Caroline and Brendan

Proposal Ideas Lucerne, Switzerland at Chateau Gutsch

How We Met

Brendan and I met on the first day of our college summer orientation. In our honors program introductory session, Brendan was sitting behind me and I turned around to say ‘Hi!’ We talked the whole time and I brought up whether I should do honors housing. Brendan said, “If you do it, I’ll do it” – and just like that, I made the quickest decision I’ve ever made! I didn’t see Brendan again after that session. He told me afterward that he had looked for me everywhere because he wanted to introduce me to his mom!

On college move-in day, Brendan moved in across the hall. We had a routine where we would open our doors and say “Good morning neighbor!” while we pretended to pick up the morning newspaper. Brendan became my best friend – we had classes together, similar interests, and would go to church together. My freshman year was a bumpy ride, but Brendan would always answer a late night text, let me cry on his shoulder, and help me pick up the pieces.

Over the summer before sophomore year, Brendan and I talked almost every day. He was working at a summer camp in Pennsylvania and I was back in Connecticut waitressing. When we got back to school, Brendan and I lived next door to each other again and I was finally getting out of a not-so-great relationship with my ex. One day towards the end of the fall, Brendan politely asked me what my plans were that Friday. I didn’t have any, and he took me out to dinner. I, however, made it very clear to him that this was not a romantic date, but a ‘friend date’!

A few days later Brendan asked to talk to me. He sat me down on the couch and told me that since we were friends, and friends are honest with each other, he had something to tell me. He liked me and wanted to take me on a real date. I told him that I wasn’t ready for a new relationship and he understood. The next day he gave me a letter and said: “I am not going to talk about my feelings for you again – just open the letter when you are ready.”

About a month went by of friendship, talking, and sometimes flirting. We carried on as normal, but something was different. Brendan would sometimes surprise with Dunkin Donuts or Five Guys french fries. I had the flu over Halloween and Brendan surprised me with my favorite coffee to cheer me up. He left my room and returned a few seconds saying that he just wanted to tell me how beautiful I looked. I couldn’t believe how sweet he was and I realized we were definitely becoming more than friends.

After multiple times when I felt like I was ready to open the letter, I finally did. In it Brendan talked about how much he loved me, I was his best friend, and if I would go on a date with him! I responded by giving him a card of my own that said yes!

The next day he came to my room with a bouquet of flowers to properly ask me on a date! He showed me a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of us and pictures of the restaurants and menus that I could pick to go! When that Friday night came I was so nervous – I was freaking out! I had never felt that way before. Long story short, by the end of the night we were “official” and we’ve been together for the past six years!

How He Asked

Brendan and I both love to travel and we had planned a Eurotrip for spring break to Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein. A few days before the trip, I called him in the middle of the night concerned we trying to cram too much into 7 days and we were traveling too much. Brendan calmly stayed up till 1 am refiguring our whole trip!

Brendan was really excited about one hotel deal he found in Lucerne, Switzerland. Called the Chateau Gutsch, the hotel was modeled after the Neuschwanstein Castle and overlooked the whole city. We checked in on Saturday and it was beautiful! As we left the hotel to check out the city, the front desk person asked us if we would like the last available complementary “Easter portrait” that night around sunset. I don’t think anything of it at the time. We spend the whole afternoon exploring but it was cold and raining. We went back to the hotel and had a few drinks. Brendan went to check on the WiFi and mentioned that the receptionist had canceled the photo because of the rain when he returned. Again I think nothing of it.

The next day is Easter Sunday and Brendan and I went to Easter mass at this Franciscan Church that was built in the 13th century. After church Brendan wanted to walk around again and take pictures now that it isn’t raining – but it’s still chilly! Little do I know he was stalling for time because he didn’t know if the secret photographer would be in his place! After a while, we headed back to our hotel. But Brendan wanted to take MORE pictures of the view. I admit I was a little annoyed and waited while Brendan had to use the bathroom (when he was really talking to the photographer!). We walked around the front terrace that overlooks the city and Swiss Alps when I saw a table with confetti hearts and two glasses of champagne. I also noticed white tulle on the terrace railing that had not been there the day before. I turned around to Brendan to ask him what was going on but he said nothing, he just took off my coat. I asked again, “Brendan what is going on?” But all he said was “I have something for you” and got down on one knee. As I heard camera go off to my right, I realized what was happening!

Unfortunately, I don’t remember what Brendan said – but he said it was quite nice! I was so surprised and my heart was beating so hard. I do remember that he said “I have been waiting to do this for a long time” and “You bring me closer to God.” Everything about it was perfect. I was so surprised. The ring is everything I wanted and he hired a photographer who was the sweetest and got it all on camera!

Brendan pulled this off with so well, despite everything going wrong. I switched our trip on him, the Easter portrait was the original proposal time, I changed the mass time on him, the hotel put the champagne BEFORE we were engaged, and it was chilly. But I never suspected a thing! A huge thank you to our photographer and hotel for being flexible! And a huge thank you to Brendan, for making my childhood dreams of getting engaged in the Alps come true!

Special Thanks

Stefan Hellberg
Photographer