Jake Shkolnick, 28, and Holly D’Anna, 26, of Des Moines
"Unbeknownst to me, Jake had been planning the proposal for about a month. When his company started started selling tickets for Jolly Holiday Lights, Jake knew that he wanted to propose under a Christmas tree. (Which is ironic, because Jake is Jewish.) He wanted me to be completely surprised, because I had been dropping hints about getting engaged for a few months. I spent the day after Thanksgiving relaxing, completely unaware of his plan. Later that evening, we grabbed holiday drinks from Starbucks and headed to Waterworks Park. This was our first time going to Jolly Holiday Lights, even though we’d been together for nearly three years. As we drove through the show, I kept suggesting that we have a low-key evening afterwards and pick up a movie on the way home. Jake always responded very non-committedly, but that didn’t tip me off. As we rounded the final corner, Jake suggested that we park and check out the gift shop. I didn’t think anything of it when he told me to get out of the car, but started to grow suspicious when he didn’t get out right away. Instead of heading into the gift shop as planned, Jake led me over to a large light display that looked like a Christmas tree. After he popped the question, the rest of the evening was a whirlwind. We went to surprise his family with the news, and celebrated with a late dinner at RoCA." - Holly D'Anna, 26, of Des Moines
Peter Garcia, 24, and Michael (Ziggy) Rettig, 29, of Des Moines
"Pete and I became engaged on 8/15/14 which was also the week of Pete’s birthday. Pete and I both worked at the Garden Nightclub, Pete as a performer and me as a DJ. When I decided to propose I thought that would be the perfect place to do it as we had so many memories and friends there. The plan was set: I was going to propose to him during the middle of the show. After some planning and talking with the owner, Jason, and the host of the show, Synitha, I was ready. During the show they called Pete onto the stage for his birthday shot. After taking his birthday shot, Synitha told him to wait because they had a surprise for him. He stood in the middle of the stage facing the audience. The music cued and played “Marry You” by Bruno Mars and I walked from behind the curtain. I waited with the ring out for Pete to turn around. Finally, he realized his surprise was behind him. When he turned around he froze, speechless, and tears began to fill his eyes. It was time for the question, I told him “My life is infinitely better with you in it, and I can’t imagine spending my life without you in it. Will you marry me?” He was still speechless and never actually said “Yes,” just put his hand out for me to slide the ring on it. The crowd roared loudly with cheers and applause. We were greeted with congratulations and left the stage. The rest, as they say, is history." - Peter Garcia, 24, of Des Moines
Molly, 28, and Shane McGovern,29, of Des Moines
"Hailing from separate sides of the state, Molly (Rudd, IA) and I (Dubuque, IA) both met in college at Iowa State. After we graduated, our jobs took us to different parts of Iowa, but it was a few years later that by luck's good fortune we met again in Des Moines. We had matured from our college days, were beginning to grow in our professional careers, and found we both had many things in common. It wasn't long before I knew she was "The One."
During our time dating and eventually living together, we had met and made many friends around Des Moines. Des Moines was starting to feel like our social melting pot as we carried out our young lives. When the time came for me to propose, I knew I wanted to do something to capture the essence of the city that brought us together. I had planned the proposal around my birthday, because I wanted her to know that she was the best present I could ever have, plus she was getting suspicious... so it worked as a great diversion.
That night she treated me to a birthday dinner downtown, after which I mentioned we should take a walk out onto the Gray's Lake Bridge due to the nice night sky. Little did she know, that I had a friend waiting with his camera on the bridge, pretending to be taking professional shots of the city skyline. Upon approaching him on the bridge, she was surprised but didn't quite catch on... until I got down on one knee and presented her with the ring. Both shocked and excited, she instantly said "yes" and we turned what normally would have been a night about me, into a night about us." - Shane McGovern, 29, of Des Moines