How you met
We met in high school (Bishop McNamara) in August of 2002, where Leslie was a Freshman and I was a Junior. We knew of each other in high school, but never dated. I was in a young-love serious relationship at the time. I didn’t know much about Leslie in high school except that she danced & played volleyball. I was a captain on varsity boy’s basketball team around that time.
Leslie and I had been in a relationship for about a year when in the Summer of 2014 I accepted a position and relocated to Miami, Florida. Leslie stayed behind in Virginia. And about 9-10 months she accepted a position at mega-retail giant Nordstrom. So she moved down to South Florida and everything is going well… Fast-forward about 9 months I decide to plan a surprise proposal!
how they asked
So I hold a conference-call with her best friends who are in Texas, Delaware & Maryland to plan out the proposal and all of it’s fine details. I wanted the proposal to happen in our home state of Maryland so that the majority of our friends & family could share & celebrate the moment too… The proposal would happen at the Nordstrom at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia. This location is significant because prior to her re-location to Miami, Leslie worked there under her “favorite” supervisor, Michael. So I thought it would only be fitting & memorable to have it there and to include Michael in the plans.
The plan is to get Leslie from Miami, FL to the shoe department at the Nordstrom at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia on a Saturday afternoon without raising any suspicion to propose in front of our closest friends & family with a “ghost-photographer” capturing the candid proposal process. So the conference-call with her best friends had each person conveniently coming home on the selected weekend. The weekend that was selected was March 26, 2016 because it was the Easter holiday weekend & the weekend that her family celebrated her father’s birthday. THIS WAS THE PERFECT EXCUSE TO GET HER UP TO MARYLAND! So we chose that weekend, but 2 weeks prior, I flew up to Maryland “on business”, but it was really to talk to her father (for the sake of formalities & tradition) and to meet with the photographer (@aambing), Michael & the store General Manager, Stephanie. The 45 minute meeting went great! I found out that on the same weekend, the store would be having a huge internal cosmetic & fashion show, which would be great because it would provide the needed “cover” for our friends & family to blend in unseen while Leslie would make her way to the shoe department. It would also allow me to have access to a DJ so that I could chose 2 songs that would alert our “guests” that the proposal was about to happen…The talk with her father DID NOT go as smoothly as it was planned out in my head because of some familial issiues & concerns, but it did not sway my decision to marry there daughter. But he did agree to play his role in the proposal plan. All he had to do was tell Leslie that he wanted to see her for his birthday & I would take care of the rest… A few days later, Leslie says that she is conveniently going home for Easter to celebrate her father’s birthday.
So now the plans are coming together perfectly… After that I purchase the ticket to send her home on the afternoon of March 25 & purchase my ticket to fly home on the evening of March 25th. To avoid the possibility of us crossing paths & ruining the entire event, I send her to Ronald Reagan National Airport while I flew into Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport. So fast forward to March 25th I drop her off at the airport, then I run straight home pack a 3-day overnight bag for her dog, drop the dog off at the dogsitter and finally get back to the airport to catch my red-eye 11pm flight.On the day of the proposal, I get to the site to meet the DJ and give him the cue songs while blasting a mass text out to the guests giving them the songs to listen out for… Around 11:30 I meet with the photographer to finalize the plans, meet department manager, get a feel for the environment post fashion show and snap some candid shots of the ring (BLING-BLING). Around the same time I’m texting the best friends and they are literally 3 minutes from the mall having lunch. And still Leslie suspects and knows NOTHING, lol. So the time comes, I believe it was 2pm where everything and everyone is in placed. Before my descent, I send out a mass text that it is “SHOWTIME”. So I’m upstairs on the second floor and I can see that the best friends have done a great job getting Leslie into place, all while going un-detected.
The cue song “Just The Way You Are” begins the play & I start my descent down the escalator. I get to the bottom of the escalator and I see everyone even the best friends, but Leslie still doesn’t notice ANYTHING. So I walk up behind her with a shoe box full of fresh pink rose pedals with the ring and ask her if she will marry me…!
Her first response was NOT to cry or say yes. Her first response was “What are you doing here? Where’s the dog? After I asked again she said yes with sheer joy and surprise once she saw the ring…
The wedding is tentatively planned for Fall 2017 in our home state of Maryland where we’ll be surrounded by the majority of our friends and family. We currently live in Miami, FL. The wedding location is still TBD.