Our Story Of How We Became Engaged

Hello All! As promised, here is our story. How it all began…

Before Cassandra and Shaun knew each other, their mutual friends Will and Asa created an innovative speaker series called Beyond Talks, which focuses on innovators and athletes in adventure sports. On May 6, 2013, Cassandra and Shaun attended a Beyond Talks event featuring professional rock climber Tommy Caldwell. After the event, Will graciously introduced Cassandra and Shaun (Thanks, Will!), then invited them to join he and a bunch of friends at Hapa for sushi and drinks. Cassandra and Shaun had an easy, heartfelt conversation that made it feel as though they had known each other for years, not mere minutes. Despite sharing mutual friends for some time, they had never met before or even knew of the other’s existence. Looking back at how good the timing was for both of them to meet at that moment, it must have been fate.

Three wonderful years have gone by and Cassandra and Shaun have enjoyed so many incredible adventures together. They have traveled the world together and purchased their dream home in the rocky mountains of Colorado. The timing was right for them to take the next step in their life journey together.

While Cassandra was away on a trip, Shaun spent the weekend of November 21st, 2015 visiting Cassandra’s family in California to celebrate the family’s Saint Archangel Michael’s Slava (Saint’s Day). That Friday evening, Shaun took Cassandra’s parents (Randy and Heidi) out to the restaurant Taste in Plymouth to formally ask them both for Cassandra’s hand in marriage. Luckily for Shaun, they agreed.  The following day, many of the extended family members came over to celebrate Slava and eat some of Randy and Heidi’s amazing cooking.   Unbeknownst to any of the family clan, Shaun had been in discussion with the Farrar family next door and purchased a young goat from them. After excusing himself from the delicious feast, he mumbled something about a surprise gift. Moments later, he was spotted driving up the mile-long driveway in the Farrar’s ATV with a cute, young, floppy-eared goat in tow.

Shaun boldly lifted the young goat out of the bobcat. Man and goat walked across the front yard in the Fall sunshine to the blind-folded Randy, who was surrounded by excited family members. The blindfold was taken off and Shaun presented Randy with the bleating goat.  Shaun explained that the goat was named Tanner and that Tanner represented the old Serbian tradition of a “bride-price”.  Shaun, having done his research on Serbian and German traditions (Cassandra’s heritage), had found out that it is an old Serbian tradition for the suitor to provide a girl’s father with a “bride-price” of a cow or goat to show his seriousness about being a part of the family and his willingness to take care of the girl and her family.  Even though Tanner the Goat was intended to be the main course at Randy and Heidi’s next feast, he quickly won the hearts of the Ilich Family and was adopted into the family fold. Tanner leads a happy life with Boban and Branka Ilich on their farm near Sacramento.

Over the ensuing winter months, Shaun, being the hopeless romantic and creative engineer that he is, designed Cassandra’s engagement ring with 3-D CAD (Computer Aided Design).  With the modern marvels of 3-D printing, he was able to get his design manufactured in white gold. He carefully picked out the marquis blue sapphire centerpiece (Cassandra’s birthstone and symbol of faithfulness, truth and loyalty), paired by round yellow sapphires and inlaid with six white diamonds. He set the stones himself and buffed the ring until it sparkled.

Flash-forward to March 2016. Cassandra and Shaun decided to escape the Colorado snow and take a winter holiday to visit Shaun’s grandmother (Bonnie Reed) in Florida and then on to the Bahamas to earn their ASA Sailing License whilst sailing the islands in the Sea of Abaco. On March 10th, after a full day of sailing in the sunshine and surf, Cassandra and Shaun anchored off of Tahiti Beach on Elbow Cay. Shaun suggested that even though the beach was more-or-less isolated, they dress up in their nicest clothes and do a date-night on the beach. Since this sort of thing isn’t out of the realm of “normal” for these two, Cassandra whole-heartily agreed, never suspecting what Shaun had planned. Dressed up and with a bottle of Malbec wine in hand, Cassandra and Shaun motored the dingy over to Tahiti Beach. Sitting on the beach together as the sun began to set, Shaun told Cassandra how much he loved her and how thankful he was to have her in his life. He romantically got down on one knee and a little too quickly blurted out, “Will you marry me?” A very surprised Cassandra quickly replied, “YES!!! DEFINITELY!”

Shaun always liked to say that there are three major events in a person’s life: their birth, their death, and the celebration of their marriage. All three are beautiful in their own way, but only at the celebration of their marriage can life be truly honored with all of their friends and family and all of the friends and family of the one person in their life who matters most.

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We are very excited to take this next step in their life journey together and celebrate this milestone with you!


Cassandra & Shaun

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