An Unforgettable Proposal
Brandon McKinley knew his marriage proposal to Jennifer Fletcher would be a story that would be told and retold over the years, so he put some thought into it. Brandon decided he would send his high school sweetheart on a romantic scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt, which took place on a beautiful Sunday afternoon this past December, would serve as his unforgettable proposal.
Brandon wanted each clue to be significant, but more than that, he wanted Jennifer to accept his proposal-which she did-only she didn't say, "Yes," she said, "OF COURSE!"
Brandon and Jennifer got to know each other at Hilton Head Christian Academy during their senior year. Their romantic relationship developed gradually. Brandon went to Presbyterian College to study business and Jennifer went to USCB to study special education. At the end of his freshmen year, Brandon decided to transfer to USCB. Then came a break up for about two years where they remained friends and dated others. However, when Jen found out Brandon was moving to Colorado, she called him with the intention of simply catching up. They went out for lunch and watched movies together, and that's when Brandon decided to switch his major and his plans. He decided to pursue pre-med and Jen. He never went to Colorado.
"I realized everything in my life was going the right direction when I was with Jen," Brandon said. As it turns out, the feeling was mutual. Brandon was also ready to pursue marriage, but he hadn't been able to get together with Mr. Fletcher to ask for his blessing before approaching Jen with a ring. Still, Brandon wanted to let Jen know of his intentions. "He wanted to give me a heads up. He didn't want me to lose hope," Jen explained. So Brandon planned a romantic weekend in Atlanta that included a Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons football game and dinner at Atlanta's only revolving upscale restaurant, the Sun Dial Restaurant, featuring a rotating cocktail lounge and breathtaking 360-degree panorama of the magnificent Atlanta skyline. The weekend was a success. Jen had hope.
Brandon eventually talked with Jen's father, and their engagement became secretly official. The scavenger hunt was formulated with the help of his future best man and groomsmen at Wild Wing CafÈ on the back of a children's menu. The final destination was the gazebo at Woodbridge in Bluffton. The final clue reveals why:
"I love you baybee. You're doing great! . Do you remember when we danced and everything disappeared? I'm ready to relive that moment. Let me light your way."
Years earlier Jennifer had said to Brandon, "This gazebo would be a great place to get married." So he lined the pathway with candles and bouquets of roses and waited for his fiancÈe with his dog Cuzzi, a 30 pound black lab beagle mix. The ring was in a box tied onto Cuzzi's collar. Brandon had to hold Cuzzie back as Jen approached. Finally, he let Cuzzi go and got down on one knee. The moment had arrived, though the ground was wet and muddy. "I think I cried the whole time," Jen said. "It was perfect."
Marriage proposal advice from Jen: Don't try and figure it out, ladies. Don't obsess. It'll ruin it.
Marriage proposal advice from Brandon: Don't second-guess yourself. Just do it.
Wedding date: June 19, 2009, St. Gregory the Great, Bluffton, SC
Honeymoon: St. Kitts, Caribbean
Children: Both agree, four would be perfect.
Trivial pursuit: He likes to cook. She likes to bake. In fact, Jen plans to design and bake their wedding cake.