proposal story


Proposal - Story

Hello hello! I’m finally doing good on my promise to share proposal pictures. It’s taken me a little longer to get to this because (a) everything’s gotten a whole lot crazier with venues and dates to worry about, and (b) no words or pictures can do the experience that Brian so lovingly planned justice. Still, let’s try anyway. It’s the least we can do. 

Proposal Story - Kennedy Center

The whole thing unfolded at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Friday afternoon. Brian chose it because it was the site of one of our very first dates, one of the most memorable ones too. Had you asked me where I thought he might propose, I probably wouldn’t have guessed the Kennedy Center. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because we hadn’t spent much time there since, or because I really had absolutely no clue where he would eventually pop the question, but looking back, the Kennedy Center was the perfect venue for the occasion.

Proposal - Kennedy Center View

I mean, just look at that view. 

Clearly, Brian’s way better suited for this whole proposal thing and I’m very happy he was the one in charge here.

Proposal - Brian talking to Bowen

So in charge in fact that while I was at the office, Brian told me he was working from home and getting lunch with former coworkers, when what he was really doing was orchestrating a dry run of the proposal with our parents who had never met before, siblings, his Uncle Peter and Aunt Margaret, and a violinist.

Unbeknownst to me, they had all signed on to his proposal plan several weeks in advance. Brian performed his due diligence and called my parents for their blessing in early July, following a script he’d saved on his desktop under the boring work-related name “Digital Partner Program Call Log,” ensuring that I would never want to sneak a peek. Brian said his thing, my parents said theirs. and Brian paid for their flights from Denver to DC and back (!). Goodness, how I love him. 

Proposal - Bowen flower petals

My brother Bowen came down from New York and his big responsibility that day was to arrange the rose petals and to bring the bow-tie factor. He excelled on both fronts. 

Proposal - Flower Petals

Unfortunately, the rose petals kept their formation for all of two minutes before the wind got the best of them. Bowen, the caring brother that he is, rearranged them a few more times before finally giving up, letting the gusts do their thing. I happen to prefer the haphazard look anyway. 

Proposal - Walking onto Kennedy Center roof

Now comes the part where oblivious me gets involved. 

Brian picked me up from the office at 1pm as we’d planned. I’d gone into work at 5am that morning because we needed to leave early to make it to his parents’ anniversary dinner in Cleveland that evening. That excuse is also why I was dressed the way I was on a Friday after work. Brian, knowing my habit of changing into frumpy clothes for road trips, advised me to stay in my work attire because we were “driving straight to a nice Cleveland restaurant with no time for a wardrobe change.” Smooth, real smooth. I would learn later that his suitcase was a prop and sat empty next to mine in the car. There was nothing that he didn’t think of. 

About 10 minutes into the car ride, Brian said, “we’re making a quick detour.” His announcement came as we were pulling up to the Kennedy Center, and that’s when I knew something was up. My mind ran wild with ideas and questions, but out of respect, I kept those thoughts to myself because I didn’t want to ruin whatever he had planned. I stayed composed as best as I could, but the suspense made for quite an anxious elevator ride. 

Proposal - Violinist

Once we walked onto the roof terrace, I saw and heard in the corner to my right, the violinist playing a string rendition of Capital Cities’ Safe and Sound (the song is a favorite of ours and I used it as the track to this home video last summer), rose petals, and a photographer.  

It wasn’t until I got closer that I realized the photographer was our friend Errin. The photographer Brian had originally booked cancelled on him that morning, but Errin came to the rescue delaying her own weekend travel plans. Thank goodness she did.

At that point, I knew for certain that the proposal was imminent, but all I expected was for him to say a few nice things, drop down on one knee and call it a day. That alone would have been amazing enough, but no, not for Brian.

Proposal - Before the big reveal

Instead, he held my hand and walked me toward them giving me his spiel about how long we’d been together, how much family means to the both of us and how he hoped we could form a family of our own. 

Proposal - Big Reveal

It was on the third or fourth mention of family, that I could see around the corner and spotted my mom and everyone else standing together in a line, beaming with joy. 

I lost it. 

Proposal - Happy tears

100% gone. 

Proposal - Crying

Anything he said after that and before “Will you marry me?” was a blur. I couldn’t believe my parents came all the way from Denver, that Brian’s parents and sister made the drive there when we were the ones who should have been on our way to them, or that he had managed to pull off such a big surprise. Brian will be the first to tell you, I’m not the easily surprised type. Until then, I really did think we were still going to Cleveland after our proposal “detour.” 


So without any hesitation, I gave him a resounding “yes.”

This picture with him on one knee, me looking completely shocked and the people we love most in the background is my new favorite. It’s definitely going on the mantel once a mantel is to be had. 

Proposal - Kiss

This one not so much, but a kissing picture seemed necessary.  

Proposal Story - 10

Following the kiss, we were greeted with this lovely sight. Brian’s dad made number 10 signs (to Brian’s surprise) that everyone held up to judge the proposal. The 10s were unanimous. 

Proposal - Hugging Parents

Next came the hugs and confetti, also provided by Brian’s dad Bob. 

Proposal - Hugs all around

Here’s an observation. Hugs are best when performed eight times in a row with family.

Proposal - Hugs with BobProposal - Happy with Family

I realize having both families present for the proposal isn’t for everyone, but it absolutely was for us. Brian and I both value family above everything, and ours have come a long way in supporting our relationship over the more than four years that we’ve been together. So to have them there to share in our special moment was the perfect conclusion of one chapter and start to another. The instant celebration was wonderful too, plus it really helped cut down on the phone calls we had to make immediately after the fact.

Proposal - Family Portrait

And there we all are, my beautiful, soon-to-be larger family. 

Thanks again to Errin for the wonderful pictures.

Proposal Lunch at Mei Wah

And as if he hadn’t already done enough, Brian then took us all to Meiwah for a big Chinese lunch where gifts, cards and proposal stories were exchanged. 

Proposal - Mei Wah
It was a beautiful afternoon, and the evening proved to be just as a nice. Brian wasn’t lying when he said it was his parents’ anniversary, so later that night we all went out for a celebratory dinner at Sequoia on the Georgetown waterfront where we had a view of the Kennedy Center. Once again proving Brian pulled off the best-ever proposal story and proposal day. 

Proposal - Ring
And of course, the obligatory ring shot. Look at that sparkle. 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and story. Please join me in applauding Brian for all of his hard work. I plan to pay him back someday, but for now that means trying my best to stay as calm as I possibly can as we make plans for our to-be-announced wedding ideally in August of September of 2015. Emphasis on trying. Wish me luck!

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28 Responses to proposal story

  1. Teesa says:

    just when i thought i was done tearing up, you go and post this.

    i just love, love, love how brian looks so calm and confident when you look up and see your family. so frickin’ smooth. and the way he’s looking at you, especially when he’s on one knee…aaauughhhh, it’s incredible :)))

    i seriously cannot get enough of THE proposal picture though. it should definitely go on the mantel. or you could just blow it up like a poster or something. :)

    the number 10 signs are so great! what a great touch.

    brian did SO AMAZING!!! he rocks, you rock, your rock rocks, and again, i’m beyond happy for you guys.

    • Yang says:

      He really does rock. I knew it before, but now everyone knows and I’m really happy Brian’s getting the credit he deserves.

      Thank you for the well wishes, Teesa! Can’t wait to see you in a week and a half to celebrate in person!

  2. Squaling and awwwing. This is amazing. So happy for you too and can’t wait to see how the planning goes! He did goooood :)

  3. Ruth Feinberg says:

    Most beautiful happening!

    As the family knows I can cry easily…..and as I kept reading and seeing the photos My eyes were tearing with joy for the 2 of you and yes, family.
    With much love .
    Grandma Ruth

    • Yang says:

      Thanks, Ruth! I know it really mattered to Brian to do you all proud. He definitely succeeded! Can’t wait to see you in Sarasota in October.

  4. Gouri says:

    Hi Yang,

    I hope it’s not crazy intrusive of me to comment on this, but it popped up on my Facebook feed, and I couldn’t help reading this story! Congratulations on the engagement! You look like such a wonderful couple, and I really wish both of you the best for the future. :) You’re finance really did an amazing job with that proposal!

    Congratulation again,

    • Yang says:

      Hi Gouri! It’s so good to hear from you. Not intrusive at all. Thank you so much for the well wishes, and yes, Brian did a fantastic job. Rohini gives me updates on how you’re doing and I love hearing that life is treating you well. Wishing you all the best. You deserve it.

  5. Tsigie Kumssa says:

    I love the way Brian planned everything. He loves you so much. He is a good man and you are lucky woman to be with him. When he told me a little about you, I had that feeling that he will marry you. That was more than four years ago. When I was reading the proposal story I was in tears” Happy tears”. I am happy for both of you. I wish all the best and happiness together for the rest of your life.
    I was Brian ‘ s hair stylist .
    Best regards
    Tsigie Kumssa

    • Yang says:

      Thank you, Tsigie. I really appreciate you taking time to leave a note. Brian really is a good man and I’m lucky to be one step closer to making him mine officially.

      Brian misses your haircuts! Wishing you the best as well.

  6. Erin says:

    Love love love everything about this and you two!

    • Yang says:

      Thank you! The feeling is mutual. And I would love to get together to talk wedding stuff. I’ll take any and all NoVA recommendations you have. I’ve looked into quite a few myself already. Believe it or not, Cleveland is emerging as a top contender. Venues there have many more openings. The DC-area is crazy. Brides here really get planning long in advance. I feel really late to the game trying to plan a wedding in 12 months. Who knew?

  7. Tom Tafoya says:

    Well, nothing’s too good for our little princess. This is awesome. I think Brian should definitely start a side business for young men planning to propose.

  8. Julie Slattery says:

    I know the whole story but still tears are streaming down my face. My girls think I am crazy!! So proud of Brian for surprising you because mn we have talked about the where and when of this proposal for a loooong time. Best wishes. Xoxoxo. Julie

  9. Erica says:

    I am so happy for your both- grinning from ear to ear. Yang- you deserve nothing but the best because you are truly radiant inside and out. I am so happy for you both- Brian you are such a mensch. Thanks so much for sharing this for us to read.
    Lots of love to you both!
    Erica Matt and of course SHOSH

    • Yang says:

      Thanks, Erica! We’ll need to come by for a visit soon. I hate that we’re away every weekend and that Shosh is in bed by the time we get off work. Maybe one of these nights, we’ll just have to come by with takeout even if Shosh is sleeping.

  10. Kasia says:

    So happy for you both…sitting at my desk at work crying like a baby. Seriously Brian did such an amazing job planning your engagement story. I love it!! Can’t wait to celebrate with you both soon.

  11. Ellen Uchimiya says:

    That was an amazing proposal–what a great story. Brian, that was brilliant producing. Really brilliant. Congratulations, again, to both of you!

    Yang, how is it that your brother’s name is Bowen?

  12. Ricki Brown says:

    Mazel Tov for you both. Hope to meet you soon in Cleveland. Brian, that was so thoughtful and romantic.
    Love, cousin Ricki.

  13. Jean says:

    Love it. You guys are amazing.

  14. Kelsey says:

    Awww, such a cute story! Teesa filled me in today and told me the story was up on your blog, so of course I had to check it out. Looks like Brian has set the bar pretty high :) Congrats to the both of you!

  15. Carolyn Cort Grossman (cousin) says:

    What a lovely story as the start of your life together.

    My late husband (Mel) and I were married on August 7, 1949.

    I hope your August wedding will bring you the happiness that we had for over fifty years together. Sending my love, Carolyn

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