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04 March 2014

The Proposal

For those of you who know Joanna and I, you know that our engagement was a long time coming! We've been best friends for years, were in and out of each other's lives throughout the last decade (three years of which we had virtually no contact), but were ultimately brought back to each other in a way that neither of us could deny God's involvement.
Over nine years ago in Waukesha, WI // #BabyFaces

Here's the story of our proposal. I knew we'd be telling this story the rest of our lives and that Joanna deserved an awesome proposal. It turned out to be such a fun and special night for the both of us! 

After my short visit to the US for Christmas, it was confirmed in both of our minds that we wanted to get married. Once we discussed getting married sooner than later and began to plan the wedding, we realized how much easier it would be if we were on the same continent. :) I had originally planned to return from Slovakia in late February, but got permission to change the departure date to early February, without Joanna knowing of course! I then began planning the proposal and wrapping up my time in Slovakia, all the while pretending I was leaving much later and trying to keep people who knew from spilling the secret.

I arrived in Chicago on February 6th at 12:30 pm Chicago time (7:30 pm Bratislava time). By the time I got to my friend’s house, it had been almost eleven hours since I had contacted Joanna. I thought she would be suspicious since I usually text her throughout the day, so I had told her that TWR had a global call to prayer that would last all day. Upon arriving, I told Joanna that everyone went to dinner afterwards and that I had just gotten home. Ha, it was all made up, but she bought it!

I told Joanna goodnight at 5 pm Chicago time and then went to a theater to talk with the owners and practice how the proposal would go the following night. All the plans were set, so I went home and slept (and set the alarm at 3:30 am—10:30 am Bratislava time—to leave a deceitful message for Joanna to pretend like nothing was out of the ordinary).

On that Friday morning (February 7th), I made all the final arrangements and continued to send messages and pictures that would throw Joanna off just in case she was at all suspicious. I got to the theater at 5 pm to do a volume check for the video, set up a video camera, tape a box below a seat, and hide. 

At 5:30, Joanna came with her friends thinking she was coming to support a friend at a dress rehearsal for an upcoming performance. There was an isolated chair in the middle of the room in front of a big screen. Her friends told her to sit down. She was so confused, but then the theater tech guy started playing a video, and she said, "I love this song!” Then her friends left, and I came on the video explaining that since we couldn't be together for Valentine's Day this year, I wanted to do a little something to make up for it. 

The video had a bunch of pictures of us together from years and years ago along with our favorite songs. After the slide show, I came back on the video and told Joanna the things I've always loved about her, how grateful I am that God brought us back into each other's lives, and how it has become evident that I couldn't imagine living the rest of my life without her in it. Then I told her that I got a Valentine's gift for her, that I give it to her with all the love in my heart, and that it's actually right under her seat. 

 Back in '07

I was hiding behind the screen in the actor's dressing room, waiting to come out at the right time. The gift below Joanna’s seat was a box with a note in it that said, "This type of gift is better when given in person”. When I saw that she had read it, I came out and walked toward Joanna. She was speechless and crying. I got on one knee and asked her to marry me. Joanna could barely talk because she was so surprised, but she said "Yes!" and "What are you doing here??" 

Throughout the proposal, our favorite song by the band Straylight Run was playing. It was such a special occasion, and thankfully Joanna loved the ring! Then we sat there and watched some more photos I had compiled for a slideshow. 

Last October in Bratislava on the night we started dating

When we left the private theater room to go out to the lobby, many of Joanna’s closest friends were outside waiting with champagne glasses raised to congratulate her! She has such a great group of friends here, so I wanted to involve them in some way. 

Joanna was so happy, and everyone was so happy for her and us. After talking and hanging with everyone for a while, we went to a restaurant called the Pump Room. It's considered one of the classiest restaurants in Chicago, and neither of us had been there before. The atmosphere was awesome, and the food was incredible. After food, wine, dessert, and cappuccinos, we were very pleased to say the least. Some people in the restaurant found out that we had just gotten engaged and many congratulated us and gave us marriage advice. :) 

It was a fun and special night that neither of us will ever forget!


  1. I can hear you singing that Straylight Run song in my head on C8 in the shower. Great days, with better days ahead man. Congrats! Breh, Lets get together since you will be in Chicago!! Call Mitch!

  2. Lovelovelove this! What a great proposal, did good. :-) We couldn't be happier for you two, and I can't wait to celebrate with you guys in just a few weeks!