When I met my now-husband in 2008 I had told him that I had not gone on any vacations in my adult life. He took this as a challenge to whisk me away to exciting adventures at every possible chance. So I had no suspicions when he planned a trip for us on my birthday in June 2010 to Mackinac Island in Michigan. He insisted on driving the entire 8 hours himself and I was at a loss as to why he seemed so stressed out by the time we got there (I know, I’m oblivious). We took the ferry from the mainland and were immersed in the special place that is Mackinac. If you don’t know, one of the most awesome things about this island is that there are no cars allowed – so everyone gets around by horse. It has created a little bubble in time for the island and those who live on it. Its yearly inhabitants only number in a few hundred because of the fact that the island is unreachable except by snow mobile when the lake freezes over in the winter. It really is a charming place. And the Lilac festival was being held the weekend after we were there – lucky for us the lilacs had bloomed a little early and the entire island was fragrant and awash in purple. The one plan Daniel had made before we got to the island was to make reservations for dinner the last night we were there. When he had called the hotel we were staying at to make reservations he had asked the owner (who happens to also be the mayor, it turns out) where she and her husband would go for a special dinner. That was the place we were going to have to take a 45 minute carriage ride to for our special dinner. Of course, we were a bit late getting ready, so our carriage actually left without us! Daniel was sweating bullets at this point. But we called the company and they sent another carriage right over and we were on our way. It was a bit chilly so Daniel offered me his jacket. I was certainly content cuddled up to my man being driven through lush, quite woods on a brisk June evening. Dinner was delightful (I had the Michigan cherry stuffed chicken) and Daniel and I went to take a walk around the grounds of the beautiful hotel where we had eaten. As we came to a cliff which Daniel insisted we were going to have to climb down to get to the shore, I glanced in disbelief from the steep drop to my nice heels. As I was attempting to argue with him that this was a bad idea, he hugged me tightly and told me how much he loved me, that his life had been all leading up to meeting me. I was wondering if this was a ploy to try and get me down that ridiculous hill. Then he dropped to one knee and I honestly have no idea what came out of his mouth next. I think it was something like “marry me”, or at least I hope so because I whispered “yes” as quickly as I could. He stood up and hugged me and we kissed one of those beautiful movie kisses that make everyone in the theater swoon. Afterwards I found out that Daniel had looked at the satellite image of that area and did not realize the drop between the hotel and the shoreline – he had wanted to propose with the Mackinac Bridge behind us. I also found out he had already cleared this with the manager of the hotel so they had champagne and desert waiting for us when we came back in. He had also arranged for a private carriage to take us back to our hotel – one that would circle the entire island for a romantic ride under the stars. And as we sat in our carriage for two, he broke out a laptop, opened it up, and played a beautiful video for me. The first part was filled with pictures of our relationship – the great times we had had together, and was set to the song “Over the Rainbow” from 50 First Dates (one of our favorite movies). Once the song ended, I was greeted by the smiling face of my father. It turned out Daniel had driven the 3 hours both ways to ask my father’s blessing several months before our engagement. He had then asked my father and step-mother to make a video congratulating us! The next video included Daniel’s parents, the next our best friends, and then the last was my mother’s family. A month before this trip we had taken a trip to Houston to see my little cousin graduate high school and my mother’s three brothers had all been there – and Daniel had asked each of them for their blessing since my mother had passed away and could not give it herself. The end of this video was my Uncle Roger in a fish lens telling Daniel, “If she said ‘no’, call me… immediately!”. Well, thankfully, I said “yes”. Daniel and I were married 6 months later in a small ceremony that is still the talk of our families. And we look forward to even more wonderful adventures.
This story needs a preface, then it needs a 2nd preface, then we can dive into it. So Adam asked me parents if he could marry me back in February of 2013. You may also note that the proposal happened in late May. So yes, it took Adam a while to pull off what you are about to read, and yes, it did take so stinking long that my parents thought Adam changed his mind. In reality, Adam wasn’t willing to start ring shopping or start his master proposal plan until my parents had signed off on it. Also, having never scrapbooked before, he didn’t realize how time consuming it would be to create what he called a scrapbook scavenger hunt. Basically, he made a scrapbook that every 4th page was a clue in the form of a poem that took me to another place that was meaningful to us. The trip was 10 stops in all and ended up taking 4 hours. That way at the end I would’ve built a scrapbook in addition to the whole proposal. So here goes the story.
Preface #1: So Adam started making trips down to Columbus to shop for engagement rings (at Argo of course), specifically going on weekends I couldn’t come and under the guise of some excuse about visiting the family. He had to make sure that I had no idea the proposal was coming because the surprise is the best part. The proposal story we get to tell for the rest of our lives so he wanted to make it a good one. So amidst the hunt for the perfect ring for me, Adam was working full time on a scrapbook of all the time Adam and I had gotten to spend together. He had been keeping ticket stubs from events, mementos from their travels in Europe and lots of pictures because I had always said growing up I liked scrapbooking but found I didn’t have time for it when I got to high school (now Adam understands why!). Given I frequently visited his house, Adam had to keep all of the supplies for scrapbooking and the pages he had made stashed in his closets downstairs. There were a couple close calls when he left supplies laying out and I came over unexpectedly but luckily his cover was never blown (I found all of this out after the fact). And yes, he did start getting mailers from Michael’s from having shopped there so much for supplies. Adam also employed my mom for help and had her e-mail me asking me to come home and spend Mother’s Day weekend with her so that Adam could have the whole weekend to work on the scrapbook.
Preface #2: So to properly tell the proposal story itself, we also have to step back a day before the proposal, to Friday May 24th. I had just graduated from Case Law School the weekend before and so Adam told me that for a graduation gift he wanted to get me a manicure and pedicure. So that night we went to, in my mind, cash in on a graduation present, but in Adam’s mind this was just step one in the preparation of my hand for the next day…..
We had been talking for months about going hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to celebrate a year of dating, but with my law school and graduation, we never got a chance to do it. Adam told me that they should do it the weekend after my graduation ceremony. On the morning of May 25th, I headed to Adam’s house around noon. On my way over, he sent me a text saying he was running late (as usual) and that I should just come through the garage and up to his room. When I got there he was not there. But left on his bed was a scrapbook, 2 CD’s, gas money, and a camera with extra batteries. The title of the scrapbook was “4 Seasons” (my mom had always told me you have to date 4 seasons before you can get engaged). The CD’s were songs that reminded Adam of me and as I would soon find out, the lyrics of those songs were sprinkled throughout the pages of the scrapbook that I was about to drive around Cleveland putting together. The 4th page was where the scrapbook ended, but on the page was a poem that led me to the local rec center we work out at. After the front desk guy acted clueless for an hour (or maybe it wasn’t acting….) I got 3 more scrapbook pages with a 4th page that was the next poem clue.
So off I went to the house where the membership info meeting had been held the previous year for church. That was where Adam offered to give me a ride to the meeting and we first exchanged phone numbers. There I found 4 more pages with yet another slightly corny poem clue. The next poem led me to the Wine Spot, which is a small wine bar we went to as part of our first date. Now I knew how this game was played and started getting a little bit faster (and slightly aggressive) in my collection of the scrapbook pages and clues. That’s why when I got to the next clue (location of our 2nd date) I didn’t realize Adam’s friend Jamal was at the cafe trying to hand me a clue as I stormed right past on my way to the counter asking the employees if they had scrapbook pages for me. Once I had the next pages in hand, I knew the next stop was our friend’s house where we do Bible study. That poem clue took me to my mailbox which was significant because that’s where Adam had slipped a letter in the year before asking me out on a date with the option to check either “Yes”, “No”, or “Maybe”.
So, stop #8 took me down the street to the church where the pastor’s wife was waiting to hand me the next set of scrapbook pages and poem clue. This was significant because Adam and I met at church and I first found out about the church when I was walking by one morning and the pastor’s wife handed me a flyer inviting me to come check out the church, which I did a couple months later and met Adam as he was already a member there. At this point I was ~3 hours into the scavenger hunt so was less than thrilled to see that the next stop happened to be surrounded by protesters on the short west side of Cleveland (another date location). Luckily Adam’s buddy Jamal was there to hand off the next set of scrapbook pages with the next poem clue.
A little confused by the last clue, I headed to the Cleveland Institute of Music. The only time I’d been there before was when me and Adam had gone there the year before to see my close friend Sharon play her senior piano recital (Sharon had since moved to Chicago to start her career as a music teacher). When I showed up to the front desk and identified myself, the front desk lady didn’t say anything, but an unsuppressable smile came across her face as she held up a poster that said I needed to go to room 207. When I got there, my friend Sharon was sitting there and invited me into the room and told me she had a song just for me (The Luckiest, Ben Folds Five). I stood there listening to the song, thinking Sharon had the next scrapbook clue for me when Adam came from around the corner, told me he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and got down on one knee. Technically he did ask the question “will you marry me?” but once I saw the diamond ring all I heard was white noise and said “yes”. Adam had asked Sharon to come back just to be part of the proposal because he said that when we are at the recital the year before that was when he knew he felt differently about me and loved me. The last page he needed to put into the scrapbook was another page that asked me if I’d would marry him with the options once again to check “Yes”, “No” or “Maybe”. So I checked “Yes” and we put the final page into the scrapbook.
Adam wasn’t quite done with the surprises for the day though. So after I went home, got dressed up to go out to a fancy dinner to celebrate and ate in Little Italy, Adam convinced me that we should go for a walk on the trails near Adam’s house, but we needed to swing by his house first so he could get some better shoes to walk in. When we got to the house though, there was a surprise party with friends and family that Adam’s brother and sister-in-law had put together and so we all celebrated together for the rest of the evening. Check out our engagement photo album:https://picasaweb.google.com/doehrelan/OurEngagement.Continue Reading
Joey and I have been dating for 2 ½ years and an engagement was soon approaching. I mentioned to him that I knew it was coming and that he wouldn’t surprise me WHEN he proposed, but I wanted him to surprise me HOW he proposed. Well, the man sure did both. My cousin Maggie is a talented painter and high school art teacher. She is not only my family, she is my neighbor. We frequently will go over there for dinner or a glass of wine. Their home is always filled with amazing art and something new each time I go over there. Earlier in the week my mother asked if me and Joey (my now fiancé) wanted to go over to Maggie’s to order pizza and have a glass of wine. My father, Maggie’s husband Casey and their daughters Maureen, 19, and Katie, 16, would be there. When I asked Joey his response was “Do you want me to go?” (translation “Do I have to go?”) So from the beginning I had no suspicions about anything, because I was getting the feeling he didn’t want to go. Friday rolled around and I came home from work, touched up my face and decided not to change. We got to Maggie’s and were welcomed by the entire Flanagan clan! After taking pizza orders Maggie mentioned that she is in an art show. She recently painted a landscape of Ireland. The painting was in the living room, covered, and Katie, who always has some fun activity when we go over there, thought it would be fun to “reveal” it to all of us. We walk into the family room and Maggie pulls down the paper. I look up and I see a detailed painting of Joey proposing to me in EXACTLY what we both were wearing in that moment. I gasp “What is this?” and Maggie tells me “It’s not Ireland!” Before I knew it Joey was down on one knee asking “Will You Marry Me?!” I was filled with so many emotions, I finally answered YES! I proceeded to cry, give him my right hand before correcting myself and ask about 100 times “Are You Serious?” He then had planned a surprise engagement party with all of our family and friends. It was perfect! Joey had gone over to Maggie’s earlier to plan the entire thing! My mother even played my stand in for photos of inspiration earlier in the week. Friday morning he took a photo of me before I went into work and quickly sent it over to Maggie. She filled in my outfit before the end of the day so it would be PERFECT. More photos of reactions and the painting are here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10102095233666854.1073741833.12315744&type=1&l=69860043b2
We’d just settled in Clintonville, having both accepted our first jobs in Columbus after college. We were renting a house that needed a bit of work, and I was mopping the floors for the millionth time. Our first date had been accidental, on the Fourth of July. I sat next to him on a mutual friend’s roof top and we watched the fireworks together. We’d gone to preschool at the same center, and our parents had been friends, but it wasn’t until high school that our friendship blossomed. So several years later on July 4th, I shouldn’t have been surprised when Andy suggested we walk over to the Park of Roses. I had on a grease stained t-shirt, my hair in a pony-tail. I’m sure I didn’t smell as fresh as the flowers. But Andy got down on one knee and slipped my grandmother Eleanor’s engagement ring on my left hand. (the one my Grandpa Jack purchased at Argo & Lehne in 1947 – see photo of receipt!) We named our first born after my grandma – Celia Eleanor. We dreamed that someday she might even wear the ring. She died, though, when she was just four years old, from a neurodegenerative disorder called Batten Disease. There may not be harder circumstances for a marriage to survive than the loss of a child. We’re raising her younger brother’s now though, and relish in the joy and busy-ness they bring to our lives.
Sandor and I have been in a long distance relationship for 4.5 years now. We met back in 2005 at a Hungarian New Years Eve ball in Welland, Ontario. In 2009, we started driving 269 miles to see each other every other weekend and we look forward to turning this long distance relationship into a marriage. I was originally born in Transylvania and moved to the United States with my family in October of 2001. We had been dating for two years in October of 2011, and I was in the process of receiving my American citizenship. The Hungarian Hall in Toronto had been sold and Sandor had been trying to convince me to attend the final event, the annual Szekler ball. This turned out to be one of the largest events with over 600 people attending. I told Sandor that there was no way that I would attend as my Greencard was going to expire on the Monday after the ball. At the time my paperwork was submitted and I was awaiting my American citizenship. Two weeks before the ball I received my American citizenship. Sandor had already bought tickets to the Ball and now had to figure out how to get me a passport within two weeks. It usually takes 6-8 weeks to obtain a passport, but Sandor figured out that in Detroit they will issue a passport in 24 hours. The weekend before the ball, we went to Detroit to obtain my passport. We went on a Friday afternoon, and they told me that it would be ready by Monday and I would have to go and pick it up. The Tuesday before the ball is when I received the phone call that my passport was ready. I thought that it was odd that my parents were going to this ball, along with my brother and Sandor’s entire family. He and I usually go to these Hungarian balls because we love to dance and have a nice Hungarian cooked meal. In the middle of all my passport troubles, the exam that I was supposed to take the Wednesday before the ball got moved to the Monday after. I was still going to go to the ball, after all this trouble, but I was just really stressed out because it was a big exam. The day of the ball, I was studying for my exam while Sandor was running around getting ready and doing very secretive things, but I was too busy to try to figure out what he was up to. Sandor lives about an hour from Toronto, so after studying all day I wanted to chit chat with him during our car ride to the ball. He was persistent that I study on the way there, but I didn’t want to. So what he did instead of talking to me is cranked up the music so he wouldn’t have to talk to me. I thought it was odd, but I just went with it. During dinner, everyone was acting so strange and talking very nervously. Sandor barely touched his food, and he always has a good appetite. I asked him if everything was okay, and as he said yes sweat dripped down the side of his face. I noticed that he was still wearing his tux coat and it was warm in the hall. I asked him to take his jacket off since he was sweating, and he wouldn’t do it. I started taking it off for him, and then he snapped at me and told me to leave him alone. I was taken back a bit, but since everyone was acting strange I figured I was just missing something. It turned out later that the ring was in his coat pocket. A few minutes after dinner, we both walked to the bathroom and he said that he would wait for me right outside. Three minutes later, I come out and he wasn’t there. I figured he went to go get a drink. He wasn’t in the bar either. Hmm strange. As I walked back into the hall his best friend Christina handed me our door prize tickets and told me that Sandor had gone to the bathroom. I took the tickets and sat down next to my friend Zsuzsa. I thought to myself, I usually don’t win anything, why should I bother looking at the numbers so I just put the tickets on the table not paying attention to the raffle. Once they were calling out the numbers, Christina was waving her tickets in my face so I would look at mine. I was like okay, okay I will look at mine. And what do you know? I won the first raffle. I thought I won a nice bottle of wine, but on my way up to the stage, I saw the MC grab a huge vase of roses. I was thinking to myself “Oh great, how am I going to take these across the border?” As soon as the MC gave me the flowers, Sandor came out from behind the stage with a microphone in his hand shaking. Then it hit me “Oh my God, is this really happening? Here? Now?” Throughout his whole speech, all I could think about was not crying so he could get through his speech. People had no idea what was going on for the first few minutes, but as soon as he dropped to one knee, all 600 people were whistling and cheering. I can’t even describe what I felt at that moment, but I instantly knew my answer was Yes. I was speechless so I just kept on shaking my head without saying a word. The rest of the night was filled with lots of hugs and kisses and a few tears of joy. It was definitely a night to remember for the rest of our lives.
Written by the soon to be Groom! It all started Monday evening when I went to Shannon’s parents’ house to ask for their blessing in asking for Shannon’s hand in marriage. This went very well as I expected but I must admit I was a little nervous, I’m sure as all men have been since the beginning of time. This is also where I had to begin covering myself so that Shannon would not catch on to what I was planning. I convinced her I had left work late that evening and she had no idea that I was actually talking with her parents. Adding to the excitement of the week Tuesday evening I was offered a new position at Nationwide which I gladly accepted, Shannon and I shared in excitement and it was hard for me to keep to myself knowing even greater excitement was soon coming. I kept indicating to Shannon that I wanted snow on the ground when I eventually asked her which wasn’t true but it was the best I could come up with to throw her off the trail of my plan. I think she believed me somewhat, but the main factors helping keep my cover was her belief that I had not spoken to her parents and also the belief I did not know when I would have the ring. This brings us to Wednesday when I took the afternoon off work to go to the doctor, I also accomplish getting the supplies I needed for my proposal. I visited the park where I would be proposing and visualized how it would look. I then went to the stores and I got the supplies I needed including the candles and rose pedals. This is when the full plan took its final shape I knew exactly when, where and how I was proposing. Also on Wednesday evening I got confirmation that the ring would be ready for pick-up on Friday. So that was the last major hurdle and it was a big one, once I had that confirmation we were set for Saturday. Friday after work I went down to Argo and Lehne to pick up the ring, when I opened it and saw the ring it was beautiful and it took my breath away. Luckily for me Shannon was still very tired as was I from seeing Breaking Dawn the Twilight movie the previous evening at midnight, which lead to little sleep, Shannon was taking a nap when I got home so I snuck in and hid the ring in my suit jacket. I convinced Shannon that I had left work late again and she still didn’t suspect a thing. This brings us to the day of the proposal which we had to wake up early and drive to Dayton to see my sister graduate from Wright State. This was very nice, but it lead to more stress as we were having a Thanksgiving party later that afternoon and of course I was also proposing. I promised Shannon a couple times it would be a good and my promise came true later that evening. When we came back home from the Dayton we had a lot of work to do for the party, I helped clean and also ran many errands and I was also making the final preparations for the proposal. Our friends came over and the whole time I was looking at the time as I was getting anxious to put my plan in motion. Around 5:45 I told Shannon that Ryan and I were headed to the store to get some more beer, however I was not coming back. Ryan and I headed over to the park just a few minutes from the house; we met our friends Jared and Kelsey there and began to setup. We laid down the blanket and placed the 24 candles I had around the edge, the wind made lighting these difficult and I probably re-light each one at least three times, we also laid down the pink rose pedals. Around 6 o’clock or so Ryan headed back to the house with a letter that I had written for Shannon telling her how much I love her and to join me for some sparkle in the park. Ryan took the letter back to the house and Shannon read it and now began to realize what was happening. As they made their way over to the park my parents and her parents along with other relatives began to arrive. I had them waiting at the entrance of the park to meet Shannon there; she finally arrived along with our friends from the party. Even though it took her a second she finally realized that I was waiting for her. As she walked towards me an incredible joy came over me and everything was perfect. She hugged me with tears in her eyes and I told her how much I loved her and my desire to spend the rest of my life with her. I told her I would get to the good part and got down on one knee and asked, “Shannon Nicole Kelly Will you marry me?” She said yes making me the luckiest man in the world as she agreed to spend the rest of her life with me. Our friends and family cheered and congratulated us and we returned to party as fiancés.