how they asked
Ralph’s Story: My story begins weeks before November 17th, the day I proposed to Samantha, and it took weeks of planning and coordination. I’ve known I’ve wanted to propose to Sam years before this day, and I was only waiting for the right time. The day came when I said to myself, “if you don’t hit the purchase button for the ring, you’ll never get this proposal rolling”, so three weeks ago, I had the engagement ring shipped to my office, and the final proposal planning started. I had multiple ideas on how I wanted to propose to Sam, but none of them stuck. The issue is, Sam and I have the type of relationship where if one of us is just slightly off, we know something is going on with each other. For example, the week I purchased the engagement ring, we were at home and she says to me “You’ve been acting weird, I think you’re proposing soon”. What made this proposal difficult is that Sam and I have been dating so long that it’s extremely hard to surprise her, and with proposals being one of those important milestones in your life, I wanted it to be a surprise.
The original plan was to rent out a movie theater and to play her a proposal video as I pretend that we go “see a movie”, but when I called different vendors to see if I could rent out their movie theater for a proposal video, there was an issue. The issue was, I could only do it before operating hours, and if I pressed Sam to go to a movie at 8 or 9 in the morning, she would see the proposal miles away, so I had to scratch that idea.
A few days passed, and I figured out what to do for my proposal. This was the day that I set up a dinner with her parents, and that same night, I called my parents as they were boarding their plane for Europe to tell them that I’ll be proposing to Sam and to ask them for advice. My Mom said something extremely helpful, “It doesn’t have to be crazy, just make sure you get down on one knee- it’ll be really important for her” which was some much-needed advice. As I wished them a good trip, I drove off to see Samantha’s parents for our dinner plans, and there I would ask for their blessing. When we all got to the restaurant, we shared some niceties and told them that there was a reason I asked them out to dinner. Unanimously they both said “Oh! We’re going straight to it huh?”, I laughed and asked them for their blessing.
Something happened that I didn’t expect, I practiced this entire conversation multiple times, but as I started saying “I love your daughter very much, I’ll always take care of her, I’ll always be faithful…” I started to tear up in a restaurant full of people. It was a very emotional experience and we all laughed and cried in this French restaurant on a Thursday night. They graciously gave me their blessing, and they started to ask how I was going to do it. I shared that I was actually having some difficulty making a decision on how because I wanted to make sure it was a surprise. They suggested to “do it at home- it’ll be intimate, you can share this moment together, and she won’t expect it. We started planning the whole thing over dinner. I told them, I’m planning to propose with a video, which in hindsight was a very good idea based on the way my conversation with her parents went. The only hiccup was the only rules Sam had set a place for the engagement. During one of our past conversations, Sam said I can do whatever I want whenever I propose, but she cannot be wearing sweatpants and her nails had to be done. So, her mom suggested to take her out for a “Mommy-Daughter date” to celebrate her recent work achievements which were a good way to get her out of the house. After a very nice dinner, we said our goodbyes, and the execution of the proposal was under full swing.
The following weeks, I knew I wanted to decorate our apartment full of lights because it reminded me of our very first date under the stars. So, I ordered multiple wine corks that had lines of LED lights that can go inside wine bottles. At the same time, I called multiple restaurants in the area to see if I could get any of their empty bottles at close, every time we cooked dinner I told Sam we should drink wine, and shout-out to my friend/co-worker Arden for bringing her empty wine bottles to work so I could use it for the proposal. I hid all of these bottles in the trunk of my car until I could start working on them.
The week of the proposal, I skipped lunch every day so that I could work on the proposal video during my lunch break because if I worked on it at home, Sam would get suspicious. I pulled photos and videos of our entire life together, and lucky for me, our relationship is well documented- thank you, friends, family, and Facebook. It all seems like a blur now, but I had so many different versions of the video because I wanted to make sure it was perfect for the event.
I finalized the final version of the video, and I took a half day the day before the proposal to clean the entire apartment and to start working on the wine bottles. When Sam got home, I told her that I took the day off to play Pokemon and to clean the apartment because I knew she was stressed out about a musical theater audition on Sunday. I do have to say, it was a pretty nice white lie because she totally bought it. That night she went to bed, I got going to cleaning the wine bottles. I soaked the bottles in hot water, and scrubbed the labels and glue down with WD-40 and steel wool which is a tip I picked up from watching YouTube videos. The whole process took around 6 hours because I made 24 different wine bottle decorations. After I finished, I hid the bottles in the back of our laundry room and went to bed.
The next morning, Sam got ready for the day, and I told her I was exhausted from the previous night because I was playing video games. She left for her Mommy-Daughter date, and I was off to the races because I only had four hours to get everything in place. I scheduled a reservation for dinner, set up our entire apartment, decorated the house with string lights and the wine bottles, and set up the proposal video on the TV. Once I finished the preliminary decorations, I went off to run some errands. I picked up a nice outfit for our dog Mozzie, went to get our favorite bottle of wine, and picked up LED balloons and streamers from Party City. Once I got home, I had to blow up 30 LED balloons, in one hour, and still get ready for the evening. I had to ask Sam’s mom for some extra time because I wasn’t going to make it.
Once everything was in place, I had 15 minutes to get into my suit, set up cameras to record her reaction, and write the signs I wanted to use when she walked in. I wrote out “Are you wearing sweatpants, Did you get your nails done, and Take a seat”. I got in place and waited for her to come in. She walked into the house, she looked around confused, and I showed her my signs. She sat down and watched the video, and started to tear up. I got down on one knee and proposed. Now we’re engaged!
Sam’s Story: The morning of November 17th, I woke up full of energy at 5 am. I was wide awake first thing in the morning and I had no idea why. I just felt a good feeling in the air right away!
My mom was taking me out for a mommy/daughter day to celebrate a recent work achievement. Our schedule was to go to lunch followed by an appointment at the nail salon and ending with shopping and Starbucks. (Little did I know, she was in on the plan and completely convinced me it was a normal day) We spent the day together and I returned with a manicure and some new fox socks!
I opened the door to our apartment and walked in. The stairs were lined with twinkle lights. I walked up the stairs and the whole apartment was decorated with lights in wine bottles, balloons around the floor, and my dog was there to greet me at the top of the stairs wearing a tiny bowtie and flannel suit jacket. Across the room, Ralph was standing holding a folder and was dressed to the nines. I set down my jacket and things and walked in. There was a sign that said: “Watch Me -Ralph”. (I had two qualifications for my dream proposal- I couldn’t be wearing sweatpants and I would prefer if my nails looked nice). He opened up the folder and there was a paper sign that said “Are you wearing sweatpants?” and I shook my head no. He ripped out that sign and behind was another sign that said “Did you get your nails done?” and I said yes. He ripped out that sign and the final paper said: “Take a seat”. There was a chair in the middle of the room with a big bow around it. I sat down and there was a video on the tv that was entitled Watch Me. I pressed play and watched the proposal video that Ralph created. It was a video that went through our 5+ years together and the way he saw me every day. He compiled beautiful pictures and videos set to one of our favorite songs. After the video, he got down on one knee and said “Samantha Ann Noga, will you marry me?” and I said, “of course!” I was so shocked and excited! (I only cried a little!!) After about 10 minutes of explaining how he pulled it off, how he shipped the ring to his office, and how he took my parents out to dinner two weeks prior to get their blessing, we called our parents and my grandmas to tell them the news. We ended our evening with a dinner reservation at E+O restaurant celebrating our new engagement!