Cute story! I typed mine up for our wedding website. It’s kind of long, but I wrote as if we were being interviewed about it.
Here it is:
With so much talk about getting married, it would be extremely hard to surprise Jess with a proposal. The entire summer and fall before the two were engaged, Jess suspected every outing and adventure would be the day she’s been waiting for. Ethan, however, has a plan of his own.
To say that Ethan was the only one behind his plan would be deceiving. As a matter of fact, Ethan had three of his friends help him propose to Jess.
The night began with a Bible study – Jess’s that is, on a Wednesday night.
“On Tuesday, Ethan asked me if I would want to go out to dessert the next day,” the bride to be says, “and I explained to him that we could around 9:30 after my small group.”
Not thinking this was out of the ordinary, because Ethan had been doing a lot of thoughtful things lately, Jess agreed to get dessert even though it was late on a school night.
Dessert was only the beginning.
After dessert, Ethan asks Jess to go on a walk with him around the University of Maryland campus.
“My first suspicion,” Jess admits.
“I knew she would figure out that I was proposing before it would actually happen,” Ethan states, “but the point was to make her feel more special than she ever has before.”
And that’s exactly what Ethan did as he lead Jess around memorable places on campus. Their first stop on the proposal trail was Art/Soc fountain on North Hill. They have played in this fountain and enjoyed many conversations by it in their 3 years of dating as students.
“That fountain was always much cleaner and more fun than the fountain on McKeldin Mall. It’s less popular and has gysers,” Jess proclaims.
On the October night, the fountains had been turned off because of the cooler season. On one of the platforms of the fountain sat a blue-wrapped box. Ethan walks Jess over to the fountain and says, “It’s for you.”
“My next tip-off!” Jess exclaims.
On the front of the present was a poem Ethan had written for Jess. Inside revealed a pair of flip-flops.
The couple continued walking on their journey – Ethan secretly communicating with his cell phone to his buddies to drop the next present. The next stop is the stoop at the HJ Patterson building. This is where Jess and Ethan exchanged one of their first hugs on one of their first walks around campus. Waiting for Jess on the stoop was another blue-wrapped box with a poem on the front. Inside waited a cozy UMD sweatshirt.
They continue on their journey. Next stop: ODK Fountain on McKeldin Mall.
“At this point, I know we are getting engaged tonight. I decided to enjoy myself and let Ethan do this thing.”
A small gold package with another poem waits at the lowest level of the fountain. As Jess opens this one, she thinks it is going to be the ring.
But it isn’t. Inside the package is a memory card for a cell phone, a package of gummi savers, and new ink cartridges. Looks like Jess has a little more enjoying to do before she gets her ring.
Made to carry her own present because Ethan one hand full holding his future fiancee’s hand and his other hand busy texting his accomplices, Jess is eager to get to the whichever landmark is the one where she says, “Yes.”
Stop number 4 is a long one, literally. There is a short wall providing a boundary between campus and Route 1. Somewhere along this wall is the next gift for Jess. However, Ethan is a little unsure about where on the wall the present will be.
“I wasn’t sure whether the present would be in front of the wall or behind the wall, plus it was very dark. My solution? We walked on top of the wall almost all the way down.” Ethan jokingly remarks.
They walked quite a distance of the wall – from where it began across Frat Row to the illuminated University of Maryland sign. Waiting in front of the sign is another blue-wrapped package with another poem. Jess opens the present and finds a laser-inscribed picture frame inside.
“The poems tied the monuments of campus to our relationship, but I wasn’t sure how the gifts tied together,” says Jess.
Ethan will shortly reveal Jess’s wondering.
As Jess finishes unwrapping and putting her new gift with the others, Ethan leads her to the final destination. They walk over to an echo box. If you stand in the middle of the echo box and talk toward a short wall, you can hear an echo of what you say. This is a very special echo box where they first watched the stars together, where Jess first laid her head on Ethan’s stomach. It was a place often visited by the couple just to sit and talk.
On top of the echo box was a basket wrapped in wrapping paper. The night of the proposal, Ethan asked Jess if she could tell what it was.
“I told him that I could tell it was a basket. I didn’t think that this was the last stop.”
Ethan asks if she wants to climb up on top of the box. As they both sit on top, she reads the poem on the final present. She starts to cry before she even finishes the poem. Ethan tells her to unwrap the basket. Inside waits a jeweler’s bag. Inside the bag is a small wrapped box. Inside the wrapped box is a ring box. Jess can hardly open all of the gifts because she is blinded by her own tears.
Once she reaches the ring box, she hands it to Ethan and says, “Isn’t this where you take over?”
Ethan smiles. They were already on their knees, so Ethan props up his knee. Then he asks, “Will you marry me?”
Immediately, Jess wraps her arms around him, forgetting to answer his question. Once she realizes this she pulls back and says, “Oh… Yes!”
Ethan puts the ring on her finger and hugs and kisses continue.
After many minutes, Jess realizes that the presents were placed by someone and starts wondering where that someone was now. She starts walking around the area saying, “You can come out now.” Ethan joins his new fiancee in this task until 3 of Ethan’s good friends come out from behind the bushes.
They congratulate the couple and even pray for their marriage and wedding plans to come.
Ethan and Jess eventually remember, through their excitement, that it is a school night and that they need to be awake bright and early the next day. The two part with their friends and walk back across campus.