By Mark Squibb | Vol 7 No. 12 (June 20, 2019)
From the ring in the wine glass to popping the question on the jumbo screen at the ball game, proposals come in all shapes and sizes.
For Patrick Boland, the perfect place and time to propose to his girlfriend Jessie Connolly was during an annual charity for an organization close to both of their hearts.
“All the stars aligned perfectly. Incredibly, everything worked out,” said Boland, who decided to propose to Connolly during closing celebrations of the Walk for MS (multiple sclerosis) held in Mount Pearl on May 26.
Earlier this year, his grandmother Mary Shallow offered him her own ring to propose to Connolly, whom he had been dating for over a year at that point.
‘My grandmother actually offered me her ring, specifically for Jessie, because she loved her. My whole family loved her,” said Boland. “I was planning on doing it probably around the fall, when I started mechanical engineering, because that was a better time and financially it would make more sense, but where my nan was offering up her ring without my even saying anything, I took that opportunity and ran.”
He got the idea at an MS chapter meeting to pop the question during an MS event.
“Why don’t we get together how we met? Because we met at one of the walks essentially,” explained Boland.
“Initially, I probably would have done it during the Cruising for a Cause in August or something like that, but I don’t think I could wait that long once I got the ring,” he laughed.
Boland and Connolly have known each other for about 10 years, meeting one another through their family’s heavy involvement and volunteerism with the MS Society.
“That’s why I did the proposal at the MS Walk, because of the MS connection between our two families,” he explained.
In fact, Connolly’s mother Zita Kavanagh-Taylor, chair of the MS Avalon Chapter, was a reference on Boland’s resume.
About three years ago the two started to become closer friends and about a year and a half ago they started dating.
Boland explained that once he made the decision, it was a matter of everything falling perfectly into place.
“We were coordinators of the walk, so I knew she’d have it off [work],” he explained.
Later that same day, the two had to go to a graduation party, so Jessie had her makeup and nails already done.
“Which, she really wanted done, to my recollection, whenever the proposal was going to happen,” he explained.
The upcoming graduation party also offered Boland a cover for slipping out during the event to grab the ring.
He purposefully left the graduation card at home, just so he could go back for the ring.
Boland also orchestrated to have family members present, many of whom are actively involved in the society.
“She wanted her family around when it happened,” he noted.
With family in the wings, an audience of volunteers and event participants, Connolly’s hair and makeup on point, and a ring in his pocket, Boland took to the stage.
“We did prizes. I was drawing prizes, and we had three prizes, but I said there were four. And then for the last ‘prize,’ I drew her name, and she came up, and that’s when I started my little spiel,” Boland recalled.
“It actually fit together perfectly.”
Connolly accepted, to the surprise of the cheering audience.
Connolly told The Pearl that although she had her suspicions that Boland would be popping the question to her, she certainly wasn’t expecting it that morning.
“That day I was distracted because we had so much to do,” she said.
Connolly said she isn’t a big fan of crowds, and when her name was called in what she thought was a random prize draw, she almost sent her little brother Alexander up in her place.
“But thank God that I didn’t, because that would have been a little bit of an awkward situation. Honestly, I was just really surprised, but I’m happy with the way he did it… It was so nice. My whole family was there.”
The couple plan to marry in July of next year.
Meanwhile, volunteers raised $49,000 from the event for the society.