First of all, a big thank you is owed to Ritani and more specifically [customer service representative] Christine M. for her help in making all of this happen.
I contacted Christine looking to purchase a ring and, along with her help when I told her the style I was going for and some information about Katie, I was able to bounce my idea of how to pop the question too. My plan was simple: blow Katie away with a gorgeous engagement ring and a proposal she didn’t see coming.
After a few missed opportunities due to timing, the idea came to me. I decided to have a friend of mine who also does wedding photography capture the whole thing on camera. My original plan was to have our dog run the ring to Katie. We are very fortunate to have a dog who is so well trained that we can have her off the leash when we want to. This posed a few problems. One was that Katie would not be dressed in nice clothes (we tend to walk the dog in gym clothes when nice or bundle up when it gets cold), or Karen – the photographer friend of mine – being able to get a proper shot. After meeting with Karen in the spot where we decided to do the photos, and a couple more secret back and forth exchanges, we came to a decision.
Karen messaged me on Facebook asking if I was still working where I was (so far as Katie knew, I had not spoken to Karen in years) because she was looking to get something for her boyfriend for the holidays. A couple more staged messages back and forth on Facebook and we set up to exchange my job’s services for her coming to take a few Christmas card photographs for us. I said to Katie, “let’s get a picture taken by a professional” because it was a special Christmas for us. We had just moved into a house together in 2014, got the puppy, and it was our first Christmas in the house together.
So, after some careful convincing and some luck, the day had arrived. I had taken the ring to work in the morning and at work, slipped it into my sock and secured it there. If you are wondering why I decided that was necessary, you need to understand a little bit about Katie and I. Jokingly, everywhere we went for the past few months Katie would pat me down hoping I was hiding a ring in my pocket. Call me crazy but I didn’t want to spoil the big moment.
I kept this such a secret that I didn’t tell my family or hers until the ring was in my possession the night before I asked her – I didn’t want anyone spoiling the surprise. Some of our friends had some knowledge but everyone promised to keep the secret. Katie didn’t believe it was really happening.
Karen, Katie and I, along with our dog Harper, went into the park where Karen picked a good spot. My cue word from Karen to pop the question was “Katie, smile real big” and in the moments before Karen said that, I felt Katie squeeze my arm and, as I looked over, she gave me a smirk. My mind began to race; did she know? Asking her afterwards, her smile was to let me know she was enjoying taking the pictures.
“Katie, smile big!” I dropped to my knee, pulled out the ring, and asked if she would marry me.
She said yes!
And she was completely blindsided by it.
Katie and I began our journey together almost 3 years ago to the date, and haven’t looked back since. It has been a roller coaster ride we don’t ever plan on getting off. We are two jokesters who love to laugh and be ourselves. No matter how bad a day we have, we can always come home to each other and nothing that happened matters anymore.
I need to finish this story off with some words of thanks.
Firstly, I need to thank my family and Katie’s, as well as our friends for always supporting us no matter what we do…and keeping this a secret until after it was all said and done.
Secondly, Christine M and Ritani for helping me create the perfect ring for Katie.
Third, Karen and Paper Hearts Photography; without her I would not have been able to capture the moment as perfectly as it was.
And finally, Katie, thank you for being by my side no matter what. For always being encouraging and strong. Most importantly, thank you for saying yes. I love you.
By Dale Iannuzzi, as told to Kirsty Wareing
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