ASHLAND When Tyler Wellman started thinking of impressive ways to pop the big question to girlfriend Kelli Garvin, he realized the Paramount Arts Center stage would be the perfect place to catch her by surprise.

“She is obsessed with Christmas. She loves Christmas. It is the best time of the year for her. I already had the ring, and the Festival of Trees and Trains just kind of made sense,” he said last week after making an on-stage proposal during the opening night of the 2014 Festival of Trees and Trains.

Wellman, a member of the Boyd County High School class of 2009, said he and Garvin met at the home of a mutual friend during a Fourth of July gathering. “We started talking and then dating around Christmas,” he said. “I knew this girl is special and I had picked a good one.”

The Paramount was an ideal place to propose, he said, citing her experiences with theater groups at the performing arts venue, as well as his own appearances as a musician on the Paramount stage. Wellman said he was fortunate to contact festival organizer Christy Reaves on the first call, after finding a contact number online.

“She was very receptive. She said, ‘You tell me what you want and how you want me to do it.’ She told me to have Kelli there between acts, It was kind of hard to get Kelli there on time, but I did.”

Wellman said festival organizers handled everything perfectly, calling him to the microphone and allowing him to surprise her with a heartfelt proposal.

“She said yes — which is good,” he summarized, adding vocalist Josh Janotta somehow selected the perfect song to sing, “How Deep Is the Ocean,” from Garvin’s favorite musical, “White Christmas.” “I just really got really lucky — we didn’t plan that at all.”

Wellman said he wasn’t worried Garvin would decline his proposal, although he said she did stand there on stage with her hands over her mouth for quite a while before saying “Yes” and giving him a prolonged hug.

“She said she was very happy and loved her ring,” he said.

Garvin, a 2008 graduate of BCHS, said Wellman’s proposal caught her completely by surprise.  

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