She asked. He said YES. As dog is their witness. A Proposal 2 Years in the Making!
HUGE announcement! She asked. He said yes! The bipeds are engaged! And it only took Mom TWO YEARS to plan this — THIS — perfect moment that took place a few weeks ago during our trip to Prague (September 14th to be exact).
As travel bloggers you knew it would be during a travel spree right? But two years to plan a proposal? I guess it is true what they say: Good things are worth waiting for.
I know, I know, nearly every single one of you is thinking, “Wait, what … ? They aren’t married already?” They certainly seem married, right? But … umm … nope, they are not married … yet! And in some way, that was intentional. My bipeds are in love, but neither of them is particularly in love with the institution of marriage. Call it a “been there, done that” situation. They were happy with their common law status.
Marriage for Travel?
But … as we travel further afield and start looking at destinations that are not in the West (and even some that are), it has become obvious to the bipeds that their love, respect, and commitment to each other would not be recognized by all nations. As surprising as it may be to some, the rights given to common law partners in Canada are, for the most part, not provided internationally.
And the world isn’t a very feminist place either. To be fair, Mom felt most keenly how excluded she might be from important decisions and moments, depending on where we might have travelled. In fact, I believe the words “The world is not as feminist as you are my love” were in her proposal. But I am getting ahead of myself!
As morbid as the thought might be, Mom was on edge when she thought about the possibility of something happening while travelling. In some countries, they would not qualify as next-of-kin to one another. And no amount of legalese or powers of attorney or other papers would actually change that. International law is a tricky and slippery thing.
So two years ago, when Dad started casually referring to Mom as “his wife” when introducing her to new people, Mom started thinking: “This status quo is not okay. He is the ONLY person I trust with life and death decisions for me. He is the love of my life. If something were to happen … I want to be certain I can be by his side and he by mine!”
So, I guess you could say that travel is behind the reason for an actual wedding. And so the planning started.
And it all started with the ring. Because there had to be a ring!
The Story of the Ring
You see, Dad is a descendent of Alexandre Dumas—the famous author who wrote such thrilling tales as The Three Musketeers and The Count of Montecristo. It is, after all, the reason for my name! Mom always thought that was really neat.
Nearly nine years ago, when the bipeds were courting, Mom asked Dad, “Do you have any regrets?” To her surprise, Dad’s response was, “Yes, actually. When our branch of the family immigrated to the New World, the family signet ring went missing. Maybe sold for passage fee or maybe just lost. I regret never looking up the details and having a new one made for Dad before he died. He would have liked that. I would have liked that.”
Mom held on to that bit of information, filed away safely as something she might do for him one day. And then, that time came. It was time to sort out Alexandre Dumas’ signet ring.
To make a very long story a little shorter, I will just say that this process took 18 months. It involved La Fondation Dumas and the Paris Archives, looking for any description of the ring. In writing or illustration. They only found a brief description on the original commissioned receipt. The process also involved an old retired Hungarian master jeweller who knew how to fill the gaps and actually make a signet ring “the old way.” Convincing him to do one more was a whole other story! There was a LOT of research, planning, and waiting, but finally … finally, Mom had The Ring in her hands.
Two Years Worth of Planning? Really!
In the meantime, Mom wanted to make sure that the proposal would be a TOTAL surprise. So, as the ring was being meticulously carved by the master jeweller in Vancouver, Mom scheduled our first Flytographer photoshoot.
Hoping that Dad would love the results, and would of his own accord agree to making this a semi-permanent thing when they travel; Mom booked the shoot when we traveled to Dubrovnik. A full year before the actual proposal.
And it worked! Bozo Radik’s photos were amazing and, well, yes, Dad was totally IN! Plus we are now ambassadors for Flytographer. If you book using this link you get $20 off your shoot … AND it puts a little credit into our account with them for our next shoot. Win–Win!
That is how, a year later, Dad had no idea what was up when Mom casually said, “Oh, we’ve got enough people getting shoots through our link with FLytographer for a location shoot on our next trip. So I booked us a shoot in Prague. It’s such a magical and fairytale-like city. That cool?”
And of course it was. AND since we were attending our friends’ wedding (we were all THREE in the wedding party — stay tuned for that!), for once, the bipeds were packing things like a suit, high heels, and stuff. So again, Dad saw nothing strange when Mom said, “Oh, and let’s dress up for this one, okay? Since for once we will have fancy clothes with us. It will make the shoot extra special, and it will look good when I use them for Montecristo Travels Inc. promotional things.”
Dad simply nodded. None the wiser.
Behind the Scenes with Flytographer!
Meanwhile, Mom was busy with her Flytographer shoot concierge, Caitlin. A flurry of emails was going back and forth trying to find the right photographer for the day. See, Mom is particular — okay, VERY particular — and she isn’t a fan of this new trend of washed out backgrounds in photos. Nope. She likes photos that clearly and sharply show where we are! Otherwise, why bother, right?
And so Caitlin was on the hunt. This washed-out trend is an epidemic, Dear Reader. BUT, finally, Caitlin tracked down a winner: Sarah Stein. She is actually a Canadian TOO! That was a little bit of serendipity for us since we love “shopping local.” (And yup, Flytographer IS a Canadian company!) Sarah happened to be in nearby Berlin and, well, here is what she had to say:
“It was a long journey for these two to get to this moment. Two years of planning, and an incredible story of creating a ring with the lost Alexandre Dumas family crest.
They travelled from Canada, I travelled from Canada. I arrived in Berlin and took the train to Prague the next day. All to capture this moment. A surprise proposal at sunrise, by the Charles Bridge, in Prague.
I was jet-lagged and nervous, and hardly slept the night before, but when I met Sonja and Stefan and the charming wee Montecristo, the rest was pure magic. She asked, and he said yes!
And we thank you, Sarah! For travelling in. For the hour on Skype. For your grace and charm under pressure. For being so utterly lovely, and even learning the little script that would set it all in motion. For not letting it show when we first met that there was more going on than “just a Flytographer shoot.”Thank you most of all for your open heart and magnificent talent. We LOVE our photos. We really, truly, totally do. How could we not?
And Caitlin? Wow. Just no words for all the patience you had in trying to make this work! And your enthusiasm was palpable. I hope your boss knows how much we love you for all you did for us. But reading your words … I think everyone at Flytographer knows how much we love you all.
“I feel so lucky to have had the chance to be a part of this amazing proposal! Sonja is so passionate, and all of that emotion made this proposal one of my absolute favourites. And Sarah captured the moment so beautifully. Between the lighting, the reactions, and sweet little Monte, I can hardly believe this perfect moment really happened!”
The Actual Proposal!
So, Dear Reader, the proposal itself went something like this.
We met Sarah at the Charles Bridge at 6:30 a.m. for our sunrise shoot. It is the ONLY way to get the right light AND to avoid the thousands and thousands and thousands of tourists. Key: Act like nothing is up!
We even stopped and had a laugh with some lovely — if drunk — Australians who LOVED me and how well dressed the bipeds were so early in the day. Still act like nothing is up.
Captured the sun rising over the tower of the Charles Bridge. And then a casual mention (by Sarah) of a secret spot right on the water’s edge that gives a great view of the bridge. Walk there slowly: high heels and cobble stone are not a good combo! Still act like nothing is up!
Once at the “secret” spot. Start the agreed-upon script.
Sarah: I know you prefer photojournalistic shots but I do think a few posed photos would be really great here if that is okay?
Mom: Yeah, for sure! Where do you want us?
Sarah: Right on the ledge, without falling in! … Yeah, that is good. Maybe move a bit to the left so that black anchor point isn’t in the shot? Yes, there …”
Mom: Can you hold on a moment? I think Montecristo is thirsty.
Sarah: Yes, of course.
That was MY queue! And I played my part perfectly, even taking a drink!
This “thirsty” excuse was the only way Mom could get the box and ring out of her bag without Dad seeing it too soon! And then … well, then this happened.
I will not share what Mom actually said to Dad. Some things, Dear Reader, should remain private. But it was beautiful. And yes, as you can see, Dad cried. And then … he said yes.
And me — who never goes up on my back legs — I danced for joy (see first pic way above). And then Mom told him all about the ring. And he was just totally overwhelmed.
And Sarah? Sarah was there the entire time. Capturing it ALL, yet somehow, never ONCE was intrusive. Not once. I honestly think the bipeds and I forgot she was there. Our silent witness.
And then, for another hour or so, after the shakes, tears, and shock wore off a tiny bit and the bipeds were functional again, Sarah followed us about Old Prague as we hiked up to Prague Castle on the hill.
We DID detour to see the Lennon Wall. That bright and colourful ode to the West that came into being during a dark time in Prague.
We enjoyed the slow hike up to the castle. With Sarah behind us…
… or ahead … so all the shots are not from behind …
… and captured the grins, the smiles, and the many, many kisses.
We loved walking about the castle and having it to ourselves as the wave of tourists had yet to hit. It was nice to get photos taken with the larger than life perspective!
And the up close and personal perspective too.
And that, Dear Reader, is how my bipeds got engaged. As their constant “hyphen,” it felt right that I got to be the witness to this magical moment.
And as travel bloggers, a local travel photoshoot was the only logical thing really.
The bipeds have never done anything “like everyone else.” This role reversal. This later in life “late bloomers” proposal. This long and well thought out moment … I would expect nothing else from these two crazy lovebirds.
Congrats, Mom and Dad. I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with for a wedding ceremony. One thing I do know? It will be pet-friendly, and it will be totally unique. Just as they are.
She asked. He said yes. As dog is their witness. A proposal 2 years in the making! And so much more.