The First Engagement—A Meijer Gardens Love Story

Since it’s Valentine’s Day—a day filled with romance and engagements—we wanted to share the first proposal that took place at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Mike from Missouri shared how he “popped the question” to his wife, Julie, just days after we opened in 1995. He even met Fred! Here is his story:

“I attended college at Cornerstone University and basically watched Meijer Gardens built from the ground up. At some point, I decided that I wanted to get engaged at The Gardens. The day of its big ‘Grand Opening,’ I walked the grounds to look around for a nice place to ask my girlfriend to marry me.

“I told an employee my plan and she thought it was a great idea, so she gave me an extended tour of the gardens. She even suggested the bench near the orchid wall as a perfect place to ask the question. While we were standing around, a man came up to us.

“The employee said, ‘Oh, this is Fred Meijer!‘ She introduced me to Fred and explained to him my master plan. After heart-felt congratulations, Fred gave me four tickets to use at Purple Cow.

“That following Sunday, my roommate and I took our girlfriends to Meijer Gardens—one to become my future bride. Julie and I sat down on the bench I had specifically picked out the previous week. It was time.

“‘This would be a nice place to get engaged,’ I said. I took out of my pocket a fake ring I had purchased from the vending machine at Meijer. ‘Do you want to practice?’ Julie didn’t like the ring much (nor my joke for that matter!).

“I proceeded to put that ring away and then took out the real ring box, opened it and said, ‘How about this one?’ I think it was a good surprise. She, of course, accepted.

“We then left the Gardens and went to the Purple Cow for ice cream—our special treat from Fred.

“We’ve only been back to the Gardens a couple of times since then and each time it brings back great memories.”

Here is Mike, Julie and their beautiful family on that same, special bench.


Thanks to Mike for sharing his proposal story and for creating that special moment at Meijer Gardens.

Do you have a special Meijer Gardens engagement story? Write on our Weddings at Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park‘s wall and share your love story with us!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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