His goals were a beachside location for a beautiful sunset, then a memorable proposal to conclude with a romantic dinner. Mike mentioned he was a great planner, or was it a warning? Either way, he organized a seamless schedule!
First, he chose a location. Sale E Pepe, an elegant choice for cocktails at sunset followed by a superb dinner. The restaurant was within walking distance to their hotel. Coastal Breeze News met with Mladen Stoev, the Food and Beverage Manager at Sale E Pepe. He was the consummate professional, laying out seating options pending weather, explaining what else was scheduled that evening and finally, informing his staff of the plans. He entered the reservation in his booking system as the SECRET MARRIAGE PROPOSAL, a precaution for his staff. Mladen explained, “Sale e Pepe has booked over 70 weddings so far this year and it is only May.” They definitely have a handle on the process, understandingall the needs and expectations required for making events memorable. Even for this event, Mladen took his time to give us the grand tour, explaining details we hadn’t even considered yet.
Next we worked on an advertisement which would announce the surprise. No names, or photos in the ad, even Annika’s grandparents didn’t know what was about to happen. CBN confirmed plans with the parties involved, Mike reconfirmed with us (trying to keep the text messages a secret as Annika asked, “who was that?”)
The big day arrived. Mike had arranged for Annika to have a day at the spa. When she returned they got ready for dinner and headed over to Sale E Pepe, where Coastal Breeze was waiting. After they checked in, Mladen let us know they were seated. Coastal Breeze News approached nearby tables as though we were doing a story on visitors to our island. We interviewed two men visiting Marco Island for a fishing trip. Next we visited a table of four, all locals. In fact, their daughter’s picture was in our last edition. We explained to each table as we left why we were really there…
Then we got to Mike and Annika. “We’re doing an article on whether we have more locals or visitors at this time of year. Where are you from?” Annika explained they came from Naperville, Illinois for some R & R. Mike played along tellingus they had gone to a White Sox game the night before and it was only 30 degrees. We asked what their entertainment plans were for the evening and if they knew the meaning of Marco midnight. When Annika explained they didn’t really know what was happening in the area, out came a copy of Coastal Breeze News. “See page 9!” we replied. There was a half page ad asking her to marry Mike.
Mike pointed out the ad. As Annika read it he pulled out a small box from his pocket and got down on one knee. The whole time photographer, Victoria Wright, was clicking away. He asked, “Will you marry me?” A very surprised Annika said, “YES!” Everyone applauded, even the wedding party next door. We presented Annika with a beautiful wrist corsage provided by China Rose Florist. China Rose designed the corsage in colors and flowers selected by Mike to match her dress perfectly. Annika exclaimed, “I wondered why you were so nervous!”
Congratulations to Mike and Annika! Coastal Breeze News wishes you the very best for a wonderful life together. Special thanks to Mladen, Sale E Pepe and to China Rose Florist for their gracious assistance. In addition to Victoria taking photos, Coastal Breeze staffer, Marilyn Honahan was able to catch some of this happy event on video. It’s now posted on the Coastal Breeze News facebook page if you want to check it out!