We hear a lot about unique weddings. But while that day is special, it’s often also often the result of months of stressful planning, and the big day may be a bit of blur of solemn vows, champagne toasts and posing for photographers.
When The Star decided to ask readers for romantic stories to honor Valentine’s Day, we decided to back up a bit from that big day. We asked our readers how they popped the question, and were delighted to receive inventive stories from all over the region.
We share a few of our favorites:
A nice day for a ‘white’ wedding (proposal)
Never miss a local story.
Katie Martinez reminds us that when it comes to unique proposals, her husband takes the (wedding) cake:
We got engaged on the Memorial Day 2010 weekend in Washington, D.C. — specifically, on the front porch of the White House!
We had lived (in Washington) and recently moved to Chicago, and went back to visit friends. Manny arranged for a tour that day and had the ring in his pocket the entire time. Since he had arranged in advance, he was able to get permission from the Secret Service. It was a complete surprise to me!
After the engagement, we received a letter from President and Mrs. Obama congratulating us.
We were married in 2011 in Kansas City and have lived here since 2012, now with two children in tow.
Katie and Manny Martinez, Kansas City
Sweeter the second time around
Bruce Southard from Overland Park and Molly Hammond from Los Angeles met playing on-line bridge around 2008. They were in their mid-70s. They sent us this love story:
After several driving trips together, including one five weeks long, Bruce proposed to Molly. Bruce said, “I don’t want to get married again, but I would like a commitment service: religious, but not legal. I want us to share our lives because we choose to, not because it is our duty.”
She agreed and showed up with furniture on April Fools’ Day. She walked down the aisle with her two adult sons to the tune of Andy Williams singing, “Love is lovelier the second time around.” Even their doctor attended.
They are in their 10th year together and happier than ever. They enjoy playing bridge, volunteering and doting on their 20-pound rescue cat, Boomer.
Bruce, now 83, promises that if it doesn’t work out in 30 years he is walking.
Molly, 82, says, “Go ahead.”
Bruce Southard and Molly Hammond, Olathe
The gift of a proposal
Connie King (then Motley) got a unique “present” for Christmas in 2007. Her now-husband, Rick, poked holes in a box in the shape of the words “Connie Sue Marry Me?” and then put lights in the box, wrapped the whole thing up like a Christmas present and plugged it in. When she opened the present, she saw his proposal in lights! Connie writes:
We actually went to school together (years ago) and knew who each other was but didn’t really hang around together.
I worked at a grocery store in town and his mother came in to shop all of the time and we talked as the years went by. (I realized she was Rick’s mom at one point and said, “Oh, I always thought he was cute.”) We bonded over her grandson who had cancer and my husband, who also had cancer, and later died from it.
The store closed, but I ran into Rick’s mother in 2006 at another grocery store. She said, “Harold (Rick’s dad) has been wanting me to call you. Rick is getting divorced and we want to set you up with him.”
I said, “Sure, I’m not seeing anyone.” The rest is history.
My mom says, “That worked out perfectly. Your mother-in-law liked you before she was your mother-in-law.”
Rick and Connie King, Lee’s Summit
An exotic proposal
Bob Rohlf wrote to us that he was guessing we were looking for stories from younger people. Not at all! We loved the story he shared about proposing to his wife, Lisa:
In 1997, after dating my now-wife, Lisa, for a bit over a year, I decided I was going to pop the question, but wanted to do it in a unique manner.
After thinking about it, I called her dad to inform him of my hopes. His response wasn’t surprising: “What makes you think she’ll say yes?” He, too, knew that his daughter was one who carefully made plans and didn’t usually give in to spur-of-the-moment decisions.
Nonetheless, I proceeded with my plans and invited her to join me in Cancun for a leisurely week of relaxation, telling her only to bring one nice outfit so that we could enjoy a nice dinner somewhere.
In Cancun, we enjoyed all types of outdoor activities, but the highlight was to be an excursion to the Mayan ruins. As we walked among the ruins, amazed at what we saw, we eventually came to a somewhat secluded spot, where I dropped to one knee and popped the question — well, actually two questions.
The first was to ask if she would be my wife, to which she joyously responded, “Yes.” Still on one knee, I asked the second question: “How about we get married the day after tomorrow, here in Cancun?” No exaggerating, it took a good 15 minutes for her to consider that spur-of-the-moment request, eventually agreeing to it.
Two days later, we married on the beach in Cancun, which was only possible because I had secretly made all of the arrangements weeks before.
The judge (required in Mexico) officiated at the ceremony, the staff of the resort served as our witnesses, the photographer and videographer were on hand to capture the memory, the Mariachi band was a joy to have on hand for our first dance, the wedding cake and flowers were perfect, and the beach served as the perfect backdrop for our wedding photos.
This wasn’t the first marriage for either of us, but we knew it would be the last.
Today, we are enjoying retirement, living life and loving it, and we look back at that Cancun experience as one of the happiest moments of our lives.
Bob and Lisa Rohlf, Kansas City
He said “I do”
In this day and age, what’s wrong with the woman popping the question? Mary Pope sent us her story of an idea that was a sure slam dunk:
I actually proposed to my husband, Brian. We had been together for about four years and had just bought a house. Naturally I knew he was going to ask, but I figured, “Why should he have the pressure on him?”
So I went back and forth for weeks. Would I just get down on one knee? Nah, too conventional. Would I propose in a public venue? Too nerve-racking. Then it dawned on me: Why not incorporate one of the things we love: KU basketball.
My husband and I spend hours watching KU sports. He, of course, graduated from KU and growing up I was a huge fan. We had many great memories that involved time together watching sporting events.
But I asked myself, “How?”
My first idea was to send an email to (KU basketball coach) Bill Self to make a video of me interviewing him on reasons why I should marry my husband.
I knew it would be a shot it the dark, and his assistant politely shot me down. However, I wasn’t deterred.
I chopped together a video of an Andrew Wiggins-Bill Self interview: maybe not my finest video work, but I made it happen.
I asked my husband to come into the living room several days later to watch a “Sports Center” segment. He obliged, and before he knew it, he was watching the video and it dawned on him what was actually occurring.
He said yes! We have now been married for over a year.
Mary and Brian Pope, Overland Park
Sandra Jones says her children say, “I can’t believe he did that,” when they hear the tale of how their father proposed to their mother. She wrote:
I met my future husband, Dale Jones, in 1956. He was a beautician at Ronnie’s Hair Salon, in the former Antioch Center in the Northland. Several of my girlfriends had gone to him for haircuts and all thought he was real cute, so I decided I needed a haircut and made an appointment with him.
I was 17 and a senior at North Kansas City High School. I found out later he was 24. He asked me out, but was not sure because of the age difference. We started dating anyway.
In the ’50s, barbers and beauty salons had conventions at downtown hotels. He asked me to go to one with him and he picked me up at my parents’ house. As we were driving away, he handed me a ring and said, “Here, put this on.”
And that is how we got engaged. We had been married for almost 55 years when he passed away in 2013.
Sandra Jones, Kansas City
Love at first sight
John C. Sutton Jr. reminds us all that after the proposal is accepted, and the wedding is a distant memory, basics like trust, faith and friendship will make a marriage last.
Marriage doesn’t guarantee that you will be together forever. It’s only a contract on paper. It takes trust, respect, commitment, understanding, friendship and faith in each other to make it last. I am one of the luckiest guys alive, because when it comes to my wife I indeed won the lottery.
I realize this and I am grateful for the happiness she has brought into my life. I will never take her for granted. Our marriage may not be perfect, but our love for one another sure is. We were both enlisted in the Air Force when we first met in Omaha, Neb. I told my wife on our first date that I was going to marry her, but she told me I was just a young soldier and smiled. We have been married for 56 years.
I have the most loving, supportive, hardworking, thoughtful, kind and best friend I have ever had. We always turn to God, and no matter what you may face in life, the decisions that you make will determine the course of your journey.
Geraldine and John C. Sutton Jr., Kansas City
A trail of clues to love
Jeanette Miller sent us this engagement story. She’s clearly delighted with her daughter’s choice of a life partner. Jeanette Miller relayed their tale:
Mark Wagoner and RuthAnn Miller were engaged on a beautiful warm April evening 2016.
After a long work week, the two were on their way to a leisurely dinner. Well, that’s what RuthAnn thought, anyhow. Mark had other plans.
On the drive Mark received a phone call from his brother that he was having “car problems” and had pulled into Lowenstein Park in Lee’s Summit.
RuthAnn, somewhat annoyed, agreed to delay their long-anticipated dinner to help Mark’s stranded brother.
At the parking lot, they saw the problem car — with no one in it.
Now RuthAnn was noticeably annoyed.
Walking back toward the garden and waterfalls, RuthAnn noticed 12 longstem red roses placed along the sidewalk to the waterfall. Now she realized something was up.
Each of the 12 roses was attached to a letter and photo commemorating some treasured shared memory during their courtship, from Royals games to family gatherings, zoo visits to canoe trips.
By letter two, RuthAnn had forgotten about the broken-down car and the delayed dinner, and she was in tears.
Once the two made it to rose number 12 , the letter read: “RuthAnn, will you make memories with me for a lifetime?”
After RuthAnn’s tearful and resounding “yes,” a small crowd of onlookers broke out in applause congratulated the newly engaged couple.
The happy couple traveled a few minutes away to give family and friends the good news.
Dinner was served and a new family had started.
Mark Wagoner and RuthAnn Miller, Kansas City