The Proposal

For a few months now, I have been in the planning process of a wedding proposal for my lovely girlfriend Jen. Here’s how it went down.

On my birthday weekend I convinced Jen to take a half day. I told her that I am one who greatly appreciates adventures; so for my birthday, I wanted to take her on an adventure. Jen thought this was weird, but mostly lacked suspicion.

The Puzzles

Upon pickup, I presented Jen with a rainbow colored folder with five removable puzzles: Two verbal, one music, one geography and one math.


The rules were as follows:


The puzzles:

Feel free to try and solve the math and geography puzzles below. The answers were the same for the remaining puzzles.

Each of the following links will pull up the corresponding puzzle.

Verbal 1: A jumble

Verbal 2: A crossword puzzle

Music: An audio file which required transcription onto a staff

Geography: N 37° 37.278 W 122° 24.506

Math: (x^2 + y^2 – 1)^3 = x^2y^3

Each solved puzzle resulted in the presentation of a like-color envelope with a clue about where we were going.

The envelopes:



I expected the 5:04am clue to go over like a burlap sack of bricks and rocks; 5:04am was the time of Saturday’s sunrise. I told Jen I wanted to see the sunrise on my birthday and that as reward for her willingness to get up crazy early, she could play the music box tune on the beach. Surprisingly, she agreed to this wacky plan.

Did you notice the punched out patterns on the bottom of each clue? Once the clue was solved, Jen would need to transfer the punched holes at the base of each puzzle to a long scroll which, once complete, could be played in the music box I built her for Christmas.


Scroll unrolled

Jen successfully solved all the puzzles in the car ride to the Cape. She also punched the missing notes from the scroll. Still, she mostly lacked suspicion.

The Bed and Breakfast

We arrived at the Captain’s Inn at about 5:45pm Friday night.

The place was beautiful and surpassed my expectations. Roses climbed the gates at the entranceway. A group of 20somethings played croquet on the lawn by the gazebo. The buildings were of a classic cape style with weathered shingles and sea related ornamentation.



Jen and I went inside and were greeted at the front table by a young English girl who brought us on a tour of the facilities. First, we were shown through the drawing room and the library (port and sherry available for free as well as a wealth of DVDs and loan-able laptops). We were brought by the dining room and through the kitchen “Help yourself to the water in the fridge there’s hot chocolate, tea, and homemade cookies here every night from 7-10.”


Finally, we were brought to our room: the Lydia Harding Suite.

I had purposefully prepped Jen for disappointment. I alluded to the tiny size of the room and the potential need for lockers. Her shock was apparent as the door opened. A large living room with fireplace greeted us. There was a bountiful plate of cheeses, dried fruit, and nuts resting on the coffee table and a stocked fridge in the hall.


The bathroom had a huge jacuzzi surrounded with candles and aromatic bath salts and a shower complete with side wall spray units. Cozy summer robes hung on coathangers near stacks of fluffy towels. The bedroom had a second fireplace next to the door to our private balcony which overlooked fountains and a garden. Concert music played quietly from the bose system in the room.


Jen and I relaxed in the arm chairs and ate french bread with cheeses before retiring for the evening. We knew we’d have to wake up early.

Early was 4:30am.

The Morning.

I was up immediately, mostly do to the fact that I hadn’t slept much. I collected together the music box, scroll, and various emergency fix-it tools incase something broke and Jen and I zipped down to the beach.

The Chatham beach is beautiful. A lighthouse stands tall behind the road by a parking lot framed in flowers. A long expansive beach stretches out to the water – serene and quiet behind a row of shoals about 80m out. Fishing boats cruised across the water, heading out for their day on the sea.


Jen and I sat down on a blanket and waited for the sun. The sky was clear, the weather warm and the beach otherwise abandoned. It was the perfect setting for a proposal.

As the sun came up, I presented Jen with the music for her music box. She took the song which she had helped punch, and put it through. It was Mendelssohn’s wedding march.


Jen was now officially suspicious.

I then asked Jen to remove the single ribbon that circled one of the two wooden scroll rollers. Doing so revealed a seam. The wooden scroll roller unscrewed to reveal a secret compartment. Once the roller was separated, at the pull of a second ribbon, a wooden ring branded with a single heart tumbled out.

Scroll Roller

Secret compartment


Jen said Yes.


Rest and Relaxation

The rest of the weekend was full of fun. Our breakfast at the Inn was off the charts. They pampered us for our entire stay. Coffee and beverages were brought to the room in the morning. Turndown service? Heck yes!

Jen and I spent the rest of our weekend our enjoying the cape. We took a bicycle ride and relaxed at the beach. Saturday night’s dinner at FIN in Dennis was amazing, and ice cream at the Ice Cream Smuggler just down the road from the restaurant was pleasant.

When we got back to the bed and breakfast, truffles waited for us in the room. Sunday saw more luxurious eating and relaxation before the long ride home. Overall, a massive success.

It was a wonderful weekend and I’m thrilled to have such a lovely fiancée.

5 thoughts on “The Proposal

  • 7/4/2013 at 12:35 pm

    You didn’t follow the IKEA directions for proposal. It looks like a shiny ring with a precious stone on it. How were you able to follow the directions with a wooden ring.

    Very elaborate by the way.

  • 7/10/2013 at 5:58 pm

    I don’t think the proposal was intricate enough.

  • 7/15/2013 at 11:03 am

    Mike D, putting those lip-synch youTube videos to shame. Congrats to you and Jen!

  • 10/20/2013 at 5:36 pm

    Wow, you put a lot of work into it! Good job!


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