I’m going to try my best to explain how I came up with the crazy marathon proposal and also how it all worked out. Like any guy, I wanted it to be special for Dani and so I put on my creative thinking cap and enlisted the help of anyone I could talk to. The first help I received came for a co-worker, Anne. I talked with Anne about my concern that if I were to do anything special for Dani, she would be clued in and know that I was going to propose. Anne said, “Why don’t you do a bunch of nice things for her?” That was a very good question! Why not??? So now I had a plan to do multiple events prior to our engagements pictures (engagement pictures without being officially engaged!?!?!? It’s totally my fault, but it worked out really well.) but there were a couple problems. First, I didn’t have a ring. I had ordered one but when it was going to come was a bit of a mystery. Second, I hadn’t spoken to Dennis (Dani’s dad) about asking for his blessing. You’re all probably thinking, “Who is this idiot and why is he doing everything so backwards???” Hey, I’m a little slow but don’t worry (SPOILER) it all works out very well in the end! And lastly, I now need to think of something special for the week leading up to engagement pictures/proposal.
So here is a summary as of Thursday Oct 20: I want to propose to Dani, in nine days, after doing multiple special events, I don’t have a ring and I haven’t spoken to her dad. It seemed like a slightly daunting task at the time, but I had some very good help.
For UEA weekend (Oct 20-23), Dani’s family was kind enough to invite me with them to St. George. This was the best thing ever because this solved a lot of my problems. We went to The Costco (I refer to it as The Costco because it drives Dani nuts. I also call it The Dillard’s and The Sam’s Club.) to do some casual shopping when somehow we ended up in the jewelry department. Imagine that? We have engagements one week from the day, she doesn’t have a ring and we are in the jewelry department! I didn’t think about it at the time, but I don’t think it was a coincidence. Her mom (MeLisa) suggested that Dani try on some rings to see if she would like the original ring I ordered and that Dani had picked out. She found two rings, one that was similar to what we ordered and one that was just a lot cooler. She tried them on to see what she thought and after a lot of discussion with me, Matt (Dani’s younger brother), MeLisa and Dennis, her opinion changed. So I set out wondering what am I supposed to do now. Luckily Dennis and MeLisa were there to talk and very eager to help. Between the three of us we conjured up a plan to go back and get the ring she liked.
It ended up working out very well. The trip ended up becoming Dennis, Matt and Zach time. The three of us went everywhere together and always rode in the van together so it was really easy to not go the same place as Dani, MeLisa, Brayden (Dani’s youngest brother) and Kaden (Brayden’s best friend). The four of them ended up running an errand and the three of us were going to go back to the house, which we did after we stopped by The Costco and picked up the ring! Now Dani had no idea that we had gone back, she actually thought I was working with a jeweler in SLC. I’m pretty sure she was bugged that I hadn’t bought the ring at The Costco, but the joke was on Dani! I had the ring! So I solved the ring problem and now you would think that since I spent all weekend with her family and most of it I was with Dennis and Matt that I would take the time to talk to Dennis. Did I though? Nope!
So to make sure everyone is caught up as of Sunday Oct 23: I now have the ring! But I still hadn’t spoken with Dennis, I had six days until engagement pictures, and I only had one idea for the proposal.
Sunday after we got home from St. George, I talked with my parents and siblings about my plan and told them that I had the ring now. I knew that I wanted to take flowers to Dani while she was at the hospital all day, but my creativity was all used up on that idea. Luckily my mom came through! She came up with the idea of baking some cupcakes and putting letters inside of the cupcakes, and spelling out “I Love You.” When I told MeLisa the plan to surprise her for a whole week she said, “Oh, you have to use food! Dani doesn’t want a food proposal at all!” Second, I knew I would use the flowers while she was at the hospital. Lastly, my mom had a gift card to Ruth’s Chris! I’ve never been there, but I did know it was really fancy and expensive and would be perfect for surprising her.
So as of Sunday Oct 23: I no longer had the ring! (I had given the ring to MeLisa and she took it to have it sized) I had three ideas; cupcakes with the letters to spell out “I Love You,” flowers while she was at the hospital for 12 hours with a note attached, and fancy dinner. Until Sunday night at around 11:30, I still didn’t know how I was going to propose. Luckily my brother and sister in-law called with a very good idea. They suggested that I propose during pictures! She said it would be neat to have the actual proposal on camera and we would be able to have them forever. It didn’t take long to convince me! I was on board with that idea. So now I needed to speak with Dennis, and coordinate everything else for the week.
Monday Oct 24: I was getting excited because everything was starting to fall into place. I called MeLisa in the morning and told her the plan. I then proceeded to tell her that I needed to talk to Dennis. She then told me that he was leaving for Brazil that morning and wouldn’t be back until Friday! Great, I’m going to have to cancel everything because Dennis will be out of the country! MeLisa said he would get in around 10:00 am Friday morning. Phew! I might have time before pictures to speak with Dennis. I called Dennis and explained to him my plan for the week and asked him if we could meet Friday morning. He said yes and so I was going to meet him Friday morning before pictures! Monday was going good, I went to Dani’s house that night. Her and MeLisa had to run an errand and while they were gone I brought the cupcakes in and set them on the counter. When she came back she asked Brayden and I, “Where did the cupcakes come from?” I played dumb for a little while, but eventually said my mom made them for her. It was somewhat boring because nothing happened after that.
Tuesday Oct 25: Dani worked all day and I knew that I wouldn’t hear from her. I was super disappointed and really wanting to know if she had eaten a cupcake, but I didn’t hear anything! It was driving me nuts! I also had to make some phone calls to get things ready for later in the week. I called the gym Dani works at on Thursday nights to speak with her boss (Mardi.) I explained to Mardi that I was going to take Dani to eat somewhere nice and propose. I needed to see if Mardi could get Dani to leave work early. I had made the reservation for Ruth’s Chris at 7:30 on Thursday and I needed Dani to be off work by 5:30. Mardi to
ld me she would find someone to cover for Dani after 5:30 and would make sure Dani would be there. I worked with Mardi for Thursday but I really wanted to hear from Dani. She finally sent me a text after she was off work asking, “what are the letters in the cupcakes?” I kept saying I didn’t know what she was talking about. The best part was when I found out she ate one in the morning and all day she was wondering what the letter “O” was for! HA HA HA! I was having a really good time once I realized she had been wondering all day about the letter and if I baked her ring into a cupcake! Later that night she realized it just spelled “I love you.”
That evening she asked if I was going to come over but I said I needed to help some friends, but really I had to figure out how to get 24 roses to her every hour all day long with a little note attached. The plan was that every hour two roses and a note would be dropped off on her floor, at the end of her shift she would have 24 roses. I enlisted the help of my mom, grandpa, Aunt Sandra, Aunt Paula and Jenna Flom (a good friend who conveniently worked Wednesday afternoon at Lakeview.) So I spent Tuesday night writing “love notes.” I think they turned out okay, but you’ll have to ask Dani if she liked them. Luckily my mom was there to make sure they were cute and I was really excited for Wednesday. Having such awesome friends and family made it all possible!
Wednesday Oct 26: The big day!!! I owe my mom, grandpa, aunts and Jenna big time! It went amazing. Granted I didn’t hear much from Dani, just a brief text in the morning saying thank you. As far as I knew it was going very well. My mom said the nurses who were getting the roses loved it and MeLisa told me that Dani was thrilled. “Dani texted me with lots of !!!!!!!” Now I have to admit, part of the marathon proposal was to confuse Dani and make sure she never knew when it was going to happen but it was also to make sure she was happy and make sure she knew how I felt.
So during the day I had a couple phone calls to make. First, I called Mardi to make sure Dani could leave work early on Thursday evening. She said of course and Mardi said she would have Dani out of the gym by 5:30. Second, I needed to get in touch with the photographer to let her know my plan. Terra was legit!!! She was so excited and that made me that much more excited!!! We came up with a code, NFL football. She said she would get me into position so I could propose after our casual football conversation. I then called MeLisa to get her opinion. I was debating showing up at the end of Dani’s shift. MeLisa said that I should take her some dinner, Dani is usually really hungry after her shift and there is a restaurant in Bountiful she really likes.
When I got off work I went to Plates and Palates to get Dani a ham and swiss and a Diet Coke. I then went up to the hospital to meet Dani. I called Jenna and met her and she gave me the last two flowers and took me up to the labor and delivery floor where Dani was working. Dani was in the middle of a delivery so I waited outside the nursery until she finally came out. I’m not sure what she was thinking when she saw me there, but I’m sure it was a little bit of a shock. I loved seeing how happy she was and how big the smile was on her face. I owe a huge thanks to my mom, grandpa, Aunt Sandra, Aunt Paula, and Jenna. They made the day really special!!!
So Wednesday went really well. For two consecutive days Dani probably thought I was going to propose and for two days in a row, nothing! I had the ring in my possession now, but I was thinking a lot about how I would ask her. It was all worked out to ask her during pictures, but the actual asking part wasn’t. I thought a lot about what to say over the next couple days, and I’m not sure it helped at all, but we’ll come back to this later.
Thursday Oct 27: Thursday was a boring day. I had everything planned with Dani’s work and the reservation at Ruth’s Chris. It was a funny phone call just after 5:30 when she was wondering what was up my sleeve. I guess it isn’t a regular occurrence to have your boss tell you that you need to leave for an important event. I told Dani to wear something nice and that I would pick her up at 6:30. I drove out and picked her up and while we were driving down I broke the bad news to her, I didn’t have a ring! Kind of a lie, I didn’t have the ring on my person so that must count for something. My sister in-law suggested telling her that night rather than before pictures in case Dani cried. Dani didn’t, but she was probably thinking, “Serious dude!? What the hell are you doing to me!?” Dinner was good and Dani was left wondering what the heck I was up to.
Friday Oct 28: Today was the day! I had a haircut in Bountiful and after I met with Dennis. He had just spent all night flying home from Brazil but we were able to meet and have a great discussion. It was a great discussion, he gave me some great advice and counsel and he gave me his blessing! Finally! I had the ring, I had spent the week doing special things for Dani and I had spoken to Dennis! Everything was falling into place! Now all I had to do was the actual proposal.
Everything had worked out well. Dani had three days of anticipation, all to no avail, and I’m sure she had no clue it was going to happen that day! I was feeling very good about my clever plan. So when I was getting ready for pictures I decided that I would put the ring in my sock. Not sure where I came up with that idea, feel free to mock me, but that’s where I put it. I was nervous that it would fall out of my pocket or Dani would see it or any other combination of the two. My sock seemed like the best spot. I picked Dani up for pictures all the while her ring is wandering around in my sock. We drove to the picture location and I think I was being a bit of a nuisance. Not sure what happened, but she ended up giving me her phone and said, “Here, pin stuff!” HA HA! Don’t worry though, I didn’t pin anything. Instead I looked at what she had been talking about with her best friend. (I will say that this was the first time I had looked at her messages. I’m not some weird phone monitor boyfriend.) I was so glad I looked. She told Cassie that she was sure I was going to propose Thursday night, only to tell her that I hadn’t. Now I’m not telling this because I loved teasing Dani, but I knew how unexpected it would be once it did finally happen.
Terra came and we started taking pictures. We were walking around doing some really awesome poses, etc. I was feeling really good about my sly plan, and then boom! We started talking about football! Oh yeah, it’s about to go down! So up to this point I had never been nervous at all. I knew that asking Dani to marry me was the best decision I would ever make and I knew it was what I was supposed to do. But after the football discussion, I was pretty nervous. The week had gone so perfect and now it was all up to me to not screw it up. I had been thinking about what to say for a few days and did that help? Nope! Terra puts me in a baseball catchers pose with Dani standing up. I’m now trying to figure out what to say, find the ring and make sure she doesn’t see me digging for the ring. If you remember I put the ring in my sock not wanting to lose it. Maybe not the most foolproof plan because after we had walked around for 10-15 minutes it was gone! I couldn’t find it! Oh wait, I just had to dig the ring out of the bottom of my sock at the bottom of my foot!
This was the culmination of the past nine days! I had bought the ring, had it sized, delivered “I love you” cupcakes, had 24 roses delivered on one hour increments, taken her to a very nice dinner, spoken with her dad and I get down on one knee and …….… she hit me and tried to push me over! Can you believe it! She quickly realized that I was serious and I said, “Dani Nielsen, I love you. Will you marr
y me?” Just after that is when I received the best hug to this point in my life!!!! She was so excited and I believe relieved that I finally proposed. Seeing the smile on Dani’s face was priceless! It took her a while before she said “yes,” but she did, and I have never been happier. The girl who far surpassed anything I could’ve ever dreamed of said YES to me!!! I am so blessed to have Dani in my life and am excited for the future with her.
Cute post, Zach!!! Glad I could help. I was excited you included me in on your elaborate plan! You are a wonderful guy and I’m glad you found Dani to spend your life with! You two are adorable! Love you both!
Katelyn Krum Shaw says
Way to go Big bro… although you didn’t talk to ALL your siblings about your plan… You left your little sister out. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m not the best at keeping secrets but COME ONE! I could have kept that one. You could have used my creativity and I would have talked you out of putting the ring in your sock (although it did make for mine and Dani’s favorite picture). So happy that Dani is going to be my newest sister!!!! This time she’ll know exactly what it’s like not having a sister! Love you both!
Little Barney Family says
Ok seriously, that was the cutest thing!! Zach, you are a hopeless romantic!! I’m so glad you found a girl that makes you so happy!! Like Jenna said, you two are adorable!! Can’t wait for the big day!!