Love is in the Air: A Depot Proposal

May 30 by in Discovery Ride, Engagement Proposals, General, Weddings tagged , , , , , with 2 comments


My little brother, Ted, proposed to his girlfriend of 5 years, Nicole, at Arbor Day Farm last week.  It was a wonderful evening!  Everything was made even more special by the trifecta of my involvement in the event: (1) I am Ted’s big sister, (2) I served as Ted’s top-secret proposal planning assistant, and (3) I am an employee of the Arbor Day Foundation.  I’m thrilled to have the chance to share the story with the readers of this blog.

Nearly 24 years have passed since Ted entered the world.  As the story goes, I proclaimed his arrival to my kindergarten class with the following description: “Teddy is fine, but you should see my Mom!”  Like so many siblings, our childhood days were wrought with joy and drama.  However, he eventually won me over with his own unique brand of adorability.  Ted now lives and works in Connecticut…and I miss him every day.  I can say without question that he is one of my best friends.

Ted and Nicole share a toast

Ted and Nicole share a toast to their new life together. The two were engaged last week at Arbor Day Farm Discovery Ride Depot in Nebraska City.

You can imagine my joy when Ted announced his intent to propose to his girlfriend, Nicole.  During the past 5 years of their courtship, Nicole has spent quite a bit of time with our family and I’ve come to love her.  Ted came to me and our sister, Emily, for help pulling off a surprise proposal.  He knew he wanted to propose in Nebraska, and also wanted to include both families in some way.  Several ideas were tossed around before Ted realized that Arbor Day Farm in Nebraska City was the place.  I was thrilled!  He also asked us if we could help him plan everything…and we answered with a resounding YES.

We immediately spoke with Doug, the Vice President of Arbor Day Farm and a friend of our family, to pitch the idea and talk details.  Doug connected us with Adessa, the wedding coordinator at Lied Lodge & Conference Center.  With Doug and Adessa’s idea suggestions, it was decided that Ted would propose to Nicole at the Tree Adventure.  Then, they would return to Lied Lodge for a surprise dinner with both families on the Sunset Terrace.  A date was set, and the families were notified.  May 24th was circled on everyone’s calendars!

The day arrived with perfect spring weather and not a cloud in the sky.  My sister and I arrived in Nebraska City first to set the stage for the proposal in newly dedicated Discovery Ride Depot: a bottle of champagne, two glasses, and a bouquet of cream-colored roses.  Then, we left everything else in Donna’s capable hands at the Tree Adventure and headed back to Lied Lodge to check in with Andrea and her dining room staff.  Everything was going according to plan!

Ted and Nicole arrived at the Tree Adventure right on time, and she still had no idea why she was there.  After a nudge to head into the Tree Adventure from my coworker, Amy, the couple walked up to the decorated Depot.  Ted dropped to one knee and proposed…and Nicole said yes!  After enjoying a glass of champagne, the happy couple headed back to Lied Lodge for dinner.  It wasn’t until they arrived at the Sunset Terrace that Nicole realized their families were there!  Hugs and tears followed, along with a champagne toast, photos, and a delicious dinner.  We concluded the evening by singing “Happy Birthday” to Nicole, who would celebrate her birthday the next day.

Thanks to the joyful and passionate staff of Arbor Day Farm, Ted and Nicole’s life together is off to a great start!  And now that the proposal is out of the way, it is time for us sisters to help plan another event: the wedding!

Maggie Stuckey, the Arbor Day FoundationMaggie Stuckey is a grant writer for the Arbor Day Foundation.  She maintains that life is a fragile bit-of-luck in a world based on chance, that she should never be cloned, and that the Curse of the Bambino was absolutely real.  Oh, and her favorite tree is the bald cypress.


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  • Deb Burks says:

    Maggie, what a beautifully written article! It was such a magical day, and you’ve documented it all so well. I think I’ve already read this 4 or 5 times….it’s great to keep going back to. I’ve also forwarded to my family members who all live outside of Nebraska.
    Ted and Nicole now cherish an amazing memory of their engagement. Now for the best event planning ever…..their wedding!!


  • Mom-Mom & PaPa Rossi says:

    We were not able to physically be at this glorious event. However, our prayers and loving thoughts were there. As the grandparents of Nikki, we have followed her romantic voyage with the young man Ted. Although we have not met you, your sister, or your parents, it is evident from the few times we met and were in Ted’s company, the loving concept of family is so very evident. It is with much pleasure and happy anticipation that we look forward to spending a few days with Nikki and Ted before they head to Folly Beach. Y’all will have a most enjoyable time at the beach and the “Holy City” Charleston. Speaking of your favorite tree, the bald cypress, it impressed PaPa so much since he is also bald. Thanks for being such a wonderful young lady. God Bless.

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