My boyfriend (now fiancé) and I moved to Chicago in August 2007 so I could attend Loyola University Chicago for graduate school. Tim is an aspiring pilot and has his single-engine airplane license. Since flying is Tim's passion, I go flying with him around Chicago. I love to take photos, so accompanying him on a flight is a special treat for me. Tim planned our engagement weekend for MONTHS and I knew absolutely nothing about it! I loved the surprise!
Here's our story: We planned to fly to Wisconsin on March 29, 2008. I assumed this would just be a fun trip to take some photographs. Tim, however, had additional plans. In January, Tim designed and ordered my engagement ring. The ring sat around our apartment for a whole month without me finding it! In February, he made reservations for March 29 at Snug Harbor Inn for the same one-room cottage that we stayed in for Thanksgiving (the innkeepers were great and surprised us with champagne). He also talked to the staff at Door County-Cherryland airport and let the airport workers in on his plane. Everyone at Tim's flight school and work knew about his plan, especially since he had to take time off from work to design and order my engagement ring (living with your fiancée makes surprises difficult). Additionally, Tim's flight instructor was part of the plan since Tim needed to figure out a way to create an emergency so we would have to land the airplane in Wisconsin.
More importantly, Tim flew to Charlotte, NC the weekend before our engagement to talk to my dad, and to take Dad, Mom, and my sister, Rachael, out to dinner. So, they all knew for a whole week before me! Additionally, he lied to me about where he was! He told me that he was at a sales meeting for work in St. Louis. Tim didn't realize that the "business meeting" was on Easter weekend until someone pointed it out, so he told me it was optional and a way to impress his superiors. I still believed him! Apparently, I trust Tim far too much! I'm so glad he took the time to talk to my family about the engagement, it means a lot to me.
As we were flying around Sturgeon Bay taking pictures, Tim turned off the plane's alternator, so the VOLT light started flashing. If an alternator fails in a single-engine airplane, you have about 40 minutes before the engine quits. So, I wasn't worried since we were about 7 minutes from the airport. Of course, there really wasn't anything wrong with the plane, he did it on purpose. But, I fell for the trick. We landed, went into the airport's office and started talking with the airport worker. He said the airport maintenance worker was at the other county airport and wouldn't be back for 2-3 hours. The worker allowed us to use a rental car for "free" as a courtesy car until the plane got fixed. In reality, Tim had rented the car beforehand and told the airport worker about his plan.
We went to Sonny's Pizzeria in downtown Sturgeon Bay (we had gone there over Thanksgiving too). During lunch, Tim made fake phone calls to the Wisconsin airport and our home airport (Chicago Executive-Palwaukee) to continue the trick! After lunch we had some time to burn before the airplane could be "fixed," so we went to Cave Point Park. Cave Point Park is beautiful, with rock cliffs overlooking Lake Michigan (the perfect engagement spot). At Cave Point, I started snapping photos with my camera, and Tim went to find someone to take a picture of us. We didn't have a picture of us from our trip over Thanksgiving, so this seemed like a normal idea to me. He found a gentleman (who was there with his wife of over 30 years) and told him what the plan was so he could take pictures of the proposal too. We had two photos taken before the proposal, and then Tim got down on one knee and proposed! I, of course, said yes and started laughing hysterically (I am not a crier). I was in complete shock. I was so shocked that I didn't even get my hand out of my pocket for him to put the ring on! Tim commented on this and asked me to give him my hand before he dropped the ring over the cliff and into the water! The gentleman who took the photos did a great job, and he and his wife wished us luck and gave us some advice for the future.
After the shock wore off, Tim began telling me the whole story, with all the details (and white lies) and let me know that the airplane was fine and we would leave the next day to go home. Tim also had a goody bag for me in the car (he had previously claimed it had flight maps and books in it), which had a bottle of Riesling, pajamas, toothbrushes and toothpaste, votive candles, and bath salts in it. He thought of everything! The engagement was a perfect surprise and was the best day of my life (thus far). I'm so lucky to have Tim in my life; he's thoughtful, romantic, and truly committed to making me happy. I couldn't ask for a better fiancé or engagement story! We'll remember this for the rest of our lives and be able to tell the story and show pictures to our children and grandchildren.