Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mike and Nicole's Engagement Story

So it was the week before Thanksgiving and I was out and about Christmas shopping for Nicole. For no apparent reason I wandered into this jewelry store at the mall. I just browsed around looking, when the girl behind the counter called me out. She quickly rattled off the cut I was looking for and the material of the ring. I wasn't sure that I was ready to get a ring just yet, but Chris quickly convinced me to come back at the end of the week and I could get a good deal on the ring.

I returned at the end of the week and purchased Nicole's engagement ring. At this point, the only person that I had told was my close friend Chris. For nearly two weeks, only Chris and I knew about the ring. One night Nicole and I were going to a Pacers game with my friend Jim and his wife Allie. When Allie and Nicole walked away for a short while, I told Jim about the ring. By now I was having trouble keeping it quiet. I spoke to my friend Jeremy that weekend and told him.

While I was going to have my morning coffee with Doug my boss, he joked about what I may have gotten Nicole for Christmas referring to a ring. I told him not for Christmas but for her birthday 2 days later. I told him about my plan and he actually helped me make arrangements and offer a better suggestion for my plan. With Doug's help, the plans were set.

So at this point I felt guilty, because I hadn't even had the chance to tell my parents yet. I called them and let them know what my plans were and when it was going to take place. Now my challenge was to talk to Nicole's parents before I asked Nicole to marry me. Her parents came down just before Christmas Eve. Nicole's mom was here first, and at a moment that Nicole wasn't around, I told her mom what I was doing. She was very excited, and very good about acting like nothing was happening. A day later, her dad came down to stay. When Nicole was out of the room, I told Nicole's dad about my plans. I had intended to phrase it as to ask him, but I was nervous and that is just how it came out. I caught him off guard and speechless. It was actually quite funny now that I look back on it. The next day, when he had his composure back, he gave me his blessing.

December 28th, 2007, I had made plans to take Nicole out to dinner for her birthday. I took her to a really nice French restaurant called the Chanteclair. Fortunately for me, I already knew some of the staff at the restaurant since it was located at one of my companies properties. Nicole was dressed in a pretty black dress along with the pearl earrings that I had given her as a gift for Christmas.

I had the ring in my coat pocket. The arrangement was to give the ring to the concierge and he would set it up to be brought out with dessert. I was nervous because they asked us for our coats when we arrived and I didn't know what to do. I hesitated for a second, but realized that the restroom was nearby and would be a good excuse when its time to get the ring. I handed my coat over and we were seated for dinner.

Dinner was unforgettable. We had fresh cesar salad made at the table. Actually, I guess I actually forgot what I ate for dinner but the salad was wonderful. Anyway, there is a guy that walks around and plays music on his violin. He came over to our table and offered to play a song for us. It turns out that he played a wedding song, which made me a little uneasy at the time since I knew what I would be doing later. Nicole was happy, just smiling and laughing. This was the first time that I had been anywhere with Nicole and actually had trouble talking or coming up with things to talk about.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Caroline and Bobby's Wedding

Caroline and Bobby

Omni Severn Hotel

January 24,2009

YEAH!!! The first wedding of 2009!!! Caroline and Bobby were married last Saturday at the Omni. It was an amazing success. Caroline was so organized and loved personalizing her wedding. She made just about everything herself from her invitations to even the chuppah where her and Bobby exchanged wedding vows! We started setting up for the wedding on Friday. Sonya and the Omni staff were wonderful to work with and was so accommodating with all of our special requests. Caroline did a bridal shoot on Friday before the rehearsal. Doing this was a great idea. Caroline was so relaxed and was able to get some great shots in her soft green wedding dress.

On the wedding day Caroline went to the salon to get her hair done while Cara (my wonderful assistant), the Omni staff and I started setting up the ballrooms. The ceremony was very simple. Mostly all in white. While the ballroom was decorated in tall flowering branch centerpieces, river rocks and fake snow.

Caroline and Bobby are both Purdue alums and so it was only fitting that the wedding carry thru this theme. Tables were named after campus landmarks and the BIG surprise was Purdue Pete (the university's mascot) came and stood as groomsmen. All the guests clapped along to the Purdue Fight song after the couple was pronounced man and wife. Caroline and Bobby decided that instead of doing a traditional receiving line they would greet their guests at dinner, so the couple had a private dinner during cocktail hour. After dinner, the party moved back into the ceremony area where it was transformed into the dancing room. Guests dined on wedding cake by legendary baker Gale Gand and sweet treats from the Omni. Brian Whitis kept the everyone on the dance floor all night! This party ROCKED! A big Thank you to all that helped make this wedding a success.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Matt and Brandi's Engagement Story

Our Engagement Story…

Hello, my name is Matt Freije and my fiancée is Brandi VanArsdale. The big day is scheduled for September 05th, 2009. Our engagement story begins on Sept. 25th, 2008 with a planned trip from Indy to Herkimer, N.Y. We were going to Herkimer because outside of the town is located a diamond mine open to the public called Herkimer Diamond Mines, Inc. For only $9 dollars a day you can travel to the mine and search the grounds to your hearts content for Herkimer diamonds. The diamonds are very abundant at the mine and this was proven true as we first stepped out of our truck into the parking lot to find our first diamond under our feet. We spent two days digging, chipping, and moving dirt/rocks to find a variety of diamonds of assorted sizes, colors, and grades. The largest diamond we found was approximately ~1 inch in length, width, and height. Brandi found this particular diamond as she was walking by a puddle and saw a glisten in the water, so she reached down to pick it up. We stayed across the street in a KOA Campground. I rented a cabin at the site which had all the amenities we needed while we supplied our own food, linens, and entertainment. The cabin had a porch containing a porch swing that overlooked the Adirondack Mountains while the leaves were just beginning to change color during the fall season. We really enjoyed the change of colors as we sat outside on the porch swing watching the sun set over the mountains. During our stay I took one of the diamonds we found and took it to the mine store where they fashioned it into a ring. The ring after it was finished was a 3-carat, emerald cut, grade A diamond set in sterling silver. I was so happy the ring ended up being as nice as it did, because I would have never been able to afford anything close to it anywhere else. Later Brandi and I got is appraised for greater than $10,000.00. The elderly owners of the mine were very helpful in selecting that perfect ring and getting it made just right. However, the story doesn’t end here as Brandi didn’t know that I had gotten the ring made while at the mine. So, as we were leaving on the last day we decided to stop for breakfast in the town of Herkimer at a local dinner called Crazy Otto’s Empire Dinner. The place is a small old fashioned 50’s diner filled with memorabilia over the last 60 years. We ordered and as Brandi just put down her hot chocolate I popped the question. It was truly an experience since all of the activity in the diner stopped and went quiet after I popped the question. When she then said “yes” the café was full of activity again as the owner promptly came over and congratulated us on the engagement as well as the rest of the patrons in the café. The owner took lots of pictures of us together as well as the ring (See pics). It was funny to watch the events in the café, especially when two of the waitresses that came over to say congratulations & look at the ring actually broke down and started to cry. We thanked everyone, ate our breakfast, and then left for home. The ride home was full of thoughts and talk about the future to come. We decided then that this would become an annual event to go to open mines across the country looking for emeralds, rubies, fire opals, sapphires, and etc, so we could build upon the diamond ring she already has to make a set of family jewels that can be passed down to future generations to come. This was truly a great experience and not a memory that Brandi or I will likely ever forget.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Miki and Ian's Engagement Story

Our road trip began at 5:00 o’clock in the morning on Thursday, August 28th, 2008. Luckily, we packed the car the night before as neither of us are morning people. We didn’t care that it was still dark or the fact that we couldn’t see each other because our eyes wouldn’t open all the way. We were excited! We were returning to one of my favorite cities: Philadelphia.

Ian planned this trip months ago. He was bound and determined to make it happen. He saved. He made all the arrangements. He made sure I took off work. I thought, after just graduating from college, this trip was our reward for 4 years of hard work. Little did I know…

It was a beautiful day to drive…and drive…and drive some more. We made some pit stops. We switched drivers. We laughed. We argued. And, we drove some more. Driving through Indiana, Ohio and a little part of West Virginia wasn’t so bad but Pennsylvania went on forever!

As we thought we couldn’t be in the car for another second, we finally came to the end of what we thought was a “never-ending” Pennsylvania Turnpike. We could see the Philadelphia skyline! We drove past the Philadelphia Art Museum. We passed City Hall. We came upon Walnut Street. Our first vacation together was about to begin!

Ian made arrangements to stay at The Rittenhouse, a five diamond luxury hotel ( He knew how much I wanted to stay in this beautiful hotel one day. Ranked one of the finest in the world, it sits on the beautiful gardens of The Rittenhouse Square. The location is perfect! We were minutes away from world-class shopping, museums, and culture.

Our room was breathtaking: the view of the city, the exquisite interior, the luxury, and the feeling of just being together and alone made the 12 hour drive worth it.

Ian planned for us to have dinner that evening at Morimoto’s (, my favorite contemporary restaurant in Philadelphia owned by the Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, at 6 p.m. I was so excited but had to rush to get ready. (By the way, the bathroom was beyond luxurious! Flat screen TVs, a huge closet size shower, marble, massage shower head, and Aromatherapy Spa goodies…) As usual, I took a little too long to get ready... We were going to walk to the restaurant but would probably lose our reservation for being late (Oops). So, we had the hotel’s chauffeur take us. (Thank you!)

We arrived to Morimoto’s just a few minutes late. Just as I expected, artistic, unique, and almost Zen-like as it provided a calm and serine atmosphere. The dimmed lights changed colors every few minutes. The curves and waves of the walls and ceiling drew us in with a gentle visual grasp. Once seated, we ordered right away. Ian had Morimoto’s hazelnut beer and I had champagne with grapefruit vodka and grapefruit juice (my new favorite drink). Dinner was delicious! Ian ordered one of every sashimi and sushi on the menu. I couldn’t believe it!

As dinner came to an end, I noticed Ian being very quiet. I thought that was strange but really didn’t think much of it. As I went to the ladies room to freshen up, he took that opportunity to ask our waiter the directions to LOVE Park.

We didn’t have plans for after dinner but knew we wanted to enjoy the nightlife of Philadelphia’s lights and sounds. We started walking.

“Where do you want to walk to,” I asked Ian as we held hands.

“I was thinking we could go to LOVE Park. It’s this way…isn’t it?”

“Why do you want to go there at night? There’s bums. There’s drunks. Dangerous stuff could happen. I don’t know Ian.”

“It would be nice to see the lights on the water and sculpture. The last time I was here with you I didn’t get to see it at night. Plus, I’m here. You’ll be fine.”

“But honey, let’s walk instead to The Rittenhouse Square. We can go see the LOVE sculpture tomorrow during the day.”

“No…I really want to see it tonight. Come on” as he kissed my forehead.


We continued to walk in that direction. As we came closer to the park, we could see the lights shining on the 50 foot water fountain and the sculpture. I have to admit, despite the bums, it was very pretty with the lights and trees overlooking it.

I started to take pictures from different angles while Ian stood back watching me with his hands in his pockets and a gentle smile on his face.

As I started to walk away thinking we were done, Ian said, “You know, wouldn’t this be the perfect place to propose?” as he stood right in front of the LOVE sculpture.


“Ian, I’m really not in the mood to be teased right now. You know I hate it when you do this to me.”

“Why? All I have to do is get down on one knee…like this…and pull out a ring…like this…”


He took my left hand softly and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Staring at him with my right hand covering my mouth, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. As Ian puts it, I gasped for 5 minutes while he eagerly waited for me to say something…anything.

“Well, will you marry me?” as he chuckled a little bit from my reaction. Looking very handsome with his dark curly hair and blue eyes.

“YES! YES I will marry you!!!” as I laughed and started to cry at the same time.

He slid the ring on my finger, he stood up, held me tight, and kissed me in front of everyone that was on the square.

“I love you!”

“I love you too!”

He looked at his watch.

“We have to hurry!”


“Because I have another surprise for you.”

“You do?”

He hailed a cab. “Historic Philadelphia please.”

We arrived in Historic Philadelphia in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It was beautiful at night with the elegance of Georgian architecture, trees, and cobblestone roads.

My new fiancé ended our engagement night with a surprise on a white horse drawn carriage ride throughout the streets of Historic Philadelphia.

When we arrived back to The Rittenhouse, I couldn’t hold my excitement. I immediately told the first people I saw, which happened to be the concierge and front desk. “We’re engaged!! He just proposed!! Do you mind taking a picture of us?”

He snapped the photo.

“Congratulations! The Rittenhouse would like to send up a complimentary bottle of champagne in honor of your event”

The night was perfect!

We woke up the next morning to enjoy more of the city and to expose my new diamond ring to all!

After our stay in Philadelphia and instead of driving back to Indianapolis right away, Ian took me home to Northern Indiana to share our news with my family. This was very special to me as I hardly see my family due to driving distance.

Even though I knew Ian was planning this trip, the surprises that awaited me were memorable and magical.

So, why Philaelphia? Why Love Park? It wasn’t a mere cliché place to propose as some may think.

Philadelphia was my home for four months in my junior year of college. I took an internship with the City Representative as an Event Planner. I was miles and miles away from everyone and everything I knew: my school, my family, my friends, and Ian. I was a quiet Midwest girl in a very large and loud city. It was hard but despite the difficulties, the experience helped to define me as a woman and individual.

I learned how to live. I learned confidence. I took opportunities that unraveled my future. It gave me strength and I came to know myself even better.

So, as Ian brought me back to this city, we started a transition together, in the same city that transitioned me into a more confident woman.

With the image of devotion, Ian and I are now on a new path in our life together.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jennifer's Engagement Story

My proposal story is I woke up on Easter Sunday and the first thing I saw was a note taped to my TV. My Fiance and I live together so I woke him up and said "Who put a note on the TV?" He said "I don't know baby go look". So I got up and the first note said Good Morning Baby here is an Easter egg hunt for you wake me up when you read this. So I looked over and he was sitting up in bed smiling so he gave me a clue that said pets are great companions that is where your next clue is so I had to think about it and we have a picture frame that says pets are great companions so I went to the frame and sure enough there was another clue. That one said together WII will figure this out so I went to the will system and there was my next one that said having an issue use a tissue. So I went to the kleenex box there was my next clue that said something not right? doesn't compute? so I went to the computer there was another clue that said Don't be furious so I was like that makes no sense.That one took me a while, but when I was sitting in the computer chair thinking, a book with the word fury caught my eye so I flipped through the book and there was my last clue that said turn around so I turned around and there he was on one knee with my engagement ring in a pink plastic Easter egg with our Siberian husky sitting right next to him. I screamed and cried all at the same time I even hit him I was so excited but of course I said yes. The End? Nope only the beginning of something magical....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kelly and Brian's Engagement Story

I absolutely love my engagement story and am so happy to be able to tell you about it!

I am from New Jersey and have been living here in Indy with my now-fiancé for two years. A little over a year ago, my 4-year old pug died of liver failure. It was devastating because my dad died a few years before, and had bought the pug for us right before we lost him. I love pugs, and I loved my dad, so it felt like losing him all over. A few months later, when we moved into our house, Brian and I adopted two pugs, Sophie and Dixie, from Kentuckiana Pug Rescue. He fully embraced my love of pugs and grew to love them so much that he begged me to adopt Harley, our third pug. I really feel like we have a little family!

Now, I am a very hard girl to surprise, and knew that Brian was thinking of proposing. During the horrible ice storm before Christmas, he managed to pick up the ring without my knowing. On Christmas eve morning, we spent the time lounging and watching TV. He went to the kitchen to give the pugs a treat, and took some pictures. When he came back in the room, he showed me the camera and said, "check out this cute picture I took of the pugs!" I turned on the camera and saw a picture of Dixie with a ring box in front of her. I couldn't believe it, and turned to Brian, only to see him down on his knee, holding out a ring and asking me to marry him. Of course I said yes! Now I am working on finding a location that will allow our three pugs to be in the wedding! We also plan to make a donation in our guests' names to Kentuckiana Pug Rescue.

Above is the picture Brian used to propose, as well as our Christmas picture from this year!