His Side of the Story:I had the ring. Bought it in November. I thought that would be the hardest part… but then I realized I had to come up with something “creative.” I hate being creative. My sister Sarah had mentioned there was this castle-looking mansion at Oakland University open for tours, and I thought that was cool… but wasn’t sure that was what I wanted.
We had talked about getting married the summer after I graduated in 2011, and I wasn’t sure how long of an engagement I wanted. I was eager to give her the ring, and thought I might be able to do something over Christmas break, but then again… it might just be easier to do something in the summer when I had more time to prepare. Winter break was drawing to a close, and I had somewhat resigned myself to waiting until summer, when out of the blue I got a call. My uncle Mark offered me 2 tickets to take Anna to see the Moscow Ballet perform “Sleeping Beauty” at the Whiting. Anna had done ballet for most of her life, so I thought she would love it, and I would just force myself to endure over 2 hours of torture. Then, the thought trickled into my mind: I could use this for an engagement idea! While seriously pondering the possibility, the thought of a princess ballet reminded me of the “castle” my sister had mentioned: Meadowbrook Hall. I looked up the times, and saw that they offered tours even in the winter. Things were in motion. That Sunday night the Anna was over with her mom and sister, and I was trying to work up the courage to mention it to Mrs. Brooks. Finally, as they were leaving, I ran it by her. She was excited and said it sounded good, but as I went around the corner I saw Anna paused on the stairs, like she had been listening. I was really hoping she hadn’t been there long, but wasn’t sure how much she had heard… So I told her how I was planning some surprise for her. So now I had to figure out how to get her off the scent. It worked out, that I would take her to the ballet on Thursday, and that would be the big surprise I had planned, and then when she wasn’t suspecting I would take her to Meadowbrook and propose. I talked to Tim Cole about going along to take pictures, and perfectly enough he said he needed to go to Oakland anyway to see the campus. Splendid alibi. I told Anna that Tim needed a ride to Oakland that Friday, and that I offered to take him and would just spend the day shopping at the malls in the area. Naturally, Anna would go along for the shopping.
I emailed her Dad my plans, and met with him on like Tuesday to discuss everything. He was all for it, and even accepted me after my embarrassing blunder. When I went to show him the ring I had bought, I was shaking so much and opened it so fast that the ring shot out of the box and bounced across the table! Humiliating. Anyway, things were falling into place.
Thursday night came… and brought with it a BLIZZARD! Anna and I were all dressed up fancy and ready to go, but I was worried that the show might be canceled. While we were waiting, for some reason I jokingly got down on one knee to ask Anna something miniscule, but my mom happened to walk into the hallway at that moment and saw us! She was like “Ooops!” and rushed out, thinking she was interrupting the big moment! Well, we went anyway, and after dropping her off at the front, I had to march half a mile thru several inches of snow and swirling flakes. We had amazing seats, but it was warm, and like I predicted, over two hours of torture! But I could tell Anna loved it. Finally it was over, and we went outside to find my car buried in like 4 inches of snow. We waited for traffic to get down because the roads were so slippery, and finally made our way out into the night. You couldn’t see any lines on the freeway or roads, and it was a good thing there was no more traffic because we were doing half doughnuts around every turn in the road. I could think of nothing more depressing than dying in a car wreck the day before our engagement…
Friday morning we got off to an early start, and made our way to Oakland. We got there “early” and had to “burn time” driving around before we could drop off Tim. As we toured, we “happened” upon a castle, and I was like, “whoa, we should tour that!”
Tim dropped us off and said he would pick us up when he was done. We had secretly planned that he would meet with an advisor while we did our tour, and then he would explore the Meadowbrook grounds and find a romantic spot for me to propose, and then text me the location while he waited in a discreet location to take pictures. So Tim drove off and we walked up to the front door, where I realized I had made a mistake. The building didn’t open for another half hour! It was FREEEEEZING outside, and neither of us had dressed for being outside for any lengthy period of time. It was MISERABLE!!
However, I used extra time to do my own investigation of the grounds, taking pictures of Anna in different spots on my phone, so she wasn’t suspicious. I was actually a little disappointed in the “gardens,” which were a lot smaller than I thought, but there was a nice little bridge there that would have to do. About 30 yards away was a big stone bridge that I thought Tim could hide on and take the pictures.
Well we finally got in and toured, but at the end of the tour I got a text from Tim saying he was running late… So I had to burn more time! We went to the gift shop for an uncomfortable amount of time, long after everyone had left, and the tour guide was droning on about things that realllllllly weren’t interesting to us, but finally I got the ok from Tim to come. We meandered out to that bridge, and I gave her a hug, and took a deep breath and said: “Uhhhhhhhhh.”
It was at that moment that I realized I hadn’t prepared a speech. I had just assumed it would be easy to say something profound. It wasn’t. Anna was like “what are you doing?!” I don’t even remember what I said, but it had something to do with castles and princess ballets and how she was my princess and I wanted to make her dreams come true yada yada, and then I pulled out the ring as I got on one knee.
We were both smiling uncontrollably while she obviously said “yes,” and I stood up to hug her. At that moment we heard a “click brrrrrrrrrrm” sound of a camera, and looked over to see Tim standing like 10 feet away behind a heating unit which he had stacked bricks on top of. We both burst out laughing and the proposal was complete. I owe special thanks to Tim for his help in planning and taking pictures, Sarah for her ideas, and Uncle Mark for the ballet tickets.
My Side of the StoryWhen Joe told me he had a surprise for me, I couldn't help but get excited. I had never even considered the idea that he would be proposing then! He planned a surprise date for Thursday night, and then said we would leave early the next day to take our friend, Tim, to visit Oakland College. I immediately questioned why we would be the ones to take Tim on his campus tour. Joe was begging me to just go with it. :) He told me that we would spend the day shopping at the Rochester Mall while Tim had his tour. Of course, anyone who knows me knows I LOVE to shop. He made me an offer I couldn't refuse! I was told to dress up for our Thursday-surprise, so I brought over my clothes to dress up that night. It was so fun getting all dolled up for a date night. We left early for the surprise as the roads were completely covered with snow. On our way there, Joe gave me many hints as to where we were going. I guessed it almost immediately. He was taking me to the place that I had performed at every year for ballet! Not only were we going to the Whiting Auditorium, he was taking me to see the Moscow Ballet! I was absolutely thrilled. As a dancer myself, it meant the world to me that my sports-loving boyfriend would sit willingly through a three hour ballet. The seats were amazing. I was able to watch some of the most talented dancers in the world with the man I love. It was definitely a spectacular night!
We left early the next day to drive to Oakland. I could not have even imagined what would happen next. Joe told me that we were almost to our destination where Tim would drop us off. As we pulled up, I couldn't help but notice that this wasn't the shopping mall I knew... It was a huge castle! Joe looked at me and said, "Here's your second surprise!" I started to get a feeling that something was going on then. We walked up to the castle doors, and were quickly rushed out by the manager who said she had a tour to give. We were told to come back in an hour and hurried out of the castle doors.
Of course, as luck would have it, Tim's cell phone was dead. We had no way to get back to the car, and we were stuck outside in a foot of snow. With chattering teeth, we decided to go sit in a gazebo to wait. That didn’t last long, as we realized that standing around waiting wasn’t going to make the time go any faster. Joe then said that he wanted to look for these special gardens he had found online. Unfortunately, they were nowhere to be found. We did find a beautiful garden area at the side of the castle to wander around. After an hour out here, any visions I had of a proposal had quickly subsided. Surely after this long he would have done it. After a while, it was finally time for our tour of the castle. It was absolutely stunning! I was in complete awe of the architecture, and had so much fun looking at everything with Joe. After a few hours, the tour came to an end. We decided to head to the gift shop to wait for Tim. Luckily, his phone was now charged, so Joe said he would call him to come get us. I had no idea of the intricate plans the two had made! Joe kept conversation going with the tour guide as we “waited” for Tim. I noticed that Joe kept sending him text messages, but didn’t think anything of it. After he had noticeably asked every question to stall time that he could ask, he suggested we go get our coats from the coatroom. He then said that we should go look at those gardens again. I laughed at the idea of going out in the freezing cold yet again. Surely, we could just wait inside for the car! I thought that he had to be crazy to actually want to stand in the snow again. However, Joe was very persistent that we must go, and I finally agreed. As we walked to the little bridge, I heard a familiar clicking sound of a camera I jerked my head to look but Joe quickly got my attention back to him.
I noticed him fumbling in his pocket. The clicks of the camera grew more frequent as he got down on one knee. I could feel my whole body going weak. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening! I was completely shocked and so incredibly happy.
When he looked up at me, he started to laugh and said that he planned this whole thing out but forgot to come up with something to say! He said something along the lines of, “I can’t buy you a castle, but I want you to be my princess. Will you marry me?” It was an absolutely perfect proposal.
I still cannot believe I’m lucky enough to spend my life with him. God blessed me with an amazing man! The evening was of course followed with a trip to every fast food restaurant in the city to try to find the best fries. Ahhhh yes... the romantic dinner to end out perfect evening. That's my man!