{family} Our Annivesary: The Story of His Proposal

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Hi friends! Today Scott and I are celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary, so in honor of that, I thought I'd take a little departure from the normal decor, DIY, and organizing talk to share the story of how he proposed. 

If grand gestures and lovey-dovey stories make you want to gag, feel free to avert your eyes now and come back tomorrow for another great Five Minute Friday DIY project. But if Hallmark Channel-worthy love stories are your jam, then read on!


Scott and I started dating in December of 2001 - my senior year of college - and we had been together through his grad school, my law school, starting our first "real" career jobs, him starting his professional acting career, and me buying my first home. Throughout most of that time we had talked openly about marriage. We both knew we wanted to marry the other, but we were so busy getting our educations and starting our careers that we weren't in a rush to get engaged and plan a wedding. 

So while I was expecting a proposal from Scott someday, I had no expectations of when that day would be. And I certainly wasn't expecting it on a random Thursday afternoon in the fall of 2006. Which was exactly his intent. Unbeknownst to me, Scott had been planning his elaborate proposal for months and had specifically chosen a day when he knew he would catch me by surprise. 

My co-worker and I had just returned to the office after a lunch out downtown. I was working at my computer when she came into my office and said that someone in the lobby had given her a letter to give to me. She and I always seemed to have weird encounters with people in the lobby and elevators, so I rolled my eyes and hesitantly took the envelope from her. 

Inside the envelope was a letter that appeared to be type written. The letter gave me a long list of very specific instructions to follow. After reading it, I had a pretty good hunch that it was from Scott, but I had to review it several times to make sure I understood exactly what I was supposed to do. 

The letter informed me that my boss had already agreed to give me the afternoon off and that I was to send a text message to the provided {anonymous} email address if I wanted to accept the challenge that awaited me. Of course, I accepted! 

Per the letter, I retrieved my first clue from my friend Andrea's office. She gave me a small envelope that said "ONE" on the front. The card inside was marked with an "I" at the top, followed by a riddle. 

And since I didn't have a camera phone way back then {can you even imagine?!}, I was also provided with a disposable camera so that I could take photos along the way. 

What followed was a 6 1/2 hour scavenger hunt that led me on a "this is your life" style journey through Denver, with friends, family, and meaningful destinations all along the way. 

Let's start with the first clue...

When I solved the riddle in Clue #1, I knew that my first destination was Questar - the company where my dad worked for over 30 years, and where a good friend of mine from law school - Cory - also worked. Four years earlier, Questar had provided the natural gas to power the Olympic Flame during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic {the "firey star for the world"} referenced in the clue. From the riddle, I knew that Cory would have the next clue.

Questar was located only a block away from my office, so I walked over there and made my way to Cory's office, where he gave me another small envelope with the second riddle inside. This riddle had the letter "L" at the top.

I solved the riddle in Clue #2, and started to walk across downtown to the office of Kuhn, Carnes & Anderson, the boutique law firm where I worked throughout undergrad and my first year of law school. During my time there, I had the opportunity to help with preparations for a case that the attorneys argued before the Wyoming Supreme Court {the "Supreme experience" referenced in the clue}.

The next envelope was with one of the partners at the firm, and inside was the third clue, with the letter "O" at the top.

After solving Clue #3, I determined that I needed to get in my car and drive to the University of Denver {where Scott and I met}. The riddle told me that I would need to go to the Student Involvement Center in the Driscoll building {the university's student union  with a large glass bridge - the "glass house" - spanning Evans Avenue}. This was a place where both Scott and I spent countless hours getting to know one another during college, while working for various student organizations.

The clue at DU was very had to find, because the girl that was supposed to give me the clue had gone home early {she was pregnant, nearing her due date, and not feeling well}. She had left the envelope for me in the middle of a table in her office, but her office was locked. I finally found someone willing to unlock her office and allow me to get my next clue, which was mark with the letter "V" at the top.

Clue #4 led me south of DU, to my friend Corrie's {"corE"} office in the Tech Center {not to be confused with the Cory who gave me clue number 2}. It was now the start of rush hour, so it took me quite a while to get there, especially because of the major highway construction project on I-25, known as T-REX {the "path of the dinosaur"}.

When I finally reached Corrie's office, she came out to meet me in the parking lot. Corrie and I had been best friends since high school, so it was awesome to have her involved in this special day!

She gave me my next envelope, and inside was the fifth riddle with an "E" at the top. 

The riddle in Clue #5 was the most difficult for me to solve. I sat in the parking lot thinking about it for quite a while before finally realizing that my next destination was to the home of my friends, Holly and Russ. Holly and I were law school classmates, but she had attended undergrad at Rice (the Owls) and her husband was an alum of Harvey Mudd (whose mascot is Wally the Wart).

Holly and Russ live in Arvada, on the north west side of Denver - in the opposite corner of the metro area from the Tech Center where I had picked up Clue 5 from Corrie, so it was quite a drive in rush hour!

When I finally arrived, Holly and Russ gave me another envelope with the sixth riddle inside, with the letter Y at the top. {Have you noticed that the clues are spelling out a message?!}

Clue #6 led me to Columbine High School, which both Scott and I attended - although we didn't know each other at the time {I graduated the year before him, and despite many mutual friends we didn't end up meeting until college}.

From the riddle, I knew that Scott's mom, Karen, would have my next clue when I arrived. She worked as the secretary to Columbine's then principal, Frank DeAngelis {the "significant Italian influence"}.

It took me quite a while to drive down to Columbine on the south side of town. When I got there, Scott's mom was waiting for me and gave me my next envelope, with the seventh clue, marked with an O.

After solving the riddle in Clue #7, I determined that my next stop would be my parent's new house, which they were just moving in to. Fortunately, their house is not far away from Columbine. When I got there, my mom and dad acted as if they had no idea what the scavenger hunt was about or where my clue might be.

Although I had never lived at this house with my parents, I suspected the clue would be in the room referred to as "my room" because it had the furniture that was mine growing up.

I went upstairs and found my eighth clue in this room {which my mom had recently painted with zebra stripes on the tray ceiling - it's an awesome room that I should photograph and share with you guys!}. Clue #8 was marked with a U at the top.

This led me back to downtown, but not back to my office {on Curtis street}... instead I knew I was headed to my condo in the Uptown neighborhood. 

The reference to the radio referred to the station I had been instructed to listen to in the original letter - Mix 100.3. I lived in unit number 1003 - so I know I needed to go upstairs to my condo, but first I had to send a text to the "anonymous" address I'd been using to confirm my locations throughout the day 

I circled the block in front of my building a few time, anxiously awaited permission to go inside. When I was finally granted permission, I entered through the lobby of the building {Tower on the Park} and waited for the elevator to go up to my loft on the 10th floor.

When I arrived at the front door of my condo {at about 8 pm--6 hours after this all began}, there was another clue--Clue #9--sitting in the wreath on my front door.

The card inside contained instructions telling me to go inside, and that once inside I was not turn on any lights and not to open the blinds or any doors. The instructions also said that I still had work to do and that I would have to organize the stacks that I would find inside to uncover the final clue.

My heart was pounding because I knew that I had to be nearing the end of the scavenger hunt, and I highly suspected that Scott was nearby and that a proposal was impending, but I didn't know what to expect when I opened the door.

When I got inside it was dimly lit, and there were candles everywhere! There was a single red rose on the kitchen island and a larger vase of flowers on the coffee table. There was also a big stack of presents on the coffee table.

Throughout the scavenger hunt, each clue had a letter at the top. In order the clues spelled out "I LOVE YOU!" and these same letters were capitalized on in the clue on front door.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed that each present was marked with one of these letters on the top, so I arranged the presents in order, lining them up on the couch to spell out "I LOVE YOU!"

I looked around, unsure if I should open the presents, or if I was supposed to wait for Scott. But the clue said my next task should be self-explanatory, so I sat down and slowly started to unwrap the gifts... a necklace, the book "1000 Places to See Before You Die", a season pass to the Denver Art Museum, an interior design book about lofts... pretty much all of my favorite things! Man, did this guy know me, or what?!

Eight gifts later I arrived at an envelope with a "!" on it. Inside the envelope was a card with my final instructions.

The final clue told me to send a message stating "I'm Ready." A minute or two later {though it seemed like an eternity} I receive a return text message telling me to walk through my bedroom to the door leading to my balcony, then to knock on the door, wait 10 seconds, and then go outside. Holy butterflies in my stomach!!!! 

When I opened the door to the balcony, Scott was standing there looking out at the view of downtown.

As I walked out onto the balcony Scott dropped down on to one knee {since he'd given me the camera, I felt it was only right to take a picture of the moment}.

At long last, the moment the whole day had been leading to!!! Scott asked me to marry him, and then presented me with the gorgeous ring that he had picked out!

Of course I said YES!!!! Scott then put the ring on my finger and we snapped a selfie {before selfies were even a "thing"} to commemorate the occasion!

We then went inside to toast to our engagement!

After all this, I finally had a chance to ask Scott how he had managed to coordinate the efforts of so many people to pull of such a perfect proposal. He told me that he had taken the entire week off of work in order to write the riddles, print and prepare the clues, purchase and wrap the presents, and deliver the clues to their respective locations. But once the events were set into motion, he spent the day in front of the computer, anxiously receiving my text messages and replying to confirm my destinations, and waiting for me to finally arrive back home.

To this day, I am still in awe of this amazing proposal, and the special day that he gave me! It was so fun sharing the experience with so many friends and family and visiting places of so much meaning to the two of us. But I love that, at the end of the day, it was just the two of us alone on the balcony of my condo, staring out at the city view and making a commitment to spend the rest of our lives together! 
Scavenger Hunt Proposal Story

Exactly 10 months later - on July 14, 2007 - we stood together again, this time in front of all of our friends and family, and said our vows.

Nine years later, I love this guy more ever single day! We were awoken this morning when our two boys crawled in bed between us to watch cartoons, and I was struck with gratitude by all of the wonderful things we've experienced together and all that we have to look forward to!

Life has been very good to us, and I can't wait to see what the future has to hold!

Each year on our anniversary, I have shared a blog post about our wedding/honeymoon... 

You can see some photos from our fun wedding day here:

And last, but not least, here's the story of the wedding ring-selfie tradition that we started on our honeymoon and that we've continue ever since on all of our trips and other special occasions...

Thanks for taking the time to read my sweet story! And Happy Bastille Day!


  1. This is an amazing story! You are a very nice couple! May happiness be with you always.

  2. Beautiful story! :) Happy anniversary! :) (Brie)

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with us. I loved every detail of it! What a beautiful couple turned beautiful family!


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