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Back in December Made Man partnered with Sam’s Club to give away a diamond engagement ring. We received many excellent contest entries, but could only choose one winner. That winner was Stephen Partridge of Colorado. When we told him he had won, Partridge was speechless. Immediately he began planning the proposal, and he asked Made Man to be part of it. Of course, we said yes.

In the spirit of romance, we asked Partridge to tell the story of his marriage proposal. He was more than happy to share. We’ll let Stephen take it from here.

It’s easy to THINK about proposing and the awesome ways that you’re going to do it. It’s quite another thing to get the ring in your hand and realize that you’re actually going to do it.

When the ring from MadeMan.com and Sam’s Club came into my possession on January 4th, all of those great ideas went flying out of my head. My fiancé is a public accountant, which means I lose sight of her from January through April. With precious little time until she started field work, I had to think fast. I wanted to do something public, but not in the “restaurant over dinner” way. Naturally, I thought about her office.

Unfortunately, most of her co-workers would have blabbed within seconds. This left only her manager, who was gracious enough to give me his time and assistance. So we hatched a plan.

Sarah had two openings before she would be with clients all day, every day until March — a coffee meeting on Monday and a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday. We chose Monday. He would set up a meeting with her in their conference room. This is the only conference room in the office with a projector and a computer.

MadeMan.com was a great help in getting my entry posted onto the site so that she when she came into the room it would be the first thing she saw. I would be right behind with ring and flowers in hand to propose and she would gush and weep for joy. She could show off the ring and her company would let her go early (only 45 minutes to an hour) so we could celebrate together as befits the newly engaged.

At least, that was the plan.

Here’s what really happened.

I’d secured permission from my boss to leave early on Monday to get this done. Most of the morning was spent frantically trying to get roses from a flower shop as the THREE stores I’d tried to visit on Saturday were all closed. Note to all gentlemen: this is NOT a situation where roses from the grocery store are sufficient. Luckily, a great local shop was happy to help with the plan and the flowers would be ready in time. I was in contact with Sarah so I knew when she left for her coffee meeting. Great news! She left earlier than planned!

I took off from work and headed to my flower shop, brimming with joy and the need to throw up. The flowers were perfect and beautiful, so I ran home to get changed — bloody jeans from an ice-scraping incident weren’t exactly ideal. I freshened up, tidied the hair and hopped back into the car ready with plenty of time to spare.

Then I got the text message:

“Elvis is back in the building. New plan needed. Call when you’re in the lobby.”

I arrived at her building and called. Her manager would send her down a floor to another co-worker and then call her back up once I was set up and hidden away. I’ve never taken a more nerve-racking elevator ride in my life. I fully expected the doors to pop open on the ninth floor with her there because she forgot a piece of paper or something.

Fortunately, I got upstairs with no surprise visits and got everything set up. Once we were locked and loaded, I was told to go wait in her co-worker’s office, 25 feet down the hall. Then the page came and it was game time.

I arrived in the conference room to see a very, very confused girlfriend and a slightly panic-stricken manager hustling out. Here’s a transcript:

Sarah: Wait, where are you going? (Manager leaves.) Wait! What? What are you doing here?

Me: I brought you something.

Sarah: It’s 3:15 in the afternoon! Why aren’t you at work? (Takes the flowers and turns around to set them down.) Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful, but you shouldn’t have. (As her back is still turned, I’ve gotten down on one knee so she sees me like that when she turns back around.) WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!

Me: Sarah Nicole Montgomery, will you marry me?

Sarah: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?! OH MY GOD! WHAT IS GOING ON?!?! (As I’m putting the ring on her finger.) OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD… (Probably two or three more in there.)

Me: (Still on one knee.) Is there a yes in there?

Sarah: OH MY GOD! Yes, of course! What is going on?!?!

After a few more exclamations, she finally calmed down enough that I could show her the site and the write-up. As I learned, she never read my entry and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Her manager had shown her the picture of us on the page and that just confused her even more, all within the timespan it took me to walk across the hallway, ha-ha. Finally I got the chance to show her everything but she was too shocked at this point to even really process it.

We walked outside of the conference room and there were some people waiting to congratulate us and see the ring. Unfortunately, since this had all gone down quite a bit sooner than planned, after a few minutes of showing off, Sarah had to buckle down and GO BACK TO WORK!

So we had a very awkward goodbye and I left! Luckily, she called me 20 minutes later and her partners let her go early so we spent the rest of the night together watching football, getting phone calls and fielding texts and Facebook messages from friends and family, much to Sarah’s delight.

Thanks again to MadeMan.com and Sam’s Club for your help. I can honestly say that I’ve never been happier and I am honored to have been the recipient of such an awesome contest. Sarah — thank you, too. I catch her often staring at the ring and smiling.

Winners all around.

Congrats, Stephen and Sarah! We wish you all the best.