We love a great Leu Gardens proposal story, don’t you? Hearing the unique story of how they met and their beautiful proposal story, we knew that we wanted to feature Mandy & Jonny’s surprise marriage proposal at Leu Gardens.
Share with us when and how you met each other.
Once upon a time, Jonny was a chef and was working at a country club in Oklahoma City and I was a Catering Sales Manager working at a country club in Orlando. Both the clubs we worked for were owned by the same umbrella company, and they have another property located in South Florida, which we both happened to get transferred to.
As I was being introduced to everyone during my first week, we stopped into the onsite restaurant for lunch and that was the first time I met Jonny. Funnily enough, he was the one who made my lunch that day so I was introduced to him through the pass-through window from the kitchen to the expo line, which is very on-brand for us.
It took a few months for him to open up and start talking to me as a friend, but once he did, we realized how much we had in common and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
What are your favorite things to do together as a couple?
I’m a bit of a Disney adult and Jonny is obsessed with Harry Potter so you can always find us wandering around the theme parks, especially when the weather is nice! We also have a cat named Tyrion who I like to call an “adventure cat,” which basically means that we bring him out into the wild for walks and exploration every now and then.
We are also starting to get more into traveling, which I am really excited about. We take a bunch of day trips to places like St. Augustine, and this upcoming weekend actually we are going to Gatlinburg just for fun.
How long were you together before getting engaged?
A little over a year!
Did anyone help with the surprise marriage proposal at Leu Gardens?
I was in Miami on a business trip when I got a text from my sisters asking if we could go get our nails done before going to the botanical gardens that Saturday. I should have been suspicious because they never ask to do this but I really didn’t read too much into it since we had already made plans to go to the gardens to hunt for fairy doors, which is an exhibit the gardens do every year.
Saturday came around and Jonny was getting ready to go to Universal Studios while I was getting ready to go with my sisters. Looking back, he was acting odd – kind of hyper and energetic – but I thought he was just excited to go to the parks. I went with my sisters to the salon and then back to Alex’s house for lunch and to pickup Eli and Lily before heading off to the gardens.
When we arrived, Alex was leading the way until we arrived at an area called the Idea Garden where they have this gorgeous white gazebo-type of structure surrounded by beautiful flowers and greenery. As we were walking up to the structure, I suddenly heard Annie’s Song by John Denver (that’s Jonny and my song) and Jonny came out from behind the column.
Honestly at first glance I thought we had stumbled into someone else’s proposal and I jumped back to get out of the way. THIS TIME IT WAS MY PROPOSAL! Finally y’all!
Jonny and I both had tears in our eyes as he asked if I would marry him, and it was the easiest yes I’ve ever said in my life. He thought of everything – the perfect setting, our song, my family was all there, and he even hired a photographer. I am the luckiest girl in the world.
Honestly all of it but my absolute favorite part was all the little details he thought of to make it perfect.
Who did you tell that you were engaged first?
My bestie, Ashley. She lives in North Carolina so she wasn’t there for the actual event.
Tell us about the ring!
It’s a round diamond with a white gold band, a diamond halo cushion, and diamond details on the top end of the band. Jonny actually custom designed it through a website called Brilliance.
We haven’t been engaged very long and sooo many people have asked us about our wedding plans! We have none quite yet but we are excited.
How often people notice the ring and ask to hear about the engagement! People I haven’t met before even, which is a real treat.
What are you most excited about wedding planning?
I was a wedding planner a few years ago before I got into the venue and catering side of the business. Now I plan corporate events for a living but I have seen so many other people’s weddings happen and now it’s our turn.
Ultimately, I’m so excited to work together to create an event for us, our families, and our friends as one unit. Whatever our wedding ends up being, I know it will be wonderful because I got to plan it with my soulmate, and that’s really the best part.
If you’ve already decided, when are you getting married and what is your venue?
We are getting married in Spring 2024 but we have no idea where yet!
Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets! The planner in me needs to be over-prepared!
What’s your wedding style?
Timeless and classic. I want to look at the photos in 10, 20, or even 50 years and love what I see.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with Wedding Venue Map readers?
Take it slow and remember to see the fun in everything. We’ve been engaged for a short while and sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about planning everything, but I can’t wait to marry Jonny and I know that that will make it perfect no matter what.
Congratulations Mandy & Jonny on your surprise marriage proposal at Leu Gardens!