For my 30th birthday, Ginny conspired with my friends and family to throw a surprise party for me at our house. Weeks of planning, a house piled with decorations and food – all was ready. Even the ice storm that had begun hadn’t dampened spirits or attendance that much. While my best friend Pete kept me busy, Ginny put the final touches on the party and waited for the surprise. Only, the surprise was not what she thought….

Rewind a couple of months. I knew I loved Ginny and wanted her to be mine always. So, I went to our good friends Pete and Ashleigh with an idea that was just forming: steer her toward throwing me a surprise birthday party so I could turn the tables on her and surprise her with a proposal. Amusingly enough, Ginny came to them shortly thereafter with…the idea of throwing me a surprise birthday party! She had a decidedly easy time convincing Pete and Ashleigh to help! As the weeks ticked by, Pete and Ashleigh served as double agents for me, letting me know how the “surprise” party preparations were going. I began to think about exactly how to spring my surprise at the party and had a moment of inspiration.

The prior year for Valentine’s Day I had given Ginny a large red and white stuffed dog, which we affectionately referred to as “Love Puppy.” I mused that he was her guard dog when I was away from the house. Love Puppy was a wonderful reminder of our love, so he seemed a natural fit for this task. I decided on making a video slideshow of Love Puppy travelling all over Springfield to find a gift for Ginny so she wouldn’t feel left out on my birthday. At the end, the true gift (and the gift giver) would be revealed. I set about planning what storylines to do, how to set up the photography, and how to edit and assemble the final result. Just one problem – I had to accomplish this under her nose in the same house!

As the day got close and the slideshow remained incomplete, I began to worry that time would run out. To add to the difficulty, Ginny was already paranoid that I would find out about the surprise party and thus was scrutinizing my moves. Finally, she had to work one night that I did not and, with Pete’s help, I set to work. We photographed Love Puppy all over the house, in the car, about town, and finally at Denney Jewelers. As we took pictures at the intersection of Wabash Avenue and White Oaks Drive, it happened to be rush hour. We got several honks and a few bewildered stares as Pete held the dog overhead and I snapped away! Brian at Denney Jewelers was a good sport, even posing with Love Puppy as though offering advice on ring selection. With all the pictures in hand, I worked clandestinely late at night assembling the final product.

About the same time, I was selecting the real “surprise” from Denney Jewelers. I finally found the perfect stone and setting with the staff’s help for a one-of-a-kind engagement ring. After the approval of Ginny’s best friend and Pete and Ashleigh, all was ready.

Back to the day of the surprise party…I’m busy rehearsing one of the biggest moments of my life while Pete is keeping me “busy” at his house. Finally, all of Ginny’s preparations are complete and she gives Pete the signal to bring me to the house. I walked in and was “surprised” by Ginny and a kitchen full of our friends; she really did a great job putting it all together, which made it easier for me to do a good job of acting surprised! Once everything died down a little and everyone was there, Pete mentioned to Ginny that he had put together a little something to show to the crowd on the TV and asked for her help getting everyone in the living room. Pete started the slideshow I had actually made while I sat next to Ginny. As she watched the show and giggled, I tried so hard not to make it obvious that I was hanging on her every little reaction and gauging when the jig was up. In a stroke of good fortune, she still didn’t quite realize it was a proposal!

l until I turned to her at the end of the slideshow, told her how much she meant to me, and got down on one knee. Her reaction was priceless: a mixture of surprise, excitement, joy, and bewilderment! She had to process the proposal and the fact that I knew about the party the whole time simultaneously! When I asked her to make me happy the rest of my life by marrying me, she could barely get the answer out between the squeals and the tears!
I guess Ginny forgave me for spoiling her surprise – we were married in August of 2010. Love Puppy still keeps watch over things when I’m away. And I still think of my favorite double-cross every time the light catches, just for a second, my bride’s ring.

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30 comments
Renee Balagna
Renee Balagna

It was such an honor and so much FUN to be in on this secret! I remember the day Shaun asked me to come out and approve the ring (which was absolutely perfect, by the way!). He started by saying, "I know about the surprise party," and as he revealed his master plan, I would've sworn my jaw had hit the floor! The most beautiful part about it was that they were each (unbeknownst to Ginny) working their tails off to do something special for the other; in Shaun's case, to give Ginny the surprise of her life! She had come to me a few days before the party, which was in early February, and asked if Shaun had mentioned anything about proposing on Valentine's Day; lucky for me, I could honestly say, "Nope!" The day of the party came, and Ashleigh & I were on pins and needles, helping Ginny prepare for the big surprise party! The anticipation was mounting as the day went on, and when the weather began to present problems, it was so hard for us not to tell Ginny, "Don't worry, there's no way this surprise party can go wrong!" When Pete was finally able to present "his gift for Ginny", she still didn't have a clue that anything was amiss, and when Shaun got down on one knee that night, accomplishing THE MOST romantic proposal I have ever heard of, I watched her glow in what had to have been the happiest moment I've seen her experience in our 25 years of being best friends. Even now, after the engagement and the excitement of the wedding, these two still show each other everyday how much they love one another through all of the little things they do for each other. I couldn't think of a better "happily ever after".

Anonymous
Anonymous

Wonderful proposal! Wish mine had been so thoughtful.

Amber Inman
Amber Inman

Ginny and Shaun are the perfect couple, and they both have huge hearts! They are the best friends anyone could ever have and they are always there for you. They do so much for everyone else I think its time something happened for them. They deserve this and I hope they win. best of luck!!

Ellen
Ellen

What a sly "Love Puppy"! Ginny, you fell right into his plans! Great story for your children and you will always have the video!

Cory Jobe
Cory Jobe

So cute! What a great story!

Jen
Jen

What a great story! I love it. Congrats top you two!

Brenda Anders
Brenda Anders

Only an engineer like you, Shaun, could mastermind this. It's a one-of-a-kind proposal which gave me goosebumps and tears in my eyes! The sweetest expression of self-less love I have ever experienced! I wish you both the happiest and most blessed lives together!!!

Tracy Daniels
Tracy Daniels

I just tear up every time I watch Ginny and Shaun's proposal. The love that they share with each other is amazing. My vote is for Ginny and Shaun.

Alysia H
Alysia H

Loved the proposal when I first saw it, and loved it again watching it now! :) Very romantic and deserving of the award!! :)

Melanie Mintz
Melanie Mintz

If you look up the word "romantic" in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Shaun and Ginny. You could not ask for a more deserving couple to win this contest. I love you guys.

Cassidy
Cassidy

It's an extreme joy to know that one of the greatest people I've ever known has found her happy ending with a truly great guy! Shaun and Ginny are two people who light up a room with their love, and you can just tell they'd do anything for one another. Their engagement story is truly something to be envious of, but I think the people they have become because of one another (and their love) is something even more noteworthy. Congrats to two people who mean a lot to me, and congrats on such a wonderful story! LOOOOVE YA!

Katie Slaid-Walter
Katie Slaid-Walter

This is the sweetest and most original engagement story I've seen. Loved it! You two are the best. :-)

Bre
Bre

Wow!!! How sweet!! You guys had me laughing and tearing up at the same time!! Best wishes and much love!

Bethany
Bethany

So happy for the two of you!

Liz
Liz

This is the BEST proposal EVER!!!! I cried a little and laughed a lot when I saw the video!!! it was AWESOME!!!! You deserve this award more than ANYONE!!! I wish you guys the best forever!!! and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Hyon
Hyon

Woot! Well planned and executed! Not surprised by the level of effort put into this. Good beginning to your story together. Wish you happily ever after.

Lisa
Lisa

I had never seen the side of Shaun that Ginny has brought out! Didn't see such a romantic proposal coming either! What a great love they share!!

Celina Hawthorne
Celina Hawthorne

Ginny, this story is AMAZING!!!! Shaun was so sweet and creative!! No one deserves such happiness more!! Congratulations!!! :)

Melissa Davis
Melissa Davis

So adorable! Very well thought out plan. Hard to beat!

Heather Dietz
Heather Dietz

I think that it was a great a creative way that Shaun proposed to Ginny. Amazing Engagement story!!!!

Kayla Anders
Kayla Anders

Wonderful story for a wonderful couple! If anyone deserves to win this, it's definitely you two! Love you both! :)

Jeff
Jeff

Great and very original idea from Shaun. Glad to see two great people happy together. This idea was put together very well and was extremely thoughtful. Great job and guys take note...That is tough to outdo!

Kathy Schreck
Kathy Schreck

I loved hearing the details of their special evening. I was so happy for them. What planning and Shaun is the greatest guy! They were made for each other! Now that's an engagement story!

Mike Patterson
Mike Patterson

A very well thought out game of deceit, all in the name of love!

Jane Scott
Jane Scott

What a wonderful story - Didn't really know he was such a romantic guy but I am happily surprised by it! Great story, and I hope they never forget the love they had for one another at the beginning. May it continue for the rest of their lives. Love One Another.

Kathleen Wilson
Kathleen Wilson

This is the most original proposal I've ever heard of! I've seen the video and I laughed & cried the whole time.

Dana
Dana

Best engagement story ever!!!! Ginny you deserve it, and Shaun, I dont know you but that vid made me SOOOOO Jealous!! Good luck to both of you! Hope you win Denny Jewelers Contest!!!!!

Last updated February 5, 2017