A Proposal to Remember
A post-Hurricane Ike restaurant visit results in a sweet marriage proposal — with a little puppy love
Editor's Note: Shawn Cullpepper was first runner-up in CultureMap's "A Proposal to Remember" contest with this touching tale that took place at the newly renovated Brennan's after Hurricane Ike. She and husband, Justin are now expecting their first child and plan to celebrate with their prize, a $100 gift certificate for dinner at Crapitto's Cucina Italiana.
"It seemed like a typical dinner with my then-boyfriend Justin. It was May 2010 and we’d been trying to get in to the newly remodeled Brennan’s since it opened earlier in the year following Hurricane Ike.
When Justin told me he’d finally made a reservation and his colleagues were going to be joining us, I was slightly disappointed. I had been looking forward to a romantic date. As luck would have it, the other couple canceled at the last minute (and I later learned they were never invited).
His plot to throw me off the engagement trail had worked.
When I turned the menu over, there were words — lots of words — and they did not include bread pudding, Banana’s Foster, or any other desserts for that matter.
We dined in a beautiful corner table of Brennan’s main dining room. We laughed, talked, and critiqued the new decor and food as if we were commentating for the Food Network. We had a fantastic dinner — complete with fresh oysters, turtle soup, shrimp and grits, filet and a nice bottle of red wine.
Then it came time for dessert.
I thought it odd that the desert menu was turned face down when the server handed it to me. When I turned it over, there were words — lots of words — and they did not include bread pudding, Banana’s Foster, or any other desserts for that matter. Realizing it was “the proposal,” I immediately turned the menu back over and looked at Justin.
I needed a second for my brain to process what was happening. My heart was racing. Justin’s hands were shaking and he looked more scared than I'd ever seen him. He looked like he might shed a tear, but in a “you just kicked my puppy” kind of way.
He just said, “Please, please read it.”
Love letter on dessert menu
It was the most beautiful love letter and proposal. I was in tears reading it. At the bottom of the proposal/menu was a line that read “P.S. Lucky and Fenway already said….” And there was a picture of my dogs—one blind, one three-legged—with a bubble caption that said “Yes!’
I followed their lead by saying ‘yes’ when Justin got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
At the bottom was a line that read “P.S. Lucky and Fenway already said….” And there was a picture of my dogs—one blind, one three-legged—with a bubble caption that said “Yes!’
The staff at Brennan’s made our night so special. It was so simple, yet so perfect. We didn’t need fireworks in Paris or a remote beach in the South Pacific. We got exactly what we'd dreamed of: Two people in love seated at a quiet corner table with great food, good wine and honest lasting words of love and happily ever after. We were married in January 2011.
I later learned that Justin explained the proposal to a server several days before the reservation. They gave him a menu and he took it home to alter it with his proposal. He returned it, and the wheels were all set in motion.
Everyone kept their cover the night of the proposal. In fact, everyone was so cool, that Justin wondered if they’d bring the right menu when it came time. After he popped the question we toasted with champagne and met the manager and staff who so graciously took part. It was a night I will always remember.
We now take our parents to Brennan’s every time they visit Houston, so they know where it all began. It will always be a special place. In fact, the menu from that night has since been framed and hangs in our foyer, serving as a reminder to us and a conversation piece for all who visit our home."
Read the winning entry in the "A Proposal to Remember" contest, co-sponsored by the Greater Houston Restaurant Association, in which Alejandro Cruz proposed to Gisela Saldivar with the help of a magician. The story of the second runner-up winner, Melissa Lopez, will be posted soon.