1) The Proposal Album

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Seana and I had been dating exactly one year when I proposed. I decided to make the proposal an all day affair which would end with the actual proposal. First, I planned to spend an entire day together visiting the places where we had our first three dates, where we first kissed, etc. At the end of this whirlwind tour, I planned to give her a ‘proposal album’ which contained photographs and a short story which chronicled our early dates and memorable moments. After she read the album, I planned to ask for her hand in marriage.

To add to the drama and tension, I had previously told Seana that we were going to spend our one year anniversary at the drive-in with her mother who had just flown into town. It wasn’t until the morning of our anniversary that I told Seana we were not going to the drive-in and that she needed to be dressed and ready by 3:00 that afternoon.

Several weeks before the proposal date, I bought an elaborate, wooden memory book complete with a brass nameplate onto which I had our names engraved. I then went back to the places where we had our first, second and third dates, where we first kissed, had our first ‘make-out’ session, etc., and photographed each of these places. Next, I gathered every ticket stub, miscellaneous picture, and anything else that we had collected during our first year together.
On the first page of the ‘book’, I used some simple stick-on letters and spelled-out "Duane and Seana – A Year of Memories." On the second page, I placed a picture of the restaurant where we had our first date, and spelled-out the day: "August 17, 2001." Next to the photo of the restaurant I affixed a short description of the picture and a paragraph which began the tale of our first year together.

Each subsequent page contained a photo of some place or something memorable, along with a short paragraph which continued to tell the story of our first year. I also printed the lyrics from our favorite song and placed them on a page with a color copy of the CD cover. This was followed by another page where I placed some key lyrics from her favorite song and some more letters at the top which spelled-out "Seana’s favorite song." The final pages of the book are essential to this tale, so I will describe them later.

On August 17, 2002 (our one year anniversary), and with the book nicely gift wrapped and hidden in the car with the ring, we set out on our adventure. Our first stop was the restaurant where we had first date. I had phoned ahead several days earlier and reserved the same table where we had our first date. Our time at the restaurant was short and after a quick salad and a few pictures, I told her that we had alot to do that we had to leave. Remember, she had absolutely no idea what I had planned for the day, so she was a little disappointed that she only had time for a salad.

A few miles away was the seaside bench where we had our first kiss. We visited the bench, had someone take our picture on the bench, and then we were off to the location of our second and third dates, where we took more pictures.

Several hours later, and with a hungry girlfriend in tow, we arrived for dinner at the restaurant where we had enjoyed a very memorable date a few weeks into the relationship. By this time, Seana had detected a pattern in our itinerary, and she correctly guessed our next (and what would be our final) destination.

So, after dinner, we went to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Once inside, I purchased a small bottle of champagne and we went onto the terrace. A few minutes later I told her that I had forgotten something in the car. I returned with the ring in my pocket and the gift -wrapped ‘book’. I gave her the box, she slowly unwrapped it, and carefully, tearfully, read each page.

When she reached the second to the last page, the book’s true purpose was revealed and she realized what was actually happening. Containing no pictures, the page simply contained a few paragraphs which said, in essence, that in our first year together we had created some incredible memories, but none of them would compare to the memories we will create with you as my wife. Although she had already started crying many pages earlier, this page really put her over the top.

As she slowly turned to the final page, she saw a picture of me on one knee, holding-out the open ring box with the ring inside. Next to the picture was the date, August 17, 2002, some wedding bells, and a quote from something she said shortly after we met: "this is absolutely and deliciously crazy."

At this point, I dropped to one knee, pulled out the ring box, opened it, and with a tear in my own eye, asked for her hand in marriage. Amidst the tears she was able to utter an extremely happy ‘yes.’

Duane Hale,
Alexandria, VA

The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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