— -- While many couples fondly remember the moment of their engagement as a "storybook proposal," one man has taken the phrase to an entirely new level.
Chad Akins of Pompano Beach, Florida, recently proposed to his longtime love Kaitlyn Phillips after having her read a custom storybook he commissioned to illustrate how he felt about her.
Watch a Florida Man Take His Marriage Proposal Underwater
After meeting in college, the pair had dated on and off for years, always acknowledging a strong connection but at times stifled by living in different places (Seattle, New York, Florida), countries (Colombia, Great Britain) and other circumstances.
But the pair kept in touch and finally, after reconnecting online, it appeared that both were interested in transforming the flirtatious friendship into a serious relationship.
"In May of last year I flew from England to NYC to visit Kait," wrote Akins on the couple's wedding page on The Knot. "On that trip it seemed like things finally clicked. It was finally natural, we complemented each other well and had so much fun just enjoying the other's company."
Once they were united, it wasn't long before Akins began looking for a way to propose.
He began by writing a poem for Phillips. Then, inspired by printed materials used at his employer OneHope, a children and youth mission organization, Akins decided to commission a book to illustrate the poem.
A freelance illustrator hired via Freelancer.com, translated Akins' poem into images of he and Phillips taking a new journey.
When Akins finally presented the completed children's book called "Kaitlyn's Great Adventure," Phillips welled up with tears.
"I read it to her and as I got to the line on the last page which asks 'Kaitlyn, will you be my wife?' she muttered a tearful 'yes' and hugged me," he said in an announcement. "The wedding will be this summer and we are so excited to start our life together."