Nikki and I met in the middle of the ocean. Quite literally, actually. Jillian Michaels, America’s toughest trainer, held a fitness and wellness cruise in 2010. Being a fan of Jillian and someone into spending time on a boat to learn about fitness and wellness, I attended this cruise along with 1700 other people [sidebar: I’m a fan of traveling alone, I suggest everyone try it once in their life!].
It was the next night, 80’s night, where our lives would change. I was eating alone in the cafeteria, dressed in a ridiculous 80s outfit, and someone with a big rocker wig and a mid-riff shirt came up to me. She asked if I wanted to sit with her, her mom and her friend. It was Nikki — she asked me to join her so I didn’t have to sit alone and I gladly joined. We absolutely connected over food and fitness, and after the cruise we went back to our lives in Chicago and in Utah. Through the next months, we kept in touch. Eventually, she made her way to Chicago and it went from there.
Once we started dating, I knew that this was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with. We’ve been together for just about six years, and I’ve been planning this surprise proposal for a long time. With the global traveling that Nikki does as an international trainer, we’ve been incredibly fortunate to make amazing friendships around the world. I wanted these people, along with our friends and family, to be a part of the proposal.
The concept was simple: before I gave Nikki the ring, I wanted to pass it along to the very people who love and support us every single day. And they would pass it on to one another, until it came back to me.
While she was on a work trip to New Zealand, I began executing my plan: I created an instructional Youtube video to explain how they should send in their video clips in January, sent out emails with deadlines, and began compiling the video as the clips came in. I setup a meeting with her boss at work to stage a fake work dinner at the venue, so she knew she had to show up. The venue was close to my office so I could go during my lunch hours to hammer out details and logistics. I worked with a jeweler in Chicago to pick the perfect stone and setting — without knowing exactly what her ring size is, we made sure it was just big enough to go past the knuckle :) I hired my colleague to capture every surprise moment [she and her husband also run a wedding photography business]. I flew in her parents from Utah to be in on the surprise. Every detail was worked through the time she was away.