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Oh Happy Day!

Photographs by Donna Brown (left) and Niki Leiva

August 14, 2012

Oh Happy Day!

A surprise proposal wins over Hampton Park (and one lucky lady)

Written by Melissa Bigner and Patrick Brown

This past Sunday, I headed to Hampton Park to soak up the last hours of sunshine with my dog, Oscar. We looped the garden track and I noticed a fellow leaning against the lagoon bridge with a guitar. “Oh, poor lonely guy,” I thought. On the next loop by, about 30 folks were gathered nearby, masked from the bridge by the canopy of one of the oaks. “Church group?” I wondered. One more loop around and I heard singing, then a “She said YES!” and cheering (me and Oscar included) from around the park. The guitar guy, a couple, and tree hiders all merged to celebrate a well-orchestrated proposal. Ahhh. Another romantic day in Charleston.

Luckily, the groom-to-be is a go-getter who quickly shared the backstory of the whole thing, because who in the world doesn’t love a good engagement tale? In the words of Charleston-native Patrick Brown, here’s how, after two years of dating, he proposed to his beloved Amanda Sellers. Congrats, you two! (And for anyone else with a great story, click here to post it online!)

Patrick’s Perfect Proposal
“The same sleepless night I decided that I would ask for Amanda’s hand in marriage,” says Patrick, “I began hatching the scheme for the proposal. It needed to be something fun and cheeky, yet thoughtful. Amanda is a fan of Ray LaMontagne, and we both like his song “You Are The Best Thing.” I play percussion in a couple bands, one being a folk/bluegrass/irish band called Moonlight Ale. So I enlisted their help in what I called Operation StingRay. Here it is and how it went off perfectly:

“Hampton Park is about a 10-minute walk from our house and just a beautiful park to saunter through on a nice evening. I told Amanda my bandmates Olivia and Will had “invited us to a picnic” this past Sunday. We wandered to the park, and luckily the Lowcountry weather had gotten the rain out of its system earlier. (Additional bonus—the rain left the whole park slightly damp and glistening in the late afternoon sun.) Livy and Will were “mysteriously” running late, so we walked to the bridge over the pond to wait.

“From the top of the bridge, we noticed there was a guy sitting and playing guitar behind the concrete column on the other side. I told Amanda to wait, I wanted to ask the guy if he knew a song. I squatted down, mumbled a few words to him, turned around, and, with a kazoo I had been carrying, I blasted the opening horn part from “You Are The Best Thing.” The guitarist got up and started to strum as I started to sing and... surprise! It was my bandmate Jimmy. After the first verse, the rest of my band mates slowly appeared from under a tree canopy and came down to play along into the second verse. Then we launched into the chorus with me on lead and the band singing the backup part. (Side note: If you aren’t familiar with the song, now would be a good time to go have a listen.)

“After the first chorus everything drops down to just guitar, so I got on one knee and said all the mushy stuff you’re supposed to say when you're down on one knee and about to ask “The Question.” She said, “Yes.” And after an embrace, a kiss, and a quick swirl/spin, I exclaimed loudly,
“SHE SAID ‘YES!’ ” and blasted the horn line (with the kazoo again) to launch into the chorus. At that point about 20 or 30 of our family and friends emerged from the oak trees and started singing along. Everyone sang and cheered and there was much photo taking.

“I invited everyone back to our house for some food and drinks. We are fortunate enough to be the neighbors of Twenty Six Divine, a wonderful husband and wife run eatery and catering spot. I left them a key to our house and they had everything set up by the time we all got there. Champagne… and a happily ever after.”

Tue, 08/14/2012