Miles Orscheln used this parade float in the annual Gardner Lake 4th of July Boat Parade to deliver a surprise wedding proposal to his sweetheart. Photo courtesy of Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Miles Orscheln had decided to pop the question to his sweetheart, Allison Stanley, and he wanted to submit his proposal in a unique and memorable way. He also wanted it to be a surprise. The idea he came up with delivered the surprise proposal successfully, on the water, at the end of a parade of decorated pontoon boats, on the 4th of July.
She’ll probably remember that.
Allison Stanley grew up and went to school in DeSoto. Miles Orscheln is an Olathe South alumnus.
After graduation, Miles accepted a scholarship and played baseball at University of Central Missouri (UCM), formerly Central Missouri State University.
Allison transferred to UCM in her sophomore year to join the soccer team, and that is where the two met. They graduated together in May – as part of the UCM Class of 2017.
Miles told his mom he was going to propose and wanted to make it special. After some brainstorming, the idea to do it during the annual Gardner Lake Boat Parade began to develop.
His uncle owns a house on Gardner Lake, and Miles has been spending the 4th there with family since his teens.
“It’s been like a little family tradition that we have. We always go out there on the 4th and watch the parade,” Miles said.
“Allison has become part of that, a couple of years ago – and I figured that would be the best place to do it,” he said.
Next they contacted the boat parade committee and asked if they were OK with the plan. They got a green light.
Miles had to bring more people in on the secret plan. . . . . There was a boat to decorate for the boat parade.
A cover story was needed, in case Allison caught a glimpse of this activity.
“We told her we were doing a Sporting Kansas City boat for my two little cousins that love soccer,” Miles said.
The two cousins were the mini bride and groom on the proposal boat. At the last minute, the kids were told it wasn’t going to be a Sporting Kansas City float, but a wedding theme instead.
“My grandson, who is 8 and a big soccer fan – he was a little upset when he first found out – but he got with the program and he was fine,” said Mike Knop, the uncle who owns the house on the lake.
On July 4th, 2017, the family gathered at the lake to watch the parade, same as they have in previous years.
It had been raining hard that morning, with a 50 percent chance of more rain in the afternoon. Miles had told his step dad early that morning that the plan had “a lot of moving parts, and if it all came together, it’d be a miracle.”
Around noon, the rain stopped and at 4 p.m. and the parade began as scheduled.
The couple took a seat on the boat dock, with Allison thinking she was watching for the little cousins on a soccer boat.
Miles had made sure their proposal boat was the last in the parade.
“There were about 30 or 40 people that all knew it was going to happen, standing behind us. If she would have turned around, she would have known something was going on, because every single person had their phone out, like they were anticipating something big,”,said Miles.
But Allison kept her eyes forward, focused on the boat parade.
As the boat started to come into view, they could hear Bruno Mars song ‘I Think I Want To Marry You’ playing.
“I got up, and still at that point she had no idea what was going on, and then, when she could see the boat, she was speechless. I got down on one knee, and she said, ‘Are you serious’? Then I asked her to marry me, and she said ‘of course’, “ Miles said.
“He said he had a speech planned, but when the time came, he got nervous and could only say ‘will you marry me,’”Allison recalls.
She wanted to put the ring on right away, but Miles didn’t want to take any chances with the ring out there on the dock, so they walked onto dry land to put the engagement ring on Allison’s finger.
The newly engaged couple then boarded the boat and finished the parade route with a sign that read “She said YES!”
The couple will now begin planning a May or June 2018 wedding.
Miles is currently working for UMB bank in downtown Kansas City, and Allison is coaching a gymnastics team in Blue Valley.
They plan to begin their wedded life here in Johnson County.
“We love this area. We’ll probably end up living somewhere between Gardner and Desoto – we love it here,”,said Miles