Who doesn’t love a good proposal story? We talked to newly engaged couples in Metro Detroit to find out how local guys popped the question.
By Alexa Caccamo and Hannah Owen
Paris Is Always a Good Idea
Names: Alexa Williams and Cortez Settles
Proposal location: The Louvre Museum in Paris
Ring: Jared and custom made by a private jeweler in Miami
After two and a half years of dating, Alexa Williams, 24, became engaged to Cortez Settles, 29, in August 2017.
Before getting engaged in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Alexa and Cortez were dating in a city not even Paris could compete with — Detroit.
“We’re both from Detroit,” Alexa says. “We love it here, even after traveling the world, there’s no place like this city.”
Alexa and Cortez met through a mutual friend in January 2015 and have been inseparable ever since. Alexa says Cortez is more than fiancé, but a best friend.
“We love traveling together,” she says. “I honestly can’t picture seeing the world with anyone else. It’s hard for me now to travel without him. We just love the same things and have the best time. Dating to engaged didn’t change our relationship. We’ve remained each other’s No. 1 supporter since day one!”
Cortez took Alexa to Paris and proposed at the Louvre Museum. Surrounded by Cortez’s family at one of the biggest art museums in the world, Cortez got down in one knee and popped the question.
“The proposal was an absolute dream,” Alexa says. “I couldn’t believe it. I was blown away. Here in my favorite city, surrounded by his family at the Lourve. I mean, does it get any dreamier? I felt so special and happy!”
After the proposal, the two had their engagement photo taken by a photographer hired by Cortez and spent the whole day sight-seeing.
The couple are getting married on Sept.15, 2019 at Planterra Conservatory in West Bloomfield. Alexa says she has found someone she can always rely on.
“I love my fiancé for his patience and thoughtfulness. he’s seriously the kindest and most generous person I know,” she says. “I’ve learned a thing or two from him over the years. He supports any and everything I do — no matter how spontaneous or crazy my ideas are. He’s right there with me through every step.”
The ‘Apples’ in Each Other’s Eyes
Names: Chelsea May and Brendan Tangney
Chelsea’s hometown: Macomb
Brendan’s hometown: Goodrich
Proposal location: Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill
Ring: Lucido Birmingham
After two years of dating, Chelsea May, 25 became engaged to Brendan Tangney, 24, in October 2018.
Brendan proposed to Chelsea on fall day in Armada by taking her to Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill. For Tangney, it was a day to propose to the love of his life, but for May, it was a regular trip to the cider mill.
“He set up a whole story. One of my friends told me she had a work event at the cider mill at Blake’s in Armada,” she says. “When we arrived, we went to pick apples in the back. I looked down one of the lines of trees and saw Brendan standing at the end facing me! I turned around to my friend Adrianna and asked what was going on?
“Once I walked to him in the orchard, he grabbed my hands and I immediately knew what was happening,” Chelsea continues. “I turned to look at Adrianna in shock and saw a photographer, which further made me realize what was going on. He got down on one knee and from there I honestly am not sure what happened because I was in so much shock!”
Once Brendan got down on one knee, he asked Chelsea to marry him and she happily accepted, making them officially engaged. Chelsea remembers how she felt.
“Shock,” she says. “I remember losing my balance and not even being able to hear what he said. He has always been romantic, but I was truly blown away at how much of a surprise he pulled off.”
After pictures were taken by Brendan’s friend Chris, Chelsea, Brendan and their family and friends went to the tasting house and then Chelsea’s parents’ house to continue celebrating with a Champagne toast. The couple is getting married in fall 2020.
Christmas Came Early
Names: Alexandra Richards and Joseph Stewart
Alexandra’s hometown: Macomb
Joseph’s hometown: Armada
Proposal location: Blake’s Tree Farm
Alexandra Richards and Joseph Stewart got engaged on Dec. 1, 2018.
The couple met on St. Patrick’s Day 2017 at Locker Room Saloon, a bar in Utica. While Alexandra was enjoying the holiday festivities with her friends, she saw Joseph across the bar and immediately approached him.
“I told myself I was going to talk to him,” she says. “I had a couple more drinks and I approached him. We talked and danced for a while it.”
After a night filled with dancing and getting to know each other, the rest was history.
Although Alexandra, 26, got his contact information that night, she wasn’t she if she wanted to start a relationship with Joseph, 23.
“I was unsure at first because of the age difference,” she says. “I’ve always been told to date older because the girl is supposed to be younger, but after thinking it through, I didn’t want age to be the reason I can’t find someone I like and eventually fall in love with.”
Alexandra and Joseph moved in together in March 2018. In December, Joseph took Alexandra to in Armada to cut down a tree for their first Christmas together. As soon as Alexandra found the perfect tree, Joseph got down on one knee.
“He popped the question when we found the tree I wanted to cut down for our home,” she says. “I took the saw and tried to cut the tree down myself, but I couldn’t do it. He said, ‘Here I will trade you,’ and reached for the saw and took it from me. I was confused on what he was trading for the saw. That was when his mom stepped back and started to take photos that I realized he was proposing.”
Alexandra had a lot of emotions flowing through her body when Joseph proposed. She recalls everything she felt when he put the ring on her finger.
“I was happy, so happy. I have never felt a happiness like that before,” she says. “I was sad, because I won’t have my last name anymore — I’ll get a new one — but I couldn’t be any happier knowing I’ll take Joey’s last name. I love his mom and dad who are the most genuine, selfless, caring and loving people I have ever met. I’m honored to become a part of his family.”
After pictures were taken by Joseph’s mother, Alexandra and Joseph went back home to decorate their first Christmas tree together as an engaged couple. They plan to get married on Nov. 8, 2019 in Frankenmuth.
A Night at Wild Lights
Names: Brittany Munger and Patrick Gallagher
Proposal location: Detroit Zoo
Ring: Blue Nile Jewelry
Brittany Munger and Patrick Gallagher had two classes together during their freshman year at college, and Brittany was instantly captivated by him. “I am the most talkative person and the biggest extrovert,” Brittany says, “but I couldn’t get myself to talk to him!”
After Brittany eventually mustered up the courage to talk, it took two years of “inseparable friendship” for the two to start dating. Patrick transferred schools during that time, but he was the friend that Brittany FaceTimed at 2 a.m. after she got home from a party. “I think we both knew there was love there,” Brittany says, “but the timing was never right.”
Of course, the two finally had the opportunity to become more than friends. “When we were both single and on the same page, it was just right,” she says.
Patrick, 24, says they like to be adventurous, and they started a tradition of seeing the holiday lights at the Detroit Zoo each year. It was on this trip in December when Brittany, 24, got an amazing surprise.
She says they were waiting in line to take a picture in front of a large ornament on display. As they posed to have their picture taken, Patrick asked, “Are you ready?”
“And then I proposed,” Patrick says, “The rest is history.”
“I started totally freaking out,” Brittany says. “I kept saying, ‘Are you serious?’ Everyone in line started clapping — it was so surreal. All of the colored Christmas lights made the ring sparkle so much when he opened the box. It was incredible…I wish I could live that moment over and over again.”
Brittany and Patrick are getting married at Loft 310 in Kalamazoo on June 13, 2020.
Sweeter than Candy
Names: Rachel Partain and Eric LePoudre
Hometown: Royal Oak
Proposal location: The Siren Hotel
Ring: Tapper’s Fine Jewelry
Rachel Partain and Eric LePoudre met over craft cocktails at The Oakland in Ferndale on March 4, 2015. They have shared many amazing experiences together since that day. Rachel and Eric love to travel, and both say some of their most special memories came from trips they took together.
“One of my best memories about our relationship was a trip she took me on to Grand Rapids,” Eric says, “where we stood on the blue bridge hand-in-hand and watched the water rush by.”
“We travel as much as we can,” says Rachel, 32. “We celebrated our third anniversary atop the St. James Hotel in San Diego. We had the rooftop to ourselves and had awesome views of the city, the water and planes flying in.”
It was on a smaller trip to stay in Detroit’s Siren Hotel on a Friday — the couple’s date night — that Eric, 35, decided to take the next step in their relationship.
“While having a drink at the Candy Bar in The Siren Hotel lobby before going up to our room,” he says, “I was able to ask a Candy Bar waitress to take my phone and take a few candid photos while I proposed. While we were sitting on a red velvet couch, I got down on one knee and popped the question.”
While Eric was proposing, Rachel says she tried memorizing every word he said, but her excitement made it impossible. She replied, “Yes, of course!”
“Over the past 1,410 days we have been to many new places together, and I couldn’t think of a better place to propose than the most talked about bar and hotel in the city on our first visit,” Eric says. “I told her I loved her and asked her if she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me. I was hoping this was the proposal she had envisioned and that she would say ‘yes.’ ”
“To celebrate, the hotel gave us Champagne on the house,” Rachel says, “both in the lobby and in our room!”
She adds that Eric coincidentally proposed at 11:11, and her wish came true.
Rachel and Eric are getting married at The Community House in Birmingham on Oct. 19, 2019.