And the winners are…
1st Place: Anjolii Diaz wins the grand prize of $100 in free Ann’s products.
2nd Place: Tiffini wins $75 in free Ann’s products
3rd Place: Angela Morgan wins $50 in free Ann’s products
4th Place: Meggie wins a $50 1-800-Flowers Gift Card
5th Place: Nico Tarquinio wins a $50 1-800-Flowers Gift Card
Enjoy your prizes, lovebirds! And remember, “$100 in Free products” means your choice of ALL products on Ann’s. Whether you have your eye on discount wedding invitations or bridal party gifts, the first three winners get to use their prize money on ANYTHING SITEWIDE!
We will be contacting all the five winners shortly!
We’ve included the top 3 stories below, but be sure to check out our “comments” section for Meggie’s story and Nico’s story as well as a few of our other favorites from Kemia Duncan, Cristina Lopez, Heather and Candace.
Congratulations to our winners and a HUGE Thank You to everyone who shared their romantic story! We LOVED them!
1st Place Story by Anjolii Diaz: A Little Help from the BBC
My engagement story is that of the movies. I say this because I only thought a tale like this would be found in a romantic film and definitely never to girl like me. But on January 31st, 2010, what I once deemed as something that happens in a fairytale love story actually became my reality. But first, a little background: my boyfriend and I met while in process of getting our doctorate degrees. Our programs are quite research intensive so we never really had an opportunity to take time off for a nice vacation. Not to mention that as students, we really couldn’t afford much. Almost four years into our relationship and our degrees, we somehow manage to accumulate some time off as well as saved enough money to go away for a little bit. We decided that we would visit my boyfriend’s family in England for Christmas and New Years. I had never been to Europe before so I was really excited! But at the same time, I had never been away from my family for the Holidays. It was a tough decision since I was also nervous about meeting my boyfriend’s family for the first time. Nevertheless, it was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up! Especially since I had always wanted to travel and my boyfriend was ready to set-up this amazing trip for us. This is a decision I will never regret! His family welcomed me with open arms which was such a relief! London was extraordinary! But most importantly, I got the chance to go on a European adventure with a man I so immensely adore. Now on to January 31st. We decided that we wanted to celebrate the New Year by watching the fireworks over the Thames River. A group of newfound friends as well as some of my boyfriend’s family came along. It was frightfully cold but I told myself it was going to be worth it. Boy was I right! But very soon after arriving there, I became very angry and irritated at my boyfriend. He kept wandering off and leaving me alone with people I had just recently met. Furthermore, it was New Years Eve! He should be spending this time with me! I had left to go to the never-ending bathroom line when my boyfriend’s niece came to get me saying that her Uncle had a surprise for me. I was still pretty upset with him because he was gone for hours. Mind you, I couldn’t call him because the international rates are pretty outrageous. So we finally get to where he is and he tells me that the BBC would like to interview us to know how Americans are enjoying London’s New Year’s festivities. I was ecstatic! We were going to be on NATIONAL TV! And it’s the BBC! So in my head I’m reviewing the things I want to say as they are escorting us right in front of the London Eye. The best seats in the house! The reporter comes up to us and looks at my boyfriend and says “So your girlfriend is unaware that we had a chat earlier today, isn’t she?” The bright camera lights are on me and I was getting quite confused. My boyfriend turns around to me and says “Yes, that’s true. That’s because I have something very important to ask you.” He takes this little black box out and says “Will you marry me?” I think all of London was screaming and cheering behind us. I can’t put into words how I felt. He put the ring on my finger and I literally started to scream and jump up and down and with all the excitement almost forgot to say yes. As soon as I said Yes, the reporter turns around and points to the New Year’s count down. It was exactly 50 seconds before the New Year and the most elaborate display of fireworks I had ever seen. I just held him so close. I couldn’t believe this just happen to me. My boyfriend, now fiancé, had just declared his love for me right next to the historic Big Ben and for the whole world to see! It was surreal! I couldn’t believe that this just happened to me. I still can't believe it sometimes. After the fireworks they led us to our friends and family where they popped open a bottle of Champaign to celebrate. I couldn’t let my Fiancé go. I just kept on hugging and kissing him. People I didn’t know started to come up and congratulate us and take our pictures. People in the Pub who had seen us on TV would start cheering and shaking our hands as we passed by. We became mini celebrities. This is the most romantic thing that has EVER happened to me and totally unexpected. And that’s the reason he kept wandering off! He had to get all of this ready and finalized with the TV station. Needless to say, I was no longer mad at him. A few weeks later, the BBC sent us the DVD of our engagement. We weren’t aware that before our engagement was going to happen, the station was airing this 2010 montage ending with a New Years shout out to the recently engaged Wills and Kate. Or that before the reporter came to us he had said “Having just seen Kate and Wills, I think it’s quite apt that we speak to this couple.” Yes, they put us right after Wills and Kate! And we were headline news the next day! I’m just so incredibly happy! I get to spend the rest of my life with the love of my life, the most romantic man I have ever met and the man who taught me that dreams really do come true! Now we can share this very special moment in our lives with our kids and for years to come. You can see my fairytale proposal on YouTube if you like!
2nd Place Story by Tiffini: The Apple of My Eye
After two and a half years of dating, my fiancé, Kerry, proposed to me. I am a teacher, and he wanted the proposal to involve my students, so he worked with the Assistant Principal and the Principal of the school to create a day I would never forget. After planning a fantastic Valentine's weekend together, Kerry informed me that he had to go out of town for work that weekend. I was devastated and cried on the spot. It took a couple days for me to get myself together, but I was very happy to learn that Kerry's flight was the ONLY flight to leave Chicago during the snowstorm, while over 1000 other flights had been cancelled. Day one of him being out of town, I came home from work to find a small child-size shirt with 3 hearts on it on the bed accompanied by a piece of paper with three question marks. I thought nothing of it. The day of the proposal, I went to school just like any other day. Thirty minutes before the proposal, the Assistant Principal pulled 12 students from my 1st grade classroom. I thought the students were taking pictures for the upcoming assembly, as I was told. Prior to the proposal, Kerry bought tiny t-shirts and ordered pink iron-on letters (because it’s my favorite color) that spelled out “WILL YOU MARRY” for 12 of my students. While he was "out of town" Kerry ironed on each letter to the small shirts, then ironed on the word “ME?” on a larger shirt for himself. In the office, the students put the shirts on over their clothes and took pictures outside the main office, spelling out the full question. Kerry and the students walked down the hall slowly and quietly to my classroom so I would not hear what was going on. When they got to the room, the principal had the students enter the classroom in order, standing sideways so that I could not see their shirts. I thought the students were going to take more pictures inside the room. Once the students were situated, the Principal said, “on the count of three, turn around. One…two…three…” Then the kids turned around. As I was processing what the shirts said, Kerry, standing in the hall, heard me reading, “Will you marry,”. He then came into the room wearing the last “ME?” shirt. I was floored! Inside the room, he formally asked me to marry him and I happily accepted.
3rd Place Story by Angela Morgan: Fireworks by the Sea
Craig and I met in my home church in Oklahoma over 4 years ago. I had tragically lost my mother to kidney disease when she was 49. I was caring full-time for my maternal grandmother, who was my second mother, in my home. After my parents divorce when I was 10, it was the three of us, three women living under one roof, and I treasure that time in my life. Craig was a New York native scheduled for a temporary 6-month assignment at a local hospital. From the day we met began our love story, which due to his work requires us to be separated by distance until our wedding. He is in New York working and I am here in Oklahoma. Craig has the biggest heart of any man I have ever known. He did a medical mission to New Orleans right after Hurricane Katrina hit the area and he immediately spent 6 weeks living in Pass Christian, MS along the MS Gulf Coast caring for patients mostly out of a makeshift medical tent. In the time he was here working at the Oklahoma hospital, he joined me in caring for my grandmother, something I am so thankful for, and he would often include her on our dates. She passed away July 2009. We had been looking at engagement rings from several places in the past year and although I thought every one of them was beautiful, none of them had the feeling that it was THE engagement ring for me. When I visited Craig and his family in New York last May, his paternal grandmother Grandma Ruth had just passed down a diamond ring to Craig that has been passed down grandmother to grandchild in their family since the Civil War era. Craig told me that one day after we were married that he wanted me to have the ring if I wanted it. When I saw it I was taken aback by its history and beauty. I asked him if I could try it on and it FIT MY HAND PERFECTLY! I immediately knew that I had found the ring I wanted for my engagement ring and I told Craig right then and there that when he asked me to marry me, that I would love for it to be my engagement ring. Craig and I arrived for 4th of July weekend 2010 at his family’s beach house at Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey, and he told me how special Beach Haven and their family’s house there was to him because he had so many wonderful memories there since he was a young boy. He told me how happy he was to bring me there and show me the place that was so special to him. When we arrived, his father told me, “We are going to have a great 4th this year. We’re going to have lots of sparklers.” On the 4th of July at dusk, Craig asked me to take a walk with him and we began walking toward the bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. We stopped at an overlook deck and almost immediately a family came to the deck area. Craig seemed almost upset and he asked me to keep walking to another area. He took me to the next deck overlook and asked me what I thought about it. I said it was nice and I would be right back because I was going to run back to the house and get my sunglasses and a hair tie. He laughed, took me by the hand and said “You don’t need any of that right now. Come on!” and began slowly pulling me to the overlook deck. He said, “There’s something I want you to have. I have a question I want to ask you.” Then he reached in his pocket and pulled out a ring box. He got down on one knee and asked me,”Will you marry me?” I exclaimed, “YES I WILL!” and I jumped into his arms and he lifted me off the ground in an embrace. So on the 4th of July 2010 at 8:00 p.m. on a deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Beach Haven, Craig asked me to be his wife and I said yes. As we embraced, I looked up to the beautiful summer sky full of the fluffy white clouds my late, great mother Jan loved and a pretty blue sky my late, beloved Grandma Cleva always loved and in that instant, I felt them watching me and Craig from above in our moment of bliss. I looked up toward Heaven and smiled the smile my Mom always said would light up the room in the dark. We walked back to the house and his parents embraced me first, then their son and we all cried happy tears. His parents had a seafood feast dinner for us to celebrate our engagement. We walked as a family down to watch the fireworks by the sea at the yacht club. Craig and I certainly did “ring” in the 4th this year! Our wedding is planned for Saturday, June 4, 2011 in the same church where we met over 4 years ago. Our reception will be dinner and dancing at the NSU Ballroom. His parents will then host a reception for family and friends in upstate New York on June 18, 2011. I wish beyond wishing that my Mom, Grandma Cleva and Grandpa A.D. (who died when I was 9, the best man I have ever known besides Craig) could be here to see my joy, our joy. Three people who loved and sacrificed so much in their own lives for me. I wish my mom and grandma could be here during my wedding planning, preparations and festivities. Mom and Grandma wanted so to be here for my wedding and I am taking heart that they will still be there in memory and spirit that I will bring to the day I become Craig's wife.