Amazing Animated Proposal

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How We Met – by Amanda: Adam and I met at a bar where I worked as a waitress. He had been coming in regularly for a while before I got sick with mono and didn’t work for a month. The night I came back to work Adam asked where I’d been and I was taken by surprise because I didn’t recognize him as a regular. I didn’t remember that I had served him and his friend quite a bit before, and that I had even been Adam’s server when he’d brought a blind date there over the summer. I carried over their beers and Adam stood up to take out his wallet and pay me. He wore a Death Cab for Cutie shirt, which was a favorite band of mine, and he was tall and handsome. My stomach dropped and that moment started something for me that has never really changed. It was a slow night, and I walked over to the other waitress and I joked that I had just “fallen in love with that guy over there”. I consider that the day we “met”, even though we had technically met before. I looked for Adam every weekend after that, and Adam always came in, looking for me. Every person I worked with knew how giddy it made me to see him, and the doorman would often watch for where Adam and Brandon would sit so that he could tell me where to find him. I flirted my pants off, but it still took Adam, who is quiet and reserved, until December to ask me out. He flipped open his Motorola Razr and asked, “What do you do for funsies?” Somehow he didn’t save my number that night. I was bummed out when he didn’t call, but determined to be cool and pretend I hadn’t noticed when I saw him next. Instead, I lightheartedly confronted him about not getting a phone call from him all week, wrote down my number on a yellow piece of scrap paper and told him not to lose it, warning that I wouldn’t give it to him a third time. I couldn’t believe how forward I’d been. Luckily, he kept it, and he called. We had four or five dates almost right in a row, and that is all there really was. I don’t think we ever decided to become a couple, we just were. Being with each other has been the easiest, most natural and obvious thing. We laugh a lot, we dance like fools, we go grocery shopping, we encourage each other when life gets hard and sucky. He’s basically my favorite person. When Adam proposed, he managed to catch me completely off guard, which I thought would be really hard for him to do. At first I thought he was showing me a project he had done for work, which he does every so often. Even once I realized the animation was about us, I wasn’t convinced he was proposing. I think it was the bug spray and mud all over my shoes that threw me off. Over six years of holidays, Cubs games, karaoke car rides, fights, good days and bad days, weekend trips and nights in have blended together and flown by. He still has that scrap of paper with my number on it, and along with making me feel calm and grounded and deeply loved for who I am, he still makes me feel giddy, too.

how they asked – by Adam: When I started thinking about how I would ask Amanda to marry me, I knew I wanted to do something special for her. I wanted it to be unique to us and finally decided to make an animation for her. After a couple months of sketches and wrestling with different ideas, I thought it would be best to include the story of how we met and chronicle a few key moments from over the years. In the meantime, I was trying to choose a ring that Amanda would love, so my time was being split between that and getting a start on the video. After secretly shopping for a ring for 5 months, I ultimately decided to just have one made for her, which allowed me to focus on completing the animation.

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I spent about three months designing and animating the video in the evenings after work as well as over a couple of full weekends. It was difficult not to say anything about it to Amanda while I was working on it, so I was really excited when it was finally finished. I decided a good spot to propose would be along Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, not far from where I live. Amanda’s favorite thing about where I live is that it is near the water and I knew it wouldn’t be hard to get her there. She was supposed to visit me on a Thursday night, so I planned on taking her on a walk by the lake that evening. She cancelled, and we rescheduled her visit for the following week. When she agreed to taking an extra shift at work and canceled her visit again, I gave up on that idea and decided I had to go to her. So that weekend, I suggested we go for a walk at Rock Cut State Park because I figured there’d be a nice spot somewhere outdoors where I could finally ask her. I knew it wasn’t the best plan when we had to coat ourselves in bug spray to keep the mosquitos away on what seemed like the most humid and muddy day of the year. When Amanda commented that she felt like her hands were swelling from the heat, I gave up. We left the park to get lunch and planned to head back to her apartment so she could shower before going to work that night. All the while I was feeling determined to propose and trying to form a new plan. We arrived at her apartment, but before we got out of the car, I said that I felt like we weren’t outside long enough since we’d kind of cut our hike short. Amanda suggested we take a walk downtown Rockford, along the river. Eventually our path took us under the ivy covered carriage porch of Barnes Mansion and I thought it was the perfect spot. I stopped and pretended to take pictures of the surroundings, but was actually getting the animation ready on my phone to show Amanda and also pulling the ring out of its box in my pocket. She was wandering away, but I called her back over and asked, “Have you seen this?” and played the animation. It didn’t take long before I could see on her face that she was recognizing our story. When the video finished playing, I got on one knee and asked her to marry me. So the final scene of the video is pretty close to what happened in real life, minus the waterfall and her cat in the background harassing me.

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Photography by Louisa Nickel Photography