Francis and Amanda | Willow Carving Proposal

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How We Met: In the fall of 2008 and during the election year, Francis and Amanda met in an English college class. Francis had attempted to ask Amanda out on a date a few times but never had the right opportunity. Until one day Francis and Amanda had a conversation about the presidential election. They had completely different political views. Amanda insisted that Francis should vote for Obama. So Francis pushed his political views aside and decided to take the opportunity to make a deal with Amanda. Francis agreed to vote for Obama if she would go out to dinner with him, Amanda could not resist this deal since at the time she was a big supporter of Obama. Francis and Amanda started out as friends and stayed friends for a few years. They always stayed in touch and from time to time they would go on dates.

Francis and Amanda proposalThis one date in Frankenmuth, MI, completely changed both of their lives and their friendship. As they explored Frankenmuth they discovered this lovely place beside a willow tree near a river. As they stood against the willow tree, Francis kissed Amanda for the first time, and a new chapter in their lives began. This place became special to them, so one day they used a pocket knife to carve their initials on the willow tree. Also, throughout their 4 year relationship every-time they visited that spot they would carve the date. One visit was in the middle of the winter and on a 5 degree snow blizzard day, but they still managed to carve the date.

How He Asked: Francis had planned his proposal to Amanda for months. Francis decided to propose to Amanda next to their memorable willow tree. It was challenging for Francis, since Amanda had an idea that Francis was going to propose and that specific place meant a lot to both of them. Therefore, it would be obvious to Amanda. So, Francis had to figure out a way to surprise her. A few weeks before the proposal Francis called the property owner to get permission to carve on the tree but they refused. Francis also called the city to see if he could light fireworks during the proposal but they also refused. Therefore, Francis could not hire a carpenter to professionally crave the tree. So, Francis had to take on the task himself. He called Amanda’s cousin and a few of his friends for help. On the first day at Frankenmuth, the carving was a failed attempt , the wood engraver was no match for the 20ft round circumference willow tree bark. Francis had to take a second 1 hour long trip back to Frankenmuth but this time with a chizzel and a rubber sledge hammer. After 5 and a half hours the tree carving was finished.

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Francis had 2 of his friends light the fireworks and another friend capture a video of the proposal. Also, he hired a photographer named Meghan Spencer to capture the special moment. The day before the planned proposal Francis had purposely started a small fight with Amanda to stray her off from any thoughts of Francis proposing. On May 31,2014 Francis and Amanda went for a walk in Frankenmuth to visit their special spot. As Amanda approached the willow tree the words”Amanda will you marry me” were carved on the tree. As Amanda turned to look at Francis, he went down on one knee and asked her to marry him. Little did Amanda know their friends were watching the proposal the whole time. After the proposal all their friends came out of the bushes to congratulate them and share a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

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Photography by Spencer Studios