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Caught on Camera: Great Pumpkin Proposal!

When you have an iconic park, it’s not uncommon for guests to visit in celebration of momentous occasions: birthday, good grades, graduation, family reunion, etc. One of the most popular reasons I hear is to celebrate a wedding anniversary. We love that! Strong families are the foundation of society. So, we are particularly excited when we’re asked to help with a marriage proposal—we aren’t always able to help, but when we can, we get into it even if it’s beyond the simple things to do this Christmas.

At the beginning of October, Melvin called us and shared that he wanted to bring his girlfriend to Great Pumpkin LumiNights and propose. He wanted us to help him with the surprise.

Here’s the inside scoop on how this came to be—it was supposed to be a surprise, right? Melvin called and our hosts had to track down the right person on our Special Events team (Kris) to call him back. Kris and his team were worried about leaving a message when they called back—and they kept missing him! Kris and Melvin didn’t actually get connected until the week of the planned proposal—a few weeks after Melvin’s initial call.

Melvin did his homework. He scouted the vignettes throughout Dollywood’s Great Pumpkin LumiNights area and he decided he wanted to pop the question in front of a camping scene in Timber Canyon. Melvin and Hannah love to go camping together.

Okay, next question—how did he want to do it? Melvin decided he wanted to stop and drop down to one knee next to a couple of pumpkins that read

Hey, Hannah

Melvin has a question

Kris enlisted the help of his wife, Jaimie, who has already carved more than 650 Funkins (artificial pumpkins) for Great Pumpkin LumiNights—and that’s not counting the real pumpkins she’s carved. Jaimie got right to work and even added some daisies to the design because Melvin shared that those are Hannah’s favorite flowers.

From there, Kris says there was a flurry of text messages that covered all the details: Melvin approved the design Jaimie sketched and named the time he planned to be in the proposal spot. He wanted Funkins so Hannah could keep them. Melvin even sent pictures of what they looked like so Kris and his team would recognize them and be ready for the big moment. Likewise, Kris sent Melvin pictures of the people who would be involved so Melvin could be on the lookout, too!

When the day arrived, Melvin texted Kris that he was nervous—but Kris says he was just as nervous! There were a lot of moving parts to this kind of special event.

As Hannah finished putting on makeup in the parking lot, Melvin texted Kris to tell him they had arrived. Hannah wanted a funnel cake, so that was their first stop! Kris and his team were on standby.

Things started accelerating when Melvin texted to say they made it to the giant pumpkin guitar in Craftsman’s Valley. Kris had staged the proposal pumpkins and his team was ready to set them out.

Dollywood guests are smart. As soon as people saw what the pumpkins said, a crowd gathered. People took pictures and wanted to wait and watch. Kris didn’t want to give the surprise away, so he stayed on crowd control until he got the next (and last) text.

By this point, Hannah had met up with her cousin (the very person who first introduced Melvin and Hannah). She was in on the surprise, too. She took over the texting and let Kris know the couple was moving past Drop Line. That was Kris’ cue to start looking for Melvin and Hannah.

When he spotted them, Kris and his team members fell in behind. (Can’t you totally picture this going down with some James Bond music playing in the background??) The Special Events team wanted to create some separation from the crowd so Melvin would have room to get down on one knee as he wanted. As discreetly as they could, they acted like they were just a group of friends talking—blocking others from walking into Melvin and Hannah’s moment.

Hannah saw the pumpkins. And then she saw Melvin and the ring. Success! Hannah didn’t know it was coming until it happened.

She cried as Melvin asked her to be his wife. She listened as he listed reasons he wanted to spend forever with her, but today, she can’t tell you what he said. She was in shock. Melvin did all of this for her.

A Dollywood photographer was there to capture the proposal and the moments after SHE SAID YES!

Kris pre-arranged for the pumpkins to be boxed and waiting at Package Pick-Up for the future Mr. and Mrs. as they left the park later that evening. Hannah told me she looks forward to pulling them out every fall and re-living her special proposal.

The happy couple plans to be married sometime in the next couple of years.

From all of us at Dollywood, congratulations!

By | 2021-08-25T12:20:44+00:00 October 31st, 2018|Couples|0 Comments

About the Author:

Amber Davis is in the thick of navigating life as a working mom. She regularly balances meetings and tantrums —from her children, not coworkers. Growing up in Knoxville, Amber visited Dollywood and Sevier County often and now loves to share the same experiences with her own young family. Read More!
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