It's hard to know where one of the more lovely traditions in Dallas began but, until someone else comes forward, Mark Lovvorn is staking his claim.
“I am claiming the pioneer of proposals,” Lovvorn laughed.
On April 9,1980 he took his future bride Patty 470 feet up in the air into the Reunion Tower restaurant. The stunning new tower which would become the landmark building in Dallas had just opened two years earlier. Mark attended that opening, and that's when the wheels of what would become a nearly every day occurrence were set into motion.
“When it came time to propose to Patty, I knew where I wanted to go.”
The view of Dallas was guaranteed to make it memorable. But Mark had more memories in the works. As the couple ate dinner at a table for two in the rotating restaurant, something caught Patty’s eye.
“I saw a plane, and then I saw it go by again,” Patty remembered. “I looked up and saw there's a banner on the plane.”
It was not until she looked closer and saw her name along with the words, “Will you marry me?” that she began to put it all together.
“I saw it said ‘Patty’ and I thought ‘well, that must be me!”
A picture of the plane circling the tower was in the Dallas Morning News the next day, along with a photo of the Lovvorns and the story of their engagement.
They return to celebrate their anniversary nearly every year, at the tower where wedding proposals happen on average two times a day, according to tower management.
They usually spike this time of year. In fact, the tower even has a team dedicated to helping coordinate whatever proposal plan someone might have in mind.
“You can see a look in a couple’s eye and you know, oh boy, it is going to happen,” said Reunion Tower Public Relations Manager Katie Chaumont. “Valentine’s Day is our big time of year when we see a surge of engagements.”
Plenty in Dallas has changed since 1980. The Bank of America Plaza, now the tallest building in Dallas, was not there, and Mark’s creative plane proposal is no longer even possible due to restricted air space around the tower.
However, the tower is still a popular place to get engaged for all the same reasons Mark realized 37 years ago.
“So much has changed, but it is still the same feeling standing right here,” he said while looking out the window where he and Patty watched their plane fly by. “When you look up and see the tower, it is the constant reminder of the commitment you made. It is a beautiful place to be engaged.”