How We Met
Jenna and I both attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI where we were both actively involved in Greek life. We had plenty of mutual friends but did not seem to cross paths until towards the end of our time at Western. On her 21st birthday, a mutual friend invited me out to the bars to celebrate, however I had an exam the next morning and could not make it. The following night, I saw Jenna at the bar. I went up to her, wished her a happy birthday, and apologized for not being able to make it out the night before. I did not see her again that night. The following morning I woke up in a daze. I had 2 missed calls from Jenna’s sorority sister, and a close friend of mine, so I called her back. When she answered, she immediately started giggling. She told me that one of her sorority sisters wanted to go on a date with me. I jokingly said “unless its Jenna, tell them to forget about it.” My friend replied “it is Jenna.” In disbelief, I immediately quieted everyone in the room and put the phone on speaker, asking her to repeat what she had said (in order to have my friends confirm that I was not imagining it). She said “Jenna wants to go on a date with you.” I was in shock. I was so attracted to Jenna I could not believe this was actually happening. What I did not know is that I was on speaker phone on the other end. Jenna heard what I had said, that “unless its Jenna, tell them to forget about it” and still makes fun of me for it to this day. I took her to this local Steak House and we bonded over bread and chicken strips. The date was going so well, another patron asked if we were high school sweethearts. We immediately clicked. She understood my humor and actually laughed at my jokes. It was the last first date I would ever go on.
how they asked
Jenna’s extended family vacations on a little island in Michigan every summer. Mackinac island, the jewel of the Great Lakes, is a beautiful island where time moves at the pace of horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. She has spent every summer here since she can remember, and would frequently talk to me about her special island and all of her favorite family memories she had made their.
Her favorite place to visit on the island is the magnificent Grand Hotel. This hotel is so rich in history and tradition and has been in operation since 1887. She always bragged that it held the most beautiful views of the entire island.
In July of 2016 Jenna was ecstatic to be heading back to her favorite vacation spot. She spent the weekend biking the island, boating in the marina, and eating ice cream with her cousins. While on the phone with me she told me the only thing that would have completed her vacation would have been to have me by her side. Little did she know that I was planning a surprise proposal for her on that charming, little island.
On Saturday morning her family convinced her to get dolled up and take photos around the island (this is not uncommon as both her dad and aunt are professional photographers).
They walked to her favorite place on the island, the fountain on the grounds of The Grand Hotel, and began taking photos. As they took photos my family and I snuck around the back side of the fountain.
She was completely shocked to say the least! With her sister videotaping, I got down on one knee, told her how much she means to me and how I could not imagine my life without her. I asked her to marry me, she said yes and both of our families (and onlookers) cheered like crazy!
Her mom had brought champaign to pop, my parents brought chocolates to pass and her cousin brought an “engaged on Mackinac Island” charm for us to hold in photos. We could not have possibly been any happier than in that moment.
We spent the next half hour celebrating with both of our families and taking photos that we will cherish forever. It meant so much to both of us to have both of our families support and love while taking the next steps in our relationship.
Not only did I have to sneakily orchestrate this surprise with her entire family, I had to drive my family six hours up to northern Michigan, take a ferry boat over to the island and hide on the grounds of the hotel while Jenna and her family walked around taking pictures. I give both of our families major props for keeping their mouths shut and locations on throughout the entire surprise proposal.
I knew how special the fountain and island was to Jenna and wanted to make sure I proposed at her absolute favorite spot. We are so thankful, blessed and excited for the years to come.