Julia and Joseph

Marriage Proposal Ideas in The Highline Ballroom at a Daybreaker Dance Party, New York City

How We Met

A polar vortex winter night on January 18, 2014, Joseph Fan donned his Adventure Time onesie, a gold leather winged & fringed jacket, Disorient goggles, and his signature christmas lights. On my first Saturday night in the Big Apple after moving back from China, I joined Vassar besties Mitchell Gilburne and Magnolia Swanson for an only-in-New-York kind of event: a silent disco on the subway. Gathering at bar near Atlantic Terminal, everyone picked up their headphones and suited up for an adventure on the F train to an undisclosed location. Walking through the Atlantic Avenue subway station, I noticed Joseph immediately with his outlandish outfit and decided, “He must be a fun guy.” I approached Joseph (well, depends on who’s telling the story…) and complemented his outfit.

Julia and Joseph's Engagement in The Highline Ballroom at a Daybreaker Dance Party, New York City

Proposal Ideas The Highline Ballroom at a Daybreaker Dance Party, New York City

Julia's Proposal in The Highline Ballroom at a Daybreaker Dance Party, New York City

Within a few minutes, I mentioned she had just moved back from China. “I’m Chinese,” Joseph stated. “Cool! I speak Chinese,” I said. Ya, sure. Just like every white girl speaks Chinese, Joseph thought. “Ya? Say something” Joseph prompted. He realized within a few sentences that my Chinese far surpassed his own. He was impressed. “So what do you do?” I asked. “I’m a public interest lawyer,” Joseph answered. Be still my heart! I thought. After a few minutes, “So, is your boyfriend going to be mad you’re talking to me?” Joseph questioned, gesturing at Mitchell. “Mitchell?” I laughed. “No, Mitchell’s not my boyfriend.” Joseph smiled, “Oh good. Well, I’d love to show you around New York sometime,” Joseph offered. I thought to herself: as if I need somebody to show me around New York City… but any excuse to keep talking to this guy! I said “Sure.” Joseph clarified “like, on a date. I want to take you on a date.” I smiled and we both laughed. The rest is history!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in The Highline Ballroom at a Daybreaker Dance Party, New York City

How He Asked

Joseph began plotting the proposal in November 2015. As Julia pranced around in her favorite Santa dress at Daybreaker’s Christmas party, Joseph decided to do it at a future Daybreaker. Daybreaker is a morning sober dance party that Joseph and Julia have been breaking it down at since it started in 2014. Over the next few months, Joseph and the amazing Day-breaker mischief makers (shout out to Eli, Radha, Elliott, Dean, Alex, and Molly!) planned and rehearsed the epic proposal. Unsuspecting Julia, convinced Joseph would never propose, also began thinking about proposing sometime during Summer 2016 and told this to long-time childhood bestie Jillian Gorelick. Joseph invited many of Julia’s close friends to come for the proposal. One of the first friends he called, Jillian, with this insider information, reassured Joseph that she would say yes. Wednesday, March 2, 2016: After their 5:30 am wake up, Joseph faked a stomach ache to delay their departure. Julia made him breakfast and forced pepto bismol on Joseph. “We don’t have to go. It’s ok,” comforted Julia. “NO! I mean, I’m feeling better…” Joseph said.

So they finished getting dressed in their Pink Power Ranger and Dragon Ball Z outfits (it was Daybreaker: Superhero Edition) and jumped in a cab at 7:30 am. Meanwhile at Daybreaker, which started at 7 am, Elliott LaRue (you’ll meet him MCing our wedding!) taught the 650-person crowd a flash-mob dance to Marry You by Bruno Mars. Julia and Joseph arrived at Day-breaker around 7:50 am. Once Joseph got Julia on the stage with her friends, he told her he was sick again and ran to go change out of his Dragon Ball Z outfit into a suit. Back on stage, Elliott begins leading the crowd in a coordinated dance to Marry You by Bruno Mars. Seeing this coordinated dance, Julia thought, guess I’m behind on pop culture again and missed another viral music video dance…completely oblivious to the fact that this was a flash mob in her honor. She even starts doing the dance with the crowd. Then the crowd parts…

Joseph struts through the crowd and jumps on stage. Is he…? No, no, definitely not. There’s no way he’s… he’s just…singing to me…”Marry You”… in front of 650 people…Typical Joseph, Julia convinced herself. Bruno Mars fades and someone hands Joseph his Ukulele. Wait, maybe he is… no, no, no way…. I mean…cuz if he’s not proposing, it would be really embarrassing if I think he is… cuz like, he’s definitely not… Julia thinks.

Joseph begins playing “Julia 2”, the second song he wrote Julia back in 2014. OK, maybe this really happening, Julia finally starts to think. Then Joseph changes the last two lines of the song, “Julia, you light up my life.

Now I just got to ask,” he kneels and pulls out the ring, “will you be my wife?” Julia jumps up and down, does a little dance, and shouts “YES!” into the microphone.

The crowd starts chanting “YES! YES! YES!” Before she can even grab the ring, she is promptly tackled by two friends. Julia then turns around to see all of her friends, including out of towners, who had been hiding earlier to not give anything away. They all hug and scream and jump. Julia finally steals away to get the ring from Joseph. Joseph’s boss and his husband lift them up onto their shoulders. After more congratulations, Julia and Joseph crowd surf and end the spectacular morning in the middle of a 500-person group hug. [While the proposal happened several months ago, the video was just released today so we’re getting to relive it again!]

Our Video

Watch more proposal videos & follow @HowHeAsked on Instagram for more stories!

Special Thanks

Daybreaker!
Daybreaker hosted and helped Joseph organize the entire proposal!
Alex Colby
Videographer
Andrew Rauner
Photographer