Real Ritani Engagements: Kate & Mario

Our engagement was really something out of a movie.

8 months earlier, Mario let me know that for my 31st birthday he was going to take me to New York City.  We talked about what we wanted to see while we were there, and I planned on taking off 3 days of work, plus site-seeing during the weekend, so that we could really experience Manhattan at its finest.

When we arrived in NYC at about midnight, we walked Times Square in freezing weather, and went to the top of our hotel to look over Manhattan from the balcony. It was gorgeous. The next day, Mario and I shopped in the city, and he took me to the top of the Empire State Building.  It was blowing and about 27 degrees, but still so serene and incredible.

The following day was my 31st birthday.  We woke up in the morning, got a Starbucks (of course, the morning ritual for Seattlelites), then rushed to the Chelsea Piers and barely made it by fully sprinting onto an enormous yacht.  He had planned a lunch cruise around the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!

As we were escorted to our table, there were roses covering the top with a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of champagne awaiting us.  After eating lunch we sat on the top of the ship, just the two of us, and cruised around the Bay.  Talk about a perfect view of of New York City!

Later that night, we were off to dinner. He took me to the Ritz Carlton and we dined and celebrated my birthday. When we finished dinner, we walked down the street where a beautiful carriage awaited us with a horse and his driver, Genie, who we had met the night before at Rockefeller Center. I had fallen in love with the horse “Sterling Cotton Jimmy” as we had been walking the streets, and Mario had secretly arranged for her to meet us and give us a ride through Central Park!

It was honestly a surreal experience riding through the park in the evening with all the lanterns lit in a beautiful carriage. Being a horse person, anything involving a horse I love.  Genie said something about a Broadway play, and I thought maybe she was taking us to the Theatre District.  We stopped at a fountain eventually, and Genie got out to check on Jimmy.  Mario then turned to me and said “Check out this message on my phone” and began playing a video.

My two girlfriends appeared on the screen singing Happy Birthday to me.  I thought maybe they had sent him a video to play for my birthday, but then my uncle from Alaska appeared in the film telling me how much he loved me.  Next it was my best friend at the stable with our favorite barn cat “Dumpy.”  Shortly after there was my horse trainer wishing me a special day, then my friend and her son, then my friend and her daughter, followed by more friends and each of my cousins, when finally my sister and nephew showed up in the video.

They told me how much they loved me, and my nephew mentioned “You better like the ring.”  I was so confused, with my heart racing at the same time.  My sister then said “You better say yes,” and the screen read “Will you marry me?”  Mario got down on his knee in the carriage, both of us crying and he asked for my hand in marriage!  Of course I said YES, and was completely blown away by a GORGEOUS ring he slipped on my finger.

kate cushion halo engagement ring

Following the incredible proposal, with both of our heads spinning, we rushed to a Broadway play, Phantom of the Opera (I once had a horse by that name), and sat front row. After the show, we went to an Irish restaurant and talked about the entire experience, completely in a different world and loving every minute of it.

The next few days we spent sight-seeing more in NYC, seeing the Raging Bull, paying our respects at the 911 monument, and finally headed home.

My best friend coincidentally got engaged 4 days before Mario and I did, so now we are both planning getting married at the same time. What more could you ask for?

It honestly was the most incredible engagement I could have dreamed of, and I’m really excited for us to move into the next chapter in our lives.

By Kate Hebert, as told to Kirsty Wareing

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