Hannah and Caleb

Hannah's Proposal in Lake Mississinewa in rural Indiana

How We Met

We met at Taylor University through the symphony orchestra, and specifically on the orchestra trip to Ireland my freshman year, his junior year. While we had been in the orchestra for 3/4 of the school year, we hadn’t really talked at all until the team assembled for the trip on March 23rd. I was especially excited because there were several really cool guys that I was determined to get to know. No I wasn’t desperate, I was just missing the solid group of girl and guy friends that I had in high school. While waiting to get our tickets, a group of us decided to play a game. I had brought a game called the “Ungame” that was really just a series of personal question. I got no response, but another guy pulled out a deck of Dutch Blitz and that really got my and the group’s attention. I love that game! Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, our first flight to DC got delayed for 4 hours, causing us to miss our connecting flight. While we hung out as a group that first night, that guy and I did spend some time walking and playing our violins around the airport. This is also where he tells me that he decided to keep an eye out for me as I… struggled to get through security and keep all my baggage together. (My violin almost stayed at the security checkpoint.) I thought it was quite cute when he said to my hotel roommate that night in DC to make sure that I got to bed. We spent the majority of the next day just sitting in JFK waiting for another flight out. The same Dutch Blitz guy approached me and said he was curious about the Ungame. We proceeded to spend the next several hours asking each other random, sometimes silly questions, and sometimes deep questions. And we really get to know each other better. The thing that really stuck with us both was the honesty and truthful care that we put into our answers. That same honesty has grown into trust as we continue our relationship. When I finally got to Ireland (he was on another flight later in the day), our director’s wife asked me if I liked anyone, even on this trip. I had no idea how to answer that, feeling like a child with her hand caught in the cookie jar. She chuckled and said that she could see the way that he looked at me. I caved and said that I did think that I liked him. One of the first sightseeing trips was to a castle with a beautiful courtyard and gardens surrounding it. Dutch Blitz boy (now named Caleb) and I walked about the grounds, taking some pictures, which once he noticed quickly became him taking a lot of pictures of me with the scenery. On the way back, the director’s wife caught us and took our picture together, the first of several that she so kindly seemed to always be around to take. On that bus ride back to our hotel, he asked to sit next to me, then promptly grabbed my hand, and told me that he liked me and wanted to date me, but didn’t think he was ready yet. And suddenly fell asleep on my shoulder, I blame jet lag. Somehow we managed to spend most of the rest of the week together, quickly becoming obvious to the rest of our teammates that there was something going on between us. And the rest they say is history. :-)

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Lake Mississinewa in rural Indiana

How He Asked

Hannah and Caleb's Engagement in Lake Mississinewa in rural Indiana

On Saturday (April Fool’s Day, yes it was a risk, but it was the only day that worked for everyone.) I got Hannah’s immediate family, as well as mine, and her college friends to come to Lake Mississinewa where I had asked Hannah to be my girlfriend 33 months ago to the day. The plan I told Hannah was that she and I were going to do a photo shoot near campus directly after dinner before heading out to a dance that Taylor University was holding. Instead, the photographer at the end of the photo shoot asked for us to do a blindfold picture with me leading Hannah on a log. As she was blindfolded, her friends came up and kidnapped her while the photographer and I got away to meet with Hannah’s and my families at the lake.

Where to Propose in Lake Mississinewa in rural Indiana

The kidnapping involved her being led through the Dining Commons on campus (receiving several strange looks), making a brief restroom break while blindfolded, as well as staying blindfolded through the 45 minute drive (where they received several more strange looks from adjacent cars).

Meanwhile, my family had set up lights down the pathway to the exact spot where I had asked her to be my girlfriend those 33 months ago. It had gotten dark, being around 9 o’clock. Hannah’s car arrived, stopping a little ways away from where the lights were set up (currently turned off) and her friends proceeded to tell her just how much she meant to them and what they loved about her during their time together at Taylor. Then they sent her with a lantern flashlight toward where another flashlight waved in the distance. That was her childhood friend, who talked about how much Hannah meant to their close-knit group of high school friends. She then sent Hannah on her way to the next flashlight, which was my parents, who talked about what a positive change Hannah had brought into my life. Then finally they sent her off to the last flashlight which was her family who talked about how much she meant to their family. Hannah has always struggled with feeling loved, and I hoped this was a good way to show how much those around her cared for her.

As they finished, my brother raced down the path of lights, turning them on as he went past. I was standing at the end of that path, and started playing on my violin a song that had been played at every wedding on my mom’s side of the family for a generation by my Great Aunt. She said she wasn’t going to play it anymore, so I decided to pick up the torch. I didn’t want to play it during my own wedding, so this was the compromise. Hannah’s Dad led her part-way down the path of lights, then let her continue on by herself. There she was standing in front of me as I finished my song, evidence of tears on her face. I passed my violin off to my brother, tried to get some words out about how much she really meant to me, got on a knee, and proposed. And she said yes! :)

Afterwards we celebrated with a late night trip to IHOP with the whole proposal crew.

Special Thanks

Melody Sheehan | 
Photographer