An engagement story came back our way recently from Designer Melissa Tuttle that’s all about college sweetheart love. With so much southern scenery and hometown pride, it’s difficult for us Seattleites too not think of Edward Bloom’s dramatic proposal in the surreal drama Big Fish.

Here’s what Brian wrote us:

After classes on Friday October 26th I drove from Starkville to Tuscaloosa to be with Shannon for the weekend, which was supposed to be a big one. I chose to propose this weekend because of all of the other events planned, since they all had significance to us and our history as a couple. Her parents were to come into town for the weekend, rather than coming for the official Parents’ Day weekend, since they’d done that for the past two years and realized that doing their own thing rather than the official thing would be a better way to spend time with Shannon.

Friday night her sorority had their annual semi-formal, and between dancing together and spending time with her sorority sisters it was to be a great evening. Saturday our schools (Mississippi State [me] and Alabama [her]) were playing each other in football. And it was Homecoming weekend too. Despite all that was going on, Sunday was pretty free, and other than planning on going to church in the morning there wasn’t anything else slated for that day.

I planned on asking her to marry me before breakfast that morning, so that the first thing we’d do as an engaged couple would be to go to church, hopefully setting the right tone for the rest of our lives together. Friday afternoon Shannon’s mom took her out to get her nails done, which I hadn’t asked her to do though it did work out quite nicely.

I used that free time to make preparations for Sunday morning, which included chocolate-dipping a variety of fruits, rice crispy treats, marshmallows, and even bacon. The first time I ever had chocolate dipped strawberries was for a Valentine’s Day with Shannon, so having them again (plus other things) was fairly significant to us. With the extra chocolate I dipped the top half of the extra ring box you sent (thank you again!) so that it could all be arranged on a plate and look somewhat cohesive, despite being a rather conspicuous size and shape. I finished up all of the preparations just in time for her and her mother to get back, and I asked her not to peek into the bottom of the fridge because that’s where breakfast items were. She knew I was going to make breakfast for her on Sunday, but didn’t know the full extent of it, she just thought I was being nice and treating her to a little breakfast in bed before church.

Friday night we went out to dinner with her mother (step dad wasn’t in town yet because of business, but he’d get in midday Saturday) to one of our favorite restaurants in town, and from there Shannon and I went to the sorority semi-formal. We stayed until we got tired, spending the night dancing together and talking with friends. It was hard not to let on to her sisters that I was planning on proposing that weekend, but I held it together well.

Saturday there was a Homecoming parade, which emptied onto the Quad for tailgating before the football game. We got lots of family time together with us and her mother, and the atmosphere of the University of Alabama on game day is one of the best in the world, which only made the day better. We both enjoy dressing up in true SEC style for games, and even with it being a little chilly we still looked quite the part. Between tailgating activities we walked around sorority and fraternity rows to look at all of the floats that the different Greek organizations had put together, one of the great Alabama Homecoming traditions. From there is was onto a little more time with friends and family before going into the game. Even though I’m a Mississippi State fan and student, I still really enjoy supporting Alabama, both for Shannon and for my brother who both attend, so I was pulling for them today, especially with the hopes of them winning the National Title (which would eventually happen!) this year.

Sunday morning I got up early to make lemon raspberry muffins. The first time Shannon and I tried to bake something together it was a lemon raspberry bundt cake. The cake didn’t turn out perfectly, but we had a great time together in the kitchen, further confirming the belief that we were meant for each other. Being as quiet as I could I baked the muffins and got the chocolate dipped items ready. I woke her up with raspberries and mimosas in bed, and then told her I had more things for her. I brought out the chocolate dipped strawberries and muffins. Then I started to talk though the weekend we had together, about spending time with family and friends, dancing, tailgating, football, our favorite restaurant, and the significance of the strawberries and muffins, symbolically all important parts of our relationship. Then I told her I had one more surprise for her, and I brought out the plate with all of the other chocolate dipped items.

Her eyes got really wide when she saw everything, and like a waiter bringing out a dessert tray she asked what everything was. I pointed out chocolate dipped marshmallows, rice crispy treats, bacon, mango, bananas, and cookie dough bites, carefully skipping the box. She noticed. She asked me again what it was, and playing dumb I started the list all over again.

She asked specifically what it was that I had skipped. I told her it was a box, but that it was empty. She checked it out anyway, just like I hoped she would. Then I told her that after the weekend we’d had, with so many significant moments from our past, that the box contained the future, or more specifically a question about the future. She was still in bed, but had moved closer to the edge during breakfast, so I was able to right then drop to one knee and tell her that for the past three and a half years I’ve been the luckiest man in the world, all because of her, and asked her if she would continue to make me that man for the rest of our lives together, if she would marry me. Crying and smiling she enthusiastically said yes!

She is still close to her father, and because he couldn’t be there I asked if he would be free Sunday morning so that she could call him
right away. He really appreciated it, and she was so excited to be able to call him and talk about everything. We still made it to church on time, where we were excitedly greeted by mom and step dad. The service was particularly poignant to us as a couple, which made the day even more special. I noticed she kept looking down at her hand throughout the service, which made me feel a little extra special knowing how much she loved the ring.

After church we went out to brunch as a family, and her parents then had to head to the airport to return home. She didn’t know it, but I arranged to miss classes on Monday so that I could stay one more day. She didn’t have classes at all on Monday, so we spent the day together just relaxing and getting ready for that evening. In her sorority, when a girl gets engaged there is a special ceremony, and the guy is invited to a part of it. Knowing how important her sisters are to her, I knew it would be very powerful for me to be able to be there Monday night, so I made sure I was. After the sister-only portion of the ceremony, I was invited into their meeting. I brought candy for the girls (guests are supposed to come bearing gifts, especially male guests), and we were invited to tell the story of our engagement. After that, we were each given the opportunity to share our Top Ten reasons why we love each other. We’d each been preparing them for a few months, and after some last minute touch ups during the day Monday we were each ready when the time came.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after we’d finished. It was beautiful. Shannon asked one of her close friends to record our speeches so that we could send them to our family, which made for a wonderful way to share the good news with our loved ones. In addition to finding out that we were engaged, our families got to hear about the events of the weekend, and got to hear personal accounts of why our fiance was so special to us and why we’ve chosen them to be with for the rest of our lives.

Believe it or not, that’s a shortened version of everything! It was an amazing weekend, and I’m so thankful that all of the working pieces came together just right. At the center of it all was a beautiful engagement ring, the one I (and you, and a number of Green Lake staff) spent so many hours designing, the ring of her dreams. She loves the ring almost as much as she loves me, though to be fair it does sparkle much more than I do. When I first saw the ring I imagined all the events of the weekend falling perfectly into place, and that is exactly what happened. Thank you so very much for all of the time, emails, phone calls, and work you and everyone at GreenLake put in on my behalf. I feel like my words could never be enough to express how perfectly everything came together, starting first and foremost with the engagement ring of her dreams, for the woman of my dreams!