! Ries slides a beautiful ring around my finger and it dazzles me with happiness!

In the background our friends Thomas and Christine, involved in the conspiracy, make photos and videos. They are very good friends with whom we make this trip through Lapland. Thomas is a good photographer and makes beautiful pictures, so he is the perfect person to record this proposal. When Ries and I are done kissing, they immediately congratulate us. Back in our lodge, we drink a bottle of delicious Champagne.

A hundred questions

A hundred questions pop up in my head. I am completely surprised by this proposal and didn’t see it coming at all. The answers: Ries asked my father for my hand at the end of September and then had a ring designed with help at a distance from my mother! The ring is dazzling and exactly what I like! Then he decided to ask me to marry in the midst of the snow in Lapland and asked Thomas and Christine for help. Furthermore, nobody knew anything about this! During the trip, Christine apparently distracted me several times, for example, when Ries had to show his bag (containing the ring) at customs!

Early in the morning, after breakfast, Thomas suggested to take a walk in the beautiful surroundings where our hotel is located, to shoot some photos. I didn’t notice a thing, Ries, Thomas and Christine didn’t act nervous or tensed at all. While walking Thomas saw a nice spot to take some pictures and he commands us to walk on the lake to pose for the photo. And then all of a sudden Ries tells me how much he loves me, that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and we are engaged!

Proposal engagementThe grin that I have on my face afterwards, can’t be removed in the past few days and yeah you can imagine that the rest of this vacation is absolutely amazing! In the evening we go out for dinner and afterwards, we see the Northern lights for the fourth evening in a row. I feel drunk with happiness and a magical end to this amazing tip!

To be continued 😉


* Yes, get ready for lots of superlatives in this blog. Sorry, I can’t write this without all of those words, just too happy!

Itinerary: two or three weeks in Guatemala!
All you need to know about driving a snowmobile in Lapland!

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