Collin Tierney isn't a big-deal kind of guy.

That's why when he decided he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, Mariah Brown, he knew he had to make it a big deal if he wanted to really surprise her.

Cue Winterhaven.

Collin, who grew up in Tucson, loved the idea of proposing at what had been an annual childhood tradition.

So after bouncing off some ideas with his friends, he came up with a plan.

He enlisted the help of some friends of friends, Tom and Kim Birmingham, who own a home in Winterhaven.

The plan was to put a sign in their yard and then Collin and Mariah would casually walk through Winterhaven until they came upon the house — and the proposal sign.

On Tuesday night, Collin set up the large sign decorated with Christmas lights in the Birmingham's yard that said "Mariah will you marry me?"

Then came Wednesday.

When they got to Winterhaven that evening, Collin said they walked around the neighborhood for a while looking at lights because he needed some time to get his nerves out. His girlfriend (spoiler: now-fiancée) isn't from Tucson and had never been to Winterhaven before.

"She thought it was awesome," Collin said. "One of the coolest things."

As they approached the house where his sign was standing, there was already a large group of people gathered around and talking about the looming proposal.

"I thought she would hear them talking about it and it would ruin (the surprise)," Collin said.

Collin said it took a while for Mariah to see the sign in the yard, but once she did, he was ready.

"There was a crowd of people around us and she kind of broke down in tears and I was on my knee," Collin said.

The Birminghams, who own the house, had set out some champagne for the couple to toast with.

"Everyone around us cheered," Collin said.

And, of course, Mariah said yes.

Producer/Audience Engagement Analyst