I’m so excited to share this amazing marriage proposal with my readers today, it really is one of the sweetest stories I’ve come across and I’m thrilled that Bryan and Sarah decided to be featured!
Please introduce yourselves
Bryan Michael Roegner and Sarah Kathleen Haselden
Please share your version of the amazing story with us, Bryan!
Men have no easy task when it comes to deciding on a proposal plan. Whether they admit it or not a woman wants her proposal to be memorable, something to cherish and share with friends and family.
But proposing to a woman isn’t just for the woman as some may think. From the very beginning of dreaming up the proposal to watching it unfold I felt an overwhelming sense of joy knowing this woman would be my future wife. From the very beginning I wanted it to be a moment that we could both remember. I wanted it to be personal, to tell our story. I wanted it to be us. In all honesty I drew inspiration from the internet, but there are some really cheesy and cliche proposal ideas out there! I also found some really brilliant ideas, but I wanted my proposal to be original.
One night I was laying in bed thinking while my eyes began to survey the room. In the corner of the room was my dresser. On top of the dresser was a birdcage Sarah had bought soon after we first started dating. It wasn’t just any birdcage. Sarah came across an idea on Pinterest where you write down a memory on a piece of paper and place it in a container. You also record the month and day of each memory. At the end of the year you pull out all of the memories and look back on all the crazy awesome times you had. But it wasn’t just the picture-perfect moments we captured on paper. We also wrote down some of our struggles. It was a chance to remember what we gone through and how we’d overcome the various things and grown as a couple.
Needless to say it was a light bulb moment for me, seeing that birdcage. Here was the plan:
1. I would take the paper memories in the birdcage and replace them with fake ones.
2. I would then place each memory in chronological order and collage each with pictures, mementos, and thoughts about that particular memory.
3. I would hang those collaged memories by twine/clothes pins and create a 3D timeline throughout my apartment.
Now that I had the idea all these questions started racing through my head. This looks easy on paper, but how could I pull this off without her knowing? Will she notice I’ve taken the birdcage memories and replaced them with fake blank pieces of paper? What materials will I need? When will I have time to set it up? It was going to be a beast of a project. But I had it! A plan.
Over the next several weeks I gathered the necessary materials for creating the collages. It was awesome because a lot of the memories had Instagram photos we had taken or mementos we had kept to go along with the actual memory we had wrote down and placed in the birdcage. For example, we did the 5k Color Run this summer so I included a bunch of fun pictures we had taken along with our racing bibs and wrist bands. I don’t know how people scrapbook for a hobby, it’s a lot of work! It was a special time for me because as I cut, taped, and arranged each memory into a collage I was thinking about Sarah and how much she truly means to me. After all the collages were complete I divided them into each month we had dated so it would be easier to hang them up when the time came.
Deciding the day was a no-brainer if I wanted any element of surprise. Our days off are Sunday and Monday so I decided to do it on a weekday after work when she’d least expect it. Setup began the night before the big day. I hung the twine first and it literally ran throughout my entire apartment like a spiderweb. I used some romantic white lights amidst the twine and then began to hang each collaged memory from the twine using clothes pins. I was up late that night and took the next day off work to finish up. By finish up I mean literally having time to light the last candle before I heard the key turn in the lock cylinder of my apartment door.
She was here! After Sarah walked through the door her eyes started glowing and her mouth opened, showing her beautiful smile. I greeted her with a pretty big smile of my own. We started at the front door to my apartment. In the entry way I set up a collage of our baby pictures and the dates we were born. Along with it I added items we had been collecting for our wedding. Yes, I already knew she’d say yes when I asked her to marry me that day. The collage timeline continued into the kitchen, wrapped around my dining room and living room, and down the hallway. We read each memory together as we walked through my apartment. We laughed at most. Cried at some. It was our love story on display. All the special moments we held close.
We got to the end of the hallway were I had set up a path made up of lace fabric surrounded by tea lights. The path led to the birdcage we had placed our memories in. I had hung the birdcage from the ceiling and inside the birdcage placed a bird nest surrounded by moss. I perched her engagement ring on one of the bird nest branches.
After she realized what was in the birdcage her hands covered her mouth and she began to cry. I embraced her and we just hugged for what seemed like forever. I told her to go grab the ring. She picked it up and examined it but before getting a good look at it I took it from her hand and got down on one knee. I asked Sarah to spend the rest of her life with me. She joyfully said, “YES!” We finished the night by having an indoor picnic eating our favorite Jimmy John’s sandwiches and calling/texting our family and friends to share the good news.
Now please tell us from your perspective, Sarah!
Well, Bryan and I have been talking about marriage for a while. From the beginning we have always said that it would be the end goal. We’d talked about the springtime and a short engagement so I knew the proposal would come some time after the beginning of fall. We had been ring shopping and had found a few we liked but beyond that I didn’t want to know any details (even though surprises drive me CRAZY!).
About 6 weeks before B proposed, he told me that he needed a night to go over to his parents house to “work on some stuff.” I’d been waiting for this to happen. I am ALWAYS over at his house and all up in his space. So I wondered how he was even going to plan something. The thing is, our 1 year anniversary and my birthday were coming up right around the same time, so I had no idea which one he would choose to do it on… if any! So we spent an evening apart and my mind started to wander into all the possible ways that he might propose. He told me he was working on surprises for both our anniversary as well as my birthday. This all really threw me off. Over the coming weeks I began not being able to sleep at night because I would lay awake and try to figure out how he would do it. Bryan is ultra romantic, and he is also very creative. Last Christmas, he spent weeks working on a letter for me. He tea stained all the pages and worked on all kinds of drafts and even took a day off of work so he could finish writing it. He is great at pen and ink drawings and can write in all kinds of different fonts so he worked hard to make it perfect. The letter reflected his hard work and amazing heart. So I knew, if he worked this hard on a letter to me, he’d be working even harder on a proposal.
So came the day of anniversary. For some reason I had an idea that it wouldn’t happen on that day and I was right. The day was amazing and full of adventures and ended at a super expensive restaurant on the 30th floor of Portland. I knew he wouldn’t just slip it in my food or water or something so, by the end of the night, I knew it wasn’t going to happen. But he gave me a glimpse of my birthday present – a trip to Seattle for the day! I was SURE this is when it was going to happen, and all my friends were too. They all kept saying that I’d have a ring by the end of my birthday – just a few short 10 days.
I should note: the day before my birthday was thanksgiving. We went over to my dad’s house and at one point, Bryan asked my dad if he could talk to him. I would have never expected him to ask for my hand in marriage but I knew my dad would appreciate it. Rumor spread that that’s what he had done so this just furthered my hunches that he was about to propose.
My birthday came around. I was on pins and needles! Truth be told, I tried to “create” opportunities for him to propose *shame*. I, deep down, knew he’d be more creative than to do it at the top of the Space Needle (though I would have loved it!), I just knew it wasn’t his style. And yet, even at the top, while he was lost in sight seeing, I was trying to find pockets of no people just in case he wanted to pop the question. Well, we headed back to our car and I was a little sad. As we drove home, my interest piqued as I thought “maybe he had someone set up his apartment or something” and my hope was renewed. As we walked through the doors of his house, my shoulders slumped as I realized nothing was out of place and, while I’d had an amazing birthday and we had so much fun, I didn’t get a ring by the end of the day.
I have to say, I‘m so glad he didn’t do it on either of those days. He knows that deep down I love surprises and he kind of made those days over the top so that it would throw me off. But throughout my whole birthday I was super anxious and hated how I felt and was glad to be back to having no idea when it would happen.
In the next few weeks I noticed Bryan was really sleepy during the day. Normally he sleeps really well but he admitted that he had been going to bed pretty late because he was working on something. I figured that meant the proposal, but I had no idea what would be taking this long. He was going to bed between 1 and 3am every night! And he had to be up at 6:00am. He told me it was so worth it but beyond that he was a locked vault. I desperately wanted to know what was happening and, even worse, he told me I couldn’t go into one of his closets because it was where he was working on stuff. Oh man, those days alone in his house were full of temptations, but I didn’t give in.
The day of the proposal: 2 weeks after my birthday
This Thursday was nothing out of the ordinary. I went to work. He went to school for his work (he is a Technician for Honda and periodically has schooling), or said he did rather! We texted throughout the day. Side note: I was sure he would give it away on the day because he’d be so excited, but his texts this day were nothing different then the usual.
Normally he has Bible studies on Thursday nights and I stay home. So that was the plan all day. He texted me and confirmed plans. Well, at some point right around when I was getting off he texted “I think I ate something that disagreed with me. Do you think you could come over instead and take care of me?” Well that was a no-brainer. So I packed up and headed out. I asked him if he needed me to pick up anything and he said no, just to come over. The whole 20 minute drive there I rocked out in my car and wondered what was wrong with him, and kind of thought about remedies I might need to look in to.
I arrived. Grabbed all my stuff and headed into his house. As I opened the door this goofy grin appeared and my mouth dropped. My first sight was that he’d blocked off his hallway so the only place I could go was the kitchen. He had white Christmas lights up everywhere and there were pages hung with clothespins, but I couldn’t see what any of them where. B was dressed up in a nice polo and grinning from ear to ear. I think I remember him asking how my day was and trying to make normal talk but I was like “what the heck is going on!” He replied that he wanted to take a trip down memory lane and relive our lives together.
Deep down, yes, I knew this must be his proposal because, if it wasn’t, well he was setting the bar high for himself. I started tearing up and set my stuff down. The first picture was so stinking cute! It was us as babies with our birth dates and he even positioned them to look like we were holding hands! I love this man! As we moved through the memories I was just in awe. THIS is what he’d been pouring all his nights in to and going to work sleepy but still in a joyful mood and making time for me. He had printed off pictures from my Facebook and even found some old ones that I hadn’t seen in a while. He had made everything so beautiful.
It was only lit by candles and the Christmas lights and there was a playlist of hand picked songs he had chosen for us.
We wound our way through the memories and laughed and cried at some. I tried not to think too far ahead so that I could enjoy each moment as it came. At one point he said, “OK I need you to stay here for a second. I need to go set something up” and he left me alone with these memories. As I stood there I began to cry uncontrollably. I’d been through some hard things in my short years but I have been SO loved and supported by so many and he had found a way to include all of them in his proposal. I cried because I was so overwhelmed by a man who would love me enough to take such care and make his proposal an adventure for the two of us. Every piece of tape he had ripped or twine he had cut, he’d thought of me and how much he wanted to marry me. How does one even process that? All I can say is that every girl deserves this kind of love and this kind of man.
He yelled that I could come back to his room and follow the candles. As I followed the lace and candle pathway I had no idea what to expect. I rounded the corner and saw our bird cage and lights were cascading down from it. The last memory page was hanging next to it and it said “April 15th, 2013??” which is the date we’d talked about getting married. My eyes shifted back to the bird cage and I began to sob harder as I realized there was a ring suspended inside. We started hugging and crying for what seemed like a forever-hug. At one point he said I could go get it. It was breathtaking and one of the rings we’d LOVED!
I handed it to him and he got down on one knee. Later he told me that he’d spent so much time on everything else he forgot to plan out what he was going to say and how he was going to ask me! But what came out was from the heart and beautiful. He ended by asking if I would spend the rest of my life with him. I think I’d been nodding my head the whole time but I said YES! And we hugged and kissed. Then he led me out to the living room where he had gotten all our favorite drinks and food and we sat down and ate. Well, he ate, I began feverishly texting all my family and friends. Then I ate and he called his family
I am so beyond excited to marry this man and will forever work hard to not take him for granted.
If I were to give any advice to men planning a proposal it would be this: just be creative and heartfelt. Women want to know that you took the time to make it special and unique to you two. Draw ideas and inspiration from others but make it your own! It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as what Bryan did. Women feel loved just knowing that you thought about them while you planned it. And we like to be surprised! I am the WORST at snooping and finding things out but I restrained myself because I knew this would be the ONE time he would do this and I didn’t want to mess up the surprise. And he worked hard to make sure he caught me off guard.
And if something doesn’t work out, don’t stress about it. We will never know it didn’t work out. And try to think about all the details. I love that he had planned dinner (which I think his sister suggested so seek counsel of people you can trust the secret with!) and he had taken the following day off of work just in case he hadn’t finished so that he could have another day to finish and would propose the following night. He was thoughtful even down to the food we ate!
What an amazing story! Thank you so much to Bryan and Sarah for sharing their beautiful proposal with us, it’s definitely the most creative one I have come across! If you would like to share your proposal story, then be sure to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the details of your memorable day!