From the monthly archives: August 2010

In June, my boyfriend of five years, Brandon, and I walked into Denney Jewelers. I pulled a sheet of paper out of my purse that showed the ring style I wanted: a round stone set in what looked like two bands intertwined. One of the bands featured small pave diamonds. After months of occasional searches online, I had found the perfect ring on Denney’s website. I narrowed down the wide selection of diamonds to three and told Brandon to choose one but not tell me which he picked. We left the store knowing that the setting would be ready after we returned in July from our vacation in Seattle.

In Seattle, we enjoyed a break from Springfield’s hot weather and visited museums and the Space Needle; walked around Pike Place Market and enjoyed great food; toured the underground remains of buildings that had been part of the cityscape in the 1800s and 1900s; went on a harbor cruise; and walked through Japanese gardens. We took hundreds of photographs throughout the trip. We love photography as a hobby, and we weren’t about to leave our equipment at home. Brandon toted a large backpack containing lenses, flashes, filters, and even his tripod.

Summertime in Seattle is a great time to visit the city. The rainy season has passed, and the temperatures are perfect. When it does rain, it’s either a mist or a brief shower. Toward the end of our trip, we needed our umbrellas for the first time in Seattle. It was the Fourth of July, and we had just finished a tour of the Seattle Japanese Garden in the Washington Park Arboretum.

“Where would you like to go?” Brandon asked.

I said that I wanted to revisit an area that featured a stone wall and a pond with koi fish. On our walk to it, however, it started to rain. We decided to wait it out under a shelter. To pass the time, Brandon suggested taking pictures of us using my camera’s timer. We took one photo of ourselves, and Brandon checked the camera to make sure the photo looked right.

The ProposalHe set the timer again, and when he reached my side, instead of standing next to me he got down on one knee and presented a box. Inside was an engagement ring; a simple setting holding one of the three stones I had selected.

The camera clicked, capturing my wide smile of surprise. I had no idea Brandon went to Denney’s, selected the diamond and had it placed in a simple solitaire so that it would be ready for our trip. He kept the ring hidden for almost a week while we enjoyed our vacation.

He didn’t say a word; he didn’t need to.

“Yes!” I said. He placed the ring on my finger. I cried.

We left the garden, keeping ourselves dry under my umbrella. The rain cleared, and later that night we watched fireworks rise above Lake Union, our cameras clicking from tripods as we took pictures and held hands. The fireworks were brilliant; and every time I glance at my ring, its brilliance reminds me of that wonderful day in Seattle.

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Four months ago we walked into Denney Jewelers and found the engagement ring that we both instantly fell in love with (Verragio 18K).  I decided to take Katy on a surprise getaway to Washington, DC, which is where I have always wanted to “pop the question.” During our getaway that seems almost surreal, we discovered fate, faith, and forever happiness.

To begin, Katy and I are both beginning our careers as teachers in the state of Illinois. We are both very dedicated to our profession and the many kids we encounter daily. I also coach basketball and baseball, while managing an aquatic center during the summer season. This said, we tend to be very busy and any down time is spent developing meaningful relationships with our students and our community. Katy and I were high school sweethearts and we have now been together for over seven years! My recent proposal at the Lincoln Memorial was due in part to our roots in the Land of Lincoln and also my affinity with the wholesome ideals echoed by President Lincoln. As a junior high history teacher, I could think of nothing more meaningful than a proposal at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

Our weekend getaway began on impulse for Katy, because she did not know of the trip prior to 5:00pm on Thursday evening. I had been planning the trip for months, but I did not inform anyone other than immediate family members. Our initial flight to D.C. was at 7:00 am on Friday morning, which meant that we had to leave our hometown of Shelbyville, IL at 2:00 am!

During our drive to the Indianapolis airport we saw a shooting star across the sky, which offered a spark of excitement toward the weekend we were about to have together. When we finally arrived at our hotel we were shocked to find that we had been upgraded to a suite at the historic Hotel Lombardy on Pennsylvania Avenue. I had written to the hotel prior to our arrival, which I assume accounted for the enormous generosity.

We ate dinner at a historic restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue that evening and then proceeded to spend the remainder of the evening at the Lincoln Memorial. When darkness fell over the Memorial and the lights came over the D.C. monuments, I knew our moment had arrived. In front of hundreds of people I bent down on one knee and asked for her hand in marriage. Within seconds Katy had the ring on her finger and swarms of people were busy taking pictures and giving us a round of applause. It was the most thrilling moment of our lives together thus far.

The following days were spent at the National Zoo, National Archives Building, the Smithsonian Museums, and the many historic monuments scattered across the D.C. area. The hotel also took the courtesy of sending champagne, strawberries, and fudge to our room on our last night.

When we arrived home on Monday evening we were welcomed with banners and hugs from all those who have taken part in our journey together. We are both destined to do great things in this world and have a commitment to the wholesome values associated with the American Dream.

Our service to community and classroom echo in this special event.

We will both be forever grateful for the quality of service and the excellence in product that we found at Denney Jewelers.  Forever Happiness.

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Shelly and Johnny - Most Romantic Couple July

We had talked about getting married for 2 years. We just never got around to the specifics.  Finally we decided after eight years it was time.  I left pictures around the house of different rings for over 6 months. I had been browsing around for rings and came across Tacori.

When I found the ring, I knew it was the one, but when I went to Denney Jewelers  to find out about it, it was more than we had budgeted for a ring. After discussing different options, I decided I would just have to settle for something comparable.  I went home and talked to Johnny about it, we put it on the back burner and forgot about it for a few months.

One day Johnny calls me, he had gone to Denney’s and talked to Matthew about the ring.  He called and asked me what I wanted to do, I told him I loved the ring, but was happy with something in our price range.  When I got home, there was a bag from Denney’s with sizing rings and a down payment to order my Tacori.

I immediately burst into tears.  I couldn’t believe he bought me the ring. All I knew was that it would be ready in 4-6 weeks.  Every few days Johnny would joke about the ring, he would say, “It will be here in 7 weeks.”  Then the next day it would be 8 weeks, then 9.  This went on the entire time until the “big surprise.”

Fast forward to July 31st.  We had planned a day trip to St. Louis for some shopping and dinner.  This was nothing unusual.  We went to the mall and were heading to Ruth Criss steakhouse in downtown.

We were early, so Johnny said, “Why don’t we walk over by the arch?”

“Sure, I haven’t been over there in years.” I said.

We walked around for a little bit, and then wandered up the path under the shade.  I was staring out at the river when Johnny said, “OK Babe!”  I turned around and he was down on one knee with my Tacori in his hand.  I immediately started crying. Of course I said “Yes!” Who wouldn’t say yes, to such a great guy.  Even with me knowing the ring was coming, he still managed to make me cry.  I will be Mrs. Johnny Rudin on October 18th, 2010.

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Last updated February 5, 2017