A Decade Old Engagement Story

Dec 9, 2014

One of the reasons Mike and I decided to splurge on the Australia trip was because our 10-year anniversary is this coming April, and we wanted to celebrate it in a big way. (Australia may have been too big since we probably won't be able to top it for the even more momentous 25- and 50-year anniversaries.)

I go back and forth between thinking, Whoa, it's already been ten years?! to Only ten years? Really?

This past weekend, those memories felt very close, almost like they could have happened yesterday. Mike proposed on December 4, 2004, and with the anniversary of that important date passing this past week, I decided to try and recreate the evening.

It has been a long, long time since I've told this story (although, in the days immediately following, I must have told it a hundred times). As Mike and I visited our old spots, we found our own memories clashing just a bit. But this is how I remember it.

Mike and I were students at BYU. I was a sophomore; he was a junior. We had been dating since the beginning of the year and had mentioned the possibility of marriage (while still trying to be rather vague and non-committal about it).

Several weeks earlier, I had purchased tickets to Christmas Around the World, a performance that features multicultural dances by BYU's folk dance teams. The tickets were for December 4th.

Before we went to the performance that evening, Mike suggested that we get Panda Express and take it over to the Tanner Building. The Tanner Building was a favorite of ours. Although neither of us were business majors, we had choir practice there, we loved the architecture, and we liked finding secluded corners to, er, study in.

We had time to kill, so after we ate, we rode the elevator to the seventh floor. It was a Saturday evening, and the hallways were deserted. We went to our favorite corner and sat on a couch while Mike told me about why he couldn't sleep the night before. Before he started, he pulled out a box and said, "This story has visual aids." I opened it, and inside was a gold chain with a black pearl pendant. I don't think I said anything because I didn't know if it was a present or merely a prop.

He started telling me about a woman on his mission (he served a mission for our church in the West Indies from 2001-2003) who had been like a mom to both him and his companion. Before they left, she gave each of them a black pearl pendant and told them to only give it to the girl they planned to marry.

I know it's crazy, but until he said those words, I had no idea that it was the lead-in to his proposal. I glanced down at the necklace that I was still holding. Me. And he had just said that he was only supposed to give it to the girl he married. And I was holding it.

And then I knew exactly what we were doing in a secluded corner on the seventh floor of the Tanner Building. He didn't even have to say the next words (but he did), and I don't think he even really needed my answer (but I gave it anyway).

Then he put the ring on my finger, we kissed (it was our first one), and we practically skipped on our way to the performance. I remember very little about the dances except that we hid my hand from view in case we bumped into any casual acquaintances (since we hadn't told either of our families yet).

Afterwards, we phoned our parents (who were not surprised), told my roommates (who went crazy), and basked in the glow of being engaged.

And so that is why last Saturday, we did the same things we did ten years ago (circumstances called for doing them out of order, but we did our best). We again ordered Panda Express. We walked the halls of the Tanner building and sat on the edge of the fountain and argued about which corner it really happened in. (It was a little confusing since they've recently added onto the Tanner Building, but after much debate, I ceded to Mike who got me with, "I was thinking about the location a lot more than you were, and I picked the spot farthest away from the elevator.)

We went to the same performance of Christmas Around the World (thanks to my brother and his wife who watched our four (!) kids--definitely something we didn't have to worry about the first time).

I actually think I enjoyed the performance a lot more this time. Ten years ago, I was (a little) distracted.

Tanner Building - 2004

Tanner Building - 2014


  1. What a darling story (and so typical BYU :) I love that you and Mike have different memories about what happened. My husband and I have the same problem with our first kiss story. That picture of you two from 10 years ago is adorable.

  2. Great story! Congratulations on 10 years.

  3. Great story! I remember Mike coming to our tiny apartment in Provo to tell us how smitten he was with you :)


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