Emma and Adam

Proposal Ideas Peoria, IL

How We Met

Coming into college at Bradley University my freshman year, I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone anytime soon, let alone right away! So when I needed a date for my first sorority formal event a few months into the school year, I needed a little help from my friends. A friend of mine in my sorority, Chi Omega, reached out to one of Adam’s fraternity brothers to see if anyone wanted to come as my date. From what I’ve heard, he asked a room of guys and Adam volunteered after creeping on my Facebook page!

I, of course, immediately crept right back once I was told he was the lucky guy! I was intimidated at first-he looked older, more mature, and I thought he was SO cute!! One of my sorority sisters who lived across the hall from me knew him; she assured me that he was also a freshman who was very kind and she thought we would get along very well! Low and behold, he also lived on the dorm floor below us… so needless to say I managed to run into him a few times in the hallways/stairwells and say a brief “hi nice to meet you” in passing while completely unprepared!

When I first texted Adam to make sure that he was still able to go with me, I expected a simple “yes” and the end to that conversation until the night of the event. However, he kept the conversation going, asking me questions about myself and starting to get to know me! I remember how badly my hands were shaking waiting for him to come to my dorm room for our pre-event shenanigans with my roommate, her boyfriend and a group of friends. I thought he was even cuter all dressed up-peep the below pictures!!

We had an absolute blast at the event together and even shared our first kiss at the end of the night. I was just so happy that we hit it off-and that he felt the same way!

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How They Asked

Adam and I started dating on December 13, 2014. Since then, we’ve kind of taken turns planning our anniversary celebration and going to different places each year. This year, Adam told me he wanted to plan it a month or so in advance, which was perfectly fine with me! However, the closer we got to the date, the more interested I was in what we were doing or where we were going, so I started bugging him for details. A few weeks before, he told me to take a half-day at work, which I turned into a full day (which apparently threw a wrench into his plan, but we’ll come back to that). A week before, Adam told me that we were going on a trip! I was so excited, but also worried about what to pack, who was going to take care of our corgi, how was I supposed to prepare?! He just kept telling me not to worry about anything, that it was all taken care of.

Friday, December 13th rolls around, and Adam “heads off to work” in the morning while I stay at our apartment. This was initially a problem because he planned to just stay home to get himself prepared prior to my coming home from my half-day, but he had enough time to figure out an alternative plan! I spent the morning laying out different possible outfits to pack and just cleaning up the apartment a little. I was getting together little gifts for my coworkers, so I decided to run some errands later in the morning which apparently also was an issue because he needed to pick up roses for his grand plan. Poor guy ended up going 30 minutes out of his way to a different town to ensure he didn’t run into me!

I come back home around noon, as that was when he told me he’d be back from work. A few minutes past noon, I text him asking, “So when am I going to know what the heck is going on?” To which I get instructions to check outside the door. The below card was waiting for me on our doormat:

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I immediately freak out, texting him, some of my friends and my mom, asking what I’m supposed to wear! I ended up in a sweater, jeans, and booties after he told me we were going somewhere nice but that I should dress comfortably. I have no clue what this means, where we could possibly be going or what the end game is! 1:00 rolls around, and Adam’s older sister, Alex, knocks on the door with two red roses and a card that read, “Go to the house where you belonged when our story first began.” This meant my sorority, Chi Omega! We still live in our college town, so after taking a picture of me outside our door with my roses and clue, Alex tucked me into her car and we went on our way (after a brief Starbucks run of course)!

At Chi Omega, I rang the doorbell only to find my sorority little and one of my best friends, Katie, on the other side! I gave her a big hug and she handed me two more red roses and my next clue, which read “Walk to the house whose letters we share. To them and me, you’re the sweetheart there.” This meant Adam’s fraternity, Sigma Chi, which I was both the sweetheart of for a time and where Adam had lavaliered me! After another quick picture, Alex and I walked a couple of blocks over to where Sigma Chi sits on Greek Row. Our good friend and one of Adam’s favorite fraternity brothers, Corey, was waiting for me on their front steps. He handed me two more red roses and my next clue, “Go to the place where we go to channel our inner Irishmen.” Thank goodness I asked Corey if it was the Irish bar, Jimmy’s, or our favorite Irish pub, Kelleher’s, because I was all geared up to go to Jimmy’s but he steered me towards Kelleher’s instead! We took a picture together, and Alex and I headed out.

Once we got to Kelleher’s, we took a seat at the bar where she said something quickly to the bartender who says “ooooh I know who you guys are!” She grabbed two more red roses out of their cooler along with my next clue, and immediately poured my favorite cider and Alex’s favorite beer! We sit there for a while and enjoy our drinks and a plate of mozz sticks until Alex tells me we’ve killed enough time and it was time to go to our next stop (after taking another picture of course). My clue said, “Go to the place where we enjoyed a little bit of Heaven in the pouring rain, and spent many Saturday’s at The Spot with Willow.” This meant the Riverfront area-earlier this summer, we saw Kane Brown perform 4 songs at a festival there (including Heaven) prior to getting absolutely poured on, and spent every Saturday possible at the Farmer’s Market there with our corgi Willow, typically with cups of The Spot coffee in hand!

Down at the Riverfront, Alex steered me towards a beautiful big tree, where two more red roses and a clue were leaned waiting for me. This clue said, “Let’s connect at the place where we’ve connected for many special occasions.” Our favorite restaurant to go to for birthdays, celebrations, etc. is called Connected, so that’s where Alex and I headed next after snapping another photo in front of the gorgeous leaves!

Just inside the front doors of Connected, sitting atop their small indoor waterfall, was my next clue and two more red roses. This clue says, “Meet me at the place with the Grandest View.” Our town has this beautiful stretch of the neighborhood that overlooks a forested area and the river called Grandview Drive, so I knew that that’s where we were headed next. Alex, however, said that we needed to kill a little more time before going there, so we popped across the street to a little sports bar called The Bullpen! We chatted, enjoyed a drink and a shot of Fireball, and then it was time to go!

At this point, I was still so unsure as to what was going to be waiting for me up on Grandview. But as we pulled up to a little parking area, stopped behind Adam’s car and I could see him sitting on a bench waiting for me, my heart started absolutely POUNDING. Alex squeezed my hand and told me to go to him! I got out of the car and walked (read, sprint-walked) towards him. As I was walking, I saw a camera lens pop out from behind a tree on the other side of the road and it really hit me. He got up as I reached him and handed me one more rose. He said, “You have twelve roses so far, and here’s one more to make thirteen.

On this day, December thirteenth, five years ago, I asked you to be my girlfriend. Today, I have an even bigger question for you…” Which was when he got down on one knee and opened up a box with the most beautiful ring I have ever seen sitting inside! I cried, we hugged and kissed and made sure it was a perfect fit. But that apparently just wasn’t enough, because he told me, “I have one more surprise for you!” He waved at his car, and one of my very best friends who live in New York jumps out of the backseat! Needless to say, the tears started again, and I ran over and hugged her. We then did a quick photoshoot with the beautiful background and our sweet photographer Dana, before heading back down to Kelleher’s for a celebratory drink and dinner with more friends and family!

The story behind the ring is important as well, as I am one of the most sentimental people you will ever meet. The diamond is from his great-grandfather’s custom-made ring, which he had set into my ring after his grandmother so graciously offered it as an option. There are twelve small stones surrounding it on top, thirteen including the diamond, and fourteen small stones altogether (twelve on top plus two on the sides) for the date we made it official the first time, 12-13-14. I still cannot believe I get to marry the sweetest, most incredibly thoughtful man I could have ever asked for!

Special Thanks

Dana Bell
 | Photographer