Brittany Doehrel

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: