After living in Providence for one year with my boyfriend Blake, I was accepted to graduate school in Florida. In August of 2007 we left everything behind to embark on a journey together, saying goodbye to our family, our friends and our jobs. After two years in Florida the economy sank and we had no choice but for Blake to move back to Massachusetts. This was not easy for either of us, but one week from today I am moving back to be with him.

One year ago I flew home to be with Blake and my family for the Fourth of July. After spending the day enjoying cookouts, Blake suggested we go to dinner at Hemenways to watch the fireworks in Providence and visit WaterFire… WaterFire was one of Blake and my favorite things to enjoy together while living in Providence, so I thought the idea was wonderful… Little did I know!

We arrived at Hemenways and enjoyed a wonderful meal overlooking the water. As the sun began to set we could see the blue lit-up stars of Starry, Starry Night hanging from all of the trees. After dinner I asked Blake if we could go see the stars because they were beautiful, and he agreed. As we began walking to the field there were Luminaria candle lanterns all along the walkways, each illuminating a written dedication.

Blake stopped and said “let’s read some.” As my gaze turned to a dedication reading “Forever my partner in crime… Dancing the night away in South Beach,” I realized that they were about us. They recounted special moments and memories that the two of us had shared together.

The candlelit path led us to a circle full of a dozen Luminaria each with a special memory. In the middle hung a blue lit star with a ribbon hanging from it. Blake led me to the star at the center of the circle and asked me what the ribbon said. As I turned to read it, now with tears in my eyes, I read “Christie, will you marry me?” I turned back to Blake and there he was, on one knee, holding a beautiful ring. He did say something at this point; God help me if I know what that was as I was shaking so much. Now, mind you, I thought every girl’s first reaction was to say “Yes!” Well, I was so excited I couldn’t even speak. Finally he whispered “if you say yes I can get up,” at which point it hit me to yell “Yes of course!”

You would think the excitement ended there, but it didn’t. As he stood up two men holding bright torches led us by firelight over a bridge and to a private area just for us. Here there was a bottle of champagne on ice awaiting us with two glasses. Just as we popped the bottle the fireworks began.

Blake later explained that he had talked with Barnaby and that WaterFire had helped him arrange the evening through their Celebrate program.

WaterFire will forever have a special place in both of our hearts. I know I have said it before, but thank you again to everyone at WaterFire for making my engagement a wonderful experience.

– Christie Sylvia

Blake and Christie just bought their first home, and are moving in together this June. We congratulate them on their upcoming wedding in Newport on August 14th!

If you were touched by Christie and Blake’s story and would like more information on planning your own special occasion at WaterFire, you can visit our Celebrate website or send us an email at celebrate@waterfire.org.

Let WaterFire add light, joy, & art to all of the special moments in your life!

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