How They Asked
From Him: I knew for a while that it was in the plans to propose, but I was planning to wait until after graduation and our upcoming move to Cleveland. When we decided on doing our spring vacation in Venice, I quickly realized this was a perfect time. I knew Rudy’s love of photography, and also that none of her family would be there to share the moment so I searched the internet for a photographer to capture the moment. I came across a service called Flytographer and decided to set up the service before I had even found the ring. Over the next few weeks I did all of the leg work, bought the ring, asked her family for their permission, met with the photographer online, and prayed to God she didn’t suspect anything.
Rudy and I talked about things we wanted to do on the vacation as the trip approached and I made sure to suggest us to bring nice matching outfits “in case” we took pictures. She thought nothing of it to my relief. A few days before we departed, I had my last contact with the photographer. It seemed the forecast was calling for rain the over the next few days and the best opportunity to shoot was the morning after getting to Venice. I thought about how I would sell Rudy on the idea of waking up early in the morning and getting dressed to the nines after spending 15 hours flying. Ultimately, I told her the night before as we were settling into the hotel that I had a surprise for her. I went back and forth and was torn on if I should tell her, but I couldn’t risk her not dressing up, so finally I let it out “the surprise is I hired a vacation photographer for a gondola ride”. She was extremely surprised and excited, happily agreeing to wake up early and dress up. I was relieved and proud of myself, yes I had to reveal part of the plan, but she had no idea that I was going to propose.
The jet lag took its toll on as we were slow to get up in the morning. Getting ready took us a good amount of time and caused us to rush out of the hotel. I tried to stay calm in all of it but was extremely stressed as I wanted it all to go perfect. We were able to navigate our way through the canals of Venice to San Marco where we were to meet the photographer. The boat ride over with the beautiful architecture calmed me down and put me back into enjoying the moment. It was easy enough to find the photographer and everything seemed to be going well. The weather held up and it actually turned out to be sunny. We quickly found a gondola to take us out and were off. As we started the journey, Rudy jokingly said, “oh a gondola ride, are you going to propose to me?”, my heart started racing, was she on to me? did her family tell her the plans? I tried to play it cool but I was nervous from there on out. When talking with the photographer online, we had come up with a code phrase she would say when it was the perfect time to propose. As we were going through the shoot and the locations all I could think about was when would she say those words.
Finally, the time came, as we approached San Marco the gondolier gracefully flipped the gondola around so that San Marco was too out back. Our photographer proceeded to say the magic words “The lighting here was perfect”. It was go-time and all of the things I had planned to say went out the window. I pulled out the ring box, got on my knee, and mustered up the first things that came to mind “Ruthline, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you have my hand in marriage?” She was in shock. She thought I was pulling an elaborate prank in front of the photographer. Rudy started to repeat “stop playing, get up”. As I opened the box and she saw the ring, it became real for her. She gladly accepted, and just like that there we were, a newly engaged couple with all of Italy left to explore over the next week, as well as a lifetime’s journey to share together…