Joey & Jennifer’s Proposal Story

Joey and Jennifer

By Joey Depakakibo and Jennifer Chojnacki | 29 November 2010

Backstory to the proposal
My fiance Joey and I are artists, and he is also a fantastic animator. We have known each other for over 2.5 years, meeting through a circle of artists in Chicago… and have been dating for about 1.5 years of the time. One of the moments I realized I was in love with him while dating, was when he showed me some of his old high school animations he created. There was one video in particular that was my favorite. He filmed a “joke” of sorts…him walking around his neighborhood with a big cardboard box over his head. The film’s quirkiness, silliness and insight into his personality made it my favorite.

Proposal Build Up
A month prior to the proposal, he told me we were going to see a screening of his friend’s new documentary on July 1. That evening on July 1st, as I was finishing up getting ready, he mentioned that while cleaning up, he found another old animation he did back in college, which I would enjoy. He called me downstairs to watch it really quick before we left. This was all just a diversion to surprise me with the proposal. He created a short film for me, that was based off his high school film that I mentioned earlier…It is called “Adventures of the Walking Box”. With the help of some talented, creative friends, he started filming this 7 months before he proposed!

This is the video he played: (I am breaking it out into two parts below)

The “fake out” movie:

So the whole time I am thinking this is his “school project”, but then it turns into something else…

At the end of this film, (as you will see), the box turns toward the screen and turns into a tv that shows an animation he created where he secretly took all of my little doodles, random drawings and animated them. Each scene is based on things I love, places we’ve been together and little quirky things he loves about me…so amazing! I had no clue he was up to this and was completely shocked to see this at the end of what I thought was “his school project”. It was the best surprise I’ve ever had.

The proposal part:

After the video screening
After the will you marry me on the box turned around, I was expecting him to be getting down on one knee and asking, but then he said “think about your answer..we have to go now”. I was like “huh”? So to add even more surprise to it all, he drove me to downtown Chicago and had me blindfolded in the car, telling me we are going somewhere special. At this point, I was worried he was going to take me on TV or something! But he lead me 6 city blocks with my eyes closed to our favorite park right in downtown, where 2 years prior we had a special moment together as friends. Two years ago on a warm summer night when we were just hanging out as friends and not yet dating, we looked up at the sky in this park we were at, saw the clouds break and a star appeared. We got excited and both made a wish on it…

Back to the proposal…so we arrived at the park, I opened my eyes and realized we were at “our park”. And it was here that he revealed his wish to me, he made two years ago. He (honest-to-god) wished he would marry me one day and hoped the wish would come true today. He got down on his knee with a beautiful ring and asked for my hand. And of course, with tears in both of our eyes, I said yes!

As a reflection on the video, in a way it was a metaphor for how before he met me, he was a lonely wandering box walking aimlessly through life….on a quest to find happiness. The animation is a metaphor for when we met…his world became more colorful, bright and happy. I definitely feel the same! 🙂

We are so excited for our wedding coming up — July 2, 2011! FYI, my fiance is 100% Filipino!

Engaged Couple: Joey Depakakibo & Jennifer Chojnacki
Wedding Date: July 2, 2011
When and Where the proposal was held: July 1, 2010, Veterans Memorial Park in Chicago, IL