Serena and Ajay

How we met: After meeting by pure chance in NYC in 2011, our relationship quickly blossomed despite having to survive long-distance stints between Atlanta-NYC and NYC-Singapore. As fun as it was to have dates in Dubai, Bali, and Phuket, we were always at the mercy of the Facetime app gods for a simple conversation most days. When we finally were in NYC together in 2013, we grew into the incredibly wonderful relationship we now have. And then in Dec 2014 . . . amazing happened.

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how they asked, her story: As soon as I moved back from Singapore and we were FINALLY living in the same city, I wanted to spend every moment I could with Ajay. As we started a tradition to take turns planning date nights in advance, Ajay used his turn to plan a surprise. While I was away on a work trip about 3 weeks before the proposal, he planted a story through one of our mutual friends that our friend had extra tickets to a corporate luxury box at a NY Islanders game and wanted to invite a group of us to join him. After I was dressed and ready to go, Ajay told me that our friend needed help picking stuff from the lounge area of my apartment building.

Little did I know that our friends had already started congregating in the park next to my building at that time with umbrellas (which ended being useful given the light drizzle)! When Ajay and I made our way to the lounge, there were no boxes. I looked at Ajay and he was sporting that mischievous smile. He then led me out of the lounge into the rooftop terrace overlooking the park.

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As we walked out on to the rooftop terrace, 2 of our friends jumped out from their hiding spots and began started taking photos.

In shock, he then told me to look out at the park where I saw the colored umbrellas spelling out “WILL U MARRY ME?” and immediately started crying.

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As Ajay went down on one knee and as the random neighbors in all of the adjacent balconies from different buildings cheered us on, I obviously said yes!!!!

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After the proposal, we went down to the park to celebrate with everyone who helped out. We then enjoyed a little lunch party in our apartment with all of our amazing friends that were involved in the proposal! I still can’t believe how he planned all of this right under my nose and how good our friends were at keeping secrets!

Later that evening he put together an informal celebration at the bar we met at NYC. It was so wonderful to be able to celebrate this experience with some of our closest friends and family as we came to the surreal reality that we will spending the rest of our lives together!

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how they asked, his story: After dating for 3.5 years, I was so excited to take the next step and begin a new adventure with Serena! As I planned the proposal, I knew I wanted to involve and celebrate with some of our best friends during the proposal process and I knew I wanted to use Gantry State Park as the setting given its beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline. When Serena was out of town for work, I bought many oversized golf umbrellas of different colors, spray paint cans, and then spray painted one letter per umbrella and hid the umbrellas with Serena’s roommate. It was quite the adventure to spray paint 60″ umbrellas in an apartment during a NYC winter as the fumes made me feel a bit….”funny”. On the day of the proposal, as the forecast showed rain, I was nervous that everything would go as planned but luckily it was just a drizzle.

As the ruse was that we were going to a NY Islanders game as part of a corporate luxury box, I told Serena we had to go to help out friend bring some “corporate paraphernalia” to the game. Of course, no boxes would actually be involved. So when we got to the apartment lounge, I led her to the rooftop terrace where we had views overlooking the park, East River, and the Manhattan skyline. As we looked out at the view, in the park below Serena saw our friends holding up the umbrellas spelling out “WILL U MARRY ME?” As she stood there looking out in shock, I got down on one knee and a heard a yes amidst her tears. If was official and I was so excited to begin a lifelong adventure with the woman of my dreams!!!

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Photos by Priyanca Rao Photography