Seniors recall ‘that one time we got engaged…’





By Katie Davern

Staff Writer

Erik Hinojosa chose to propose to Fabiola De Anda on New Year’s Eve while on a cruise with their families. - Photo courtesy of Erik Hinojosa
Erik Hinojosa chose to propose to Fabiola De Anda on New Year’s Eve while on a cruise with their families.
– Photo courtesy of Erik Hinojosa

Love is in the air. Or at least love is in the senior class. At press time, 15 couples had gotten engaged in the senior class. As Valentine’s Day approaches, nine of those seniors took the time to tell the University News their story about “that one time we got engaged…”

…Without dropping the ring

Gus visited me while I interned in Washington, D.C. last summer. After dinner we went walking around a botanical garden. We were standing near a large fountain and he nervously asked me if we could step away from it for a second. He then got down on one knee, but forgot to take the ring out of his pocket, so he was wobbling all over the place trying to get it out! After he asked me if I would marry him, he confessed that he was so nervous about dropping the ring in the fountain, he almost didn’t do it then!

Emily Wilson and Gus Braga-Henebry

…And It wasn’t a joke

I took Abi to Highland Village for Christmas lights. While driving around listening to Christmas carols, we stopped to go on a beautifully lit bridge over a pond. It had twinkling Christmas lights surrounding and reflecting all around it. While reminiscing and laughing about our lives together, I got down on one knee. She replied, “Are you joking?” as I had teased her about proposing before. Then I took the ring out of my pocket as proof. She said yes before I even finished asking. We walked across the bridge to the next stage of our lives together.

– James Bernard and Abi Weisbrod

…At Cistercian

On Divine Mercy Sunday in 2014, Lindsay and Ollie went to Sunday Mass as usual at Cistercian Abbey, and afterwards they went up to the front to meet Fr. Thomas Esposito, who had promised to bless the new rosaries the pair had recently received. But Ollie had further plans: After the rosary blessing, Ollie told the monk: “Wait, Father — I have one more thing for you to bless.” He pulled out the engagement ring and made his proposal, which was quickly accepted and the ring was blessed by the very accommodating Fr. Thomas.

– Lindsay McIntyre and Ollie Bockwinkel

…In the perfectly imperfect way

Over Christmas break in El Paso, Erich secretly requested an audience with my parents. They agreed and, in typical Thrush family fashion, put it off up until two hours until our departure back to Dallas. In the room, waiting for him, was my entire family. “I was really hoping it would just be us,” Erich said. But, apparently, we do everything as a family. Erich was stuck between the awkwardness of asking me to step out for five minutes and my parents refusing to allow me to step out. After a few desperate pleas on Erich’s behalf to at least “whisper in their ear” what he wanted to ask, my mother responded with a very decisive “I have already made up my mind, she stays and you ask.” Erich turned to me and told me he was sorry. He then turned to my parents and said he was going to propose to me and needed their blessing. An incredibly awkward silence followed as everyone in the room turned bright red and my father stammered out, “Yes, of course.” Before I could answer, Erich reached over and told me not to answer, since I wasn’t supposed to know yet. I responded by crying, because I felt so awkward, angry with my parents and flattered at the same time. After an all-night bus ride back to Dallas, I was encouraged by Erich to lie down for a nap. I then woke up to breakfast in bed. On the breakfast tray was a small wooden box that my grandmother had given him. He then handed me the box with the ring inside and asked me to marry him. I said yes, but only after crying again. This time it was just because I was happy.

-Frances Thrush and Erich Fields

…And then ate turkey

Stephan proposed to me on Thanksgiving at my house in Georgia. My whole family was there to celebrate and his parents flew in as well. We are looking forward to a summer wedding and appreciate our time at UD, as it has helped us build our relationship surrounded by a strong faith community and people we love.

– Andrea Papania and Stephan Jasper

…Through the power of song

Watching the headlights of her family car pull into the driveway, I reminded myself that 20 seconds of courage was all I needed (or roughly a minute for those proposing by song). Champagne was chilling in the fridge, carrot cake stood ready for the cutting, one beautiful bouquet of flowers decorated the vase, a warm fireplace gently roared and my grandmother’s diamond ring patiently danced between my fingertips as I anticipated singing a song that I had written for her in Assisi: a testament to our love story that will echo in our hearts till we reach our eternal home in Heaven.

– Matthew McKowen and Nicole Stevens

…Also through the power the song

On a warm September evening, Thaddeus took Allie Sue on a date that would ostensibly only include a picnic, sunset and stargazing. After a lovely supper and sunset with all her favorite kinds of food, they drove to a random farmer’s hayfield away from the city lights to gaze at the celestial sphere and ponder its immensity. They enjoyed a bottle of merlot with her favorite dark chocolate. He asked her to dance, and they danced to “Annie’s Song” by John Denver, which has now become her favorite song of all time. After the song’s final chords faded into silence, and Allie was sitting on the tailgate, Thaddeus produced an engagement ring and spoke his wishes. Shereplied, “YES, of course I will!!” So begins their history.

– Allie Rogers and Thaddeus Howard

…And it was like how “Titanic” should have ended

My family planned a cruise from New York City. Fabiola’s family had planned the same cruise. On New Year’s Eve, we all had a wonderful dinner together. Following that, we all went upstairs. I kept walking in front and Fabiola was “running” (or attempting to run in high heels) behind me. Fabiola saw me go past the middle of the ship and she kept yelling, “Why go so far?” She never thought that I had something planned. It was almost midnight when Fabiola arrived at the very front of the ship, where I was. I gave her a photo book and told her to read it. She was confused. Fabiola took the book and saw pictures, a love letter and a bunch of quotes. On the very last page of the book, it read, “Do you want to marry me?” She closed the book in shock and saw me kneeling down with an opened box with a ring inside. Fabiola started crying, jumping and said, “YES!” Our families came clapping and congratulated us. We all ran to see the fireworks as the midnight countdown began.

– Fabiola De Anda and Erik Hinojosa

…And began our great adventure

Joe and I were out in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on vacation with his entire family. On a peculiarly gray day, the family and I took a hike on the Appalachian Trail. We got back midafternoon, slightly sticky and exhausted. Joe and I were sitting on a couch when he asked if I’d like to go for a walk. I thought he was crazy. We’d just hiked for two hours! But, I agreed because, well, I love Joe. On the walk, on top of a hill overlooking the Shenandoah Valley, Joe asked me to marry him. And I said yes. Life is an adventure, and we both can’t think of anyone else we’d like to share it with more.

– Colleen Slattery and Joe Beatty


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