The World keeps a turning and the imagination of man knows no bounds especially when it comes to creative marriage proposals. This week I’m honored to be joined by Tim and Julie, high school sweet hearts who met while serving doing missions/relief work in Oregon, who were happy to share their amazing wedding proposal story involving sky lanterns. Truly amazing and one you have to read!

Julie this is such an amazing proposal, you are one loved lady. Please tell us your side of this amazing wedding proposal story.

We were having a date day that was all planned out, and we were in between activities, on our way to meet some friends for an early dinner. All of a sudden, right as we past through the tunnel bringing us into downtown Portland, Tim says “Ohhh, I thought it was 6, not 5! We’re an hour early!!” And of course I reply with, “Oh my gosh, Tim. You ALWAYS do this all the time…blah blah blah..”

So he tells me that we should look at Hoyt Arboretum, because Danny (friend and videographer of the proposal) said it was a great view of the city. So, he cleverly asked me to get directions on my phone, and I completely fell for his trick! We get up there, and look around for a bit. Then, we start walking up this trail, and I start to see balloons tied to all the trees on the path; and I knew what was coming! The rest of it is explained by the video, and to be completely honest, it is such a blur because my head was spinning and floating in the clouds.

We met in high school, on an outreach program through our church. We were doing flood relief work in Vernonia, Oregon, and met through that group of friends. As our friendship grew and grew, we fell for each other faster and faster! We started dating when I was a junior in high school and Tim was starting his first year of college! It was great. We dated 4 years, and are the bestest friends! We can’t wait to marry each other!

So Tim over to you. How did you come up with such a creative proposal and where did it all take place?

The proposal happened on November 17th, 2013 at Hoyt Arboretum. While planning the proposal, I knew I wanted to do something out of the ordinary…Julie loves floating lanterns. Her favorite movie is Tangled, and her favorite scene in the movie is when Rapunzel and Flynn Rider ignite the lanterns into the sky. So, I wanted to recreate the feeling of a bunch of floating lanterns scattering around us. However, lighting off paper lanterns with a small flame inside them in a Portland forest is very much illegal. Additionally, it would have been extremely hard to ignite a bunch of them on a windy/rainy day. Because of this, I tried coming up with an alternative when Daniel Cegla (friend and videographer of the proposal) told me about these light-up balloons he had seen once. Going off of that, I did some research, bought a bunch of mini led lights, dozens of balloons, a helium tank, and some string to make the light up balloons (AKA FLOATING LANTERNS).

Originally, the balloons were suppose to be all tied together, so Julie could cut them with a big set of shears I had borrowed, but when Scott (my brother) and Danny (friend/videographer) were setting up, it was so windy that they were not staying together, and since it was cold and rainy, a lot of the balloons were popping as they were being set up. So, the two of them decided to just tie the balloons to the trees, which ended up looking even better then my original idea!

As for the rest of the setup, I used letters, Bible verses, terrariums, pictures, electric candles, and lights to compose the little contraption where I would propose. I set it up in my room the night before, so my brother could know how everything would need to be setup for the big moment. I had picked the location with my friend, Danny (friend/videographer) a couple days before, after one of our other friends recommended the spot.

When the day finally came, I was somewhat worried, cause it was pouring down rain all day and the forecast was not looking good at all. I had my family, roommates, and friends praying that the weather would be good for the moment. I wasn’t going to ask Julie until sunset, so my plan was to hangout with her all day and then take her up to the spot right at sunset. Luckily, God answered our prayers and during the actual proposal the rain stopped! However, we should have had them pray for the whole day, because setup for the balloons and video equipment proved quite challenging for Scott and Danny!

I told Julie that I wanted to do a full date day, where at the end we would double date with some friends. So, we grabbed some food early on with coffee and walked around downtown Portland. I kept thinking of different things we could do before the sunset, when I was asking her. The sun was expected to set at about 4:45pm, so we left downtown around 4:20; I said that we needed to meet our friends for the double date, but after driving for a little I told her that I misread the time, and we were an hour early to meeting them. I recommended that we check out Hoyt Arboretum, because we were right by it, and I heard it had a great view of the city. We went up there, and I called Danny to let him know we were there, but I pretended like I was asking him where the view spot was. After delaying a little, I took Julie up to the spot, and as soon as she saw the first “floating lantern,” she knew what was coming.

Any additional information that made your day so amazing!


We’re now joined by the man who made it all available to watch on video namely Danny (Daniel Cegla, friend/videographer) with his inside take on preparing the proposal.

Tim asked me to video tape his proposal, and I of course said yes. He thinks that I was doing them a favor, but in reality Tim and Julie are two of my favorite people and I was blessed just to be a part of the proposal and see it first hand! If you think the video is moving, it was nothing like being there. These two have the most pure and childlike love for each other and I can’t wait to see them get married.

Tim asked myself and his brother Scott to setup, and everything that could have possibly gone wrong went wrong. It was freezing cold and pouring down rain. The wind was blowing hard. The red umbrella that was used to cover the materials ended up having wasps in it. The fresh helium from the balloons was useless in the cold weather and rain.

It took as almost two hours to setup, because there was a great deal of crates, supplies, and balloons to bring from the parking lot which was a good hike away. We trekked back and forth in the rain, chasing things down in the wind, popping dozens of balloons, and exhausting ourselves from carrying the 75lbs stand for the umbrella.

As we ran out of time and things seemed to be falling apart (camera issues, sound issues with the wind, popping and non floating balloons) I wondered if maybe this was even a good day for Tim to propose. Would this work out, or be totally lame with the wind and rain? Why couldn’t this have happen yesterday? Maybe this was a “sign” that we should postpone this until a better day? But there was no turning back now.

Steven Pressfield has a book called “The War of Art”, in which he talks about the resistance that one faces when trying to create something good. He says resistance is a sure sign that you are supposed to do the thing in the first place. The harder the resistance, the more important the task must be.

And what a beautiful proposal it turned out to be. At the last moment, everything came together. We had the idea to tie the balloons from the trees so that they would hang, and some strangers who just happen to be on a rainy Portland hike stopped to help us get things up with few minutes to spare. And as soon as Tim and Julie arrived, there was a sudden break in the rain, as if the clouds were parting just for their special moment.

As if that wasn’t enough, the balloons that hadn’t floated for the last hour began floating again, and Tim was able to stage the releasing of the balloons just like he had thought about. Everything couldn’t have turned out more perfect.

Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us about your inspiring wedding proposal story guys. It was truly amazing and one I hope has given other guys out there food for thought as they plan their own special day. Good luck to the two of you for a wonderful life together!


Anna Perkins is a relationship writer who offers her own forthright opinion over the worlds of dating, romance, relationships , marriage and friendships. She loves cats, traveling, spending time with her son and husband.

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