Instead of just kneeling, these guys stand out

Unique proposals make that special moment even more memorable

Unique proposals make that special moment even more memorable

July 21, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

Country singer Garth Brooks had an artist add a wedding ring to a statue of himself. When it was unveiled in May, Brooks pointed out the ring to singer Trisha Yearwood before proposing to her.

Not everyone can afford such a creative display of affection, but some local men came up with unique proposals of their own.

Caught on film

Kelly Boyer thought her boyfriend, Rob Slocum, was just well-prepared when he suggested in December 1996 that they get their picture taken in a photo booth for their Christmas card.


He even suggested the couple practice first to see how long it would take and how much it cost.

Dressed up for the occasion, the couple went to the local mall in Ohio to use the photo booth.

"Before it clicks, he turns to me and asks me, "Will you marry me?" recalled Kelly Slocum, 36, who lives south of Hagerstown.

"The thing I don't know is, if I said yes first or if I said, 'Did you ask my dad?'" she said.

"He said, 'Hold on a minute.' Put in more money and pulled out a certificate of approval (he got) in the mail from Dad," she said.

The eight pictures showing Slocum's proposal, her reaction and him showing her the certificate sit on their bedroom bureau in their St. James Village North home.

"It was really neat. We were able to share the pictures with our family back home," she said.

"I just wanted to capture it, capture the moment," Rob Slocum said. "To try to get it on film so we'd never forget. Not that we would anyway."

Deep down

Nelson Fernandez and Paula Branch were at a dinner-dance at the Venice Inn on Nov. 24, 1989, when the clock struck midnight and the bandleader mentioned some people were celebrating birthdays.

Nov. 25 was Paula's 33rd birthday.

The band leader had a large gift for a birthday celebrant and walked around trying to find out whom it was for when he approached her with the box.

"It's your birthday and it belongs to you," she told Paula.

With all eyes on her, Paula opened the box to find another box inside.

"My (future) husband's sitting there like the cat who ate the canary and everyone knows what's going on," she said.

Inside the second box was a ring box with a note attached to the outside that read "Toxic material."

"I said, 'It better be my ring,' under my breath," remembered Paula Fernandez, 48, of Hagerstown.

Opening the box she discovered her ring and a note on the inside of the lid reading, "Now will you marry me?"

"I was so embarrassed," Fernandez said. "People were whooping. By this time everyone is about lit."

And a microphone was held in her face awaiting her answer.

"'Yeah. Yes, I'll marry you,'" she recalled saying.

Then other women at the dance started smacking their men, asking why they didn't do that, she said.

"It was very unique, of course," Paula said.

Nelson Fernandez said he took Branch, whom he'd been dating for six years, to the dance that night with the proposal in mind. They had discussed getting married, but he hadn't actually asked her yet.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing since then. The couple, married in 1990, separated for eight years before reuniting. It's a second chance Paula Fernandez said she's grateful to have.

"We have our ups and downs. We're doing a lot better than we did before," she said.

Love is but a stage

Matthew Michael's marriage proposal to Alana Stubbs was a production - literally.

As leaders at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp at Eastern University near Philadelphia in the summer of 2003, they each had to participate in a leaders' skit competition.

Michael, who grew up in Clear Spring, where his parents still reside, called ahead to get the OK to turn his skit into an even more dramatic moment.

Michael sang "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers with four to five guys dancing behind him and her sitting in the front row, said Alana Michael, 24, of Marriottsville, Md.

"When he came out, he was pointing at me and I was completely clueless. I thought he was just singing to me," she said.

Halfway through the songs, the guys pulled some girls up on the dance floor and as the other couples left the dance floor, each guy got down on one knee briefly.

As she started to leave the dance floor, Michael nodded that he wanted her to stay and knelt on a knee.

"So he said all this really nice stuff and got out the ring and 150 kids were there and they all started cheering," she said. He began to propose but had to stop to ask the kids to quiet down.

Most people put about five minutes into creating off-the-cuff skits, but he and his friends rehearsed three or four times to be ready, Matthew Michael said. At first, he wasn't sure what to do for the skit, except he knew he wanted to incorporate their song, he said.

"I don't think she knew what was going on. Then it hit her all the sudden and she was definitely surprised," said Michael, 24.

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