Liz and Sam

10450155_10202659662229103_8443433163055850337_nHow we met: We met online on a dating website back in the fall of 2010, but didn’t have our first date until February of 2011. We went to see a house DJ play late one Friday night at the Ritz event venue in Ybor City, next to Tampa. It wasn’t exactly the ideal first date… but we danced the night away and had a great time! The rest is history :)

How he asked: Sam and I had been planning our trip to Europe for almost an entire year! We were so excited to take a nice, long vacation all on our own. Friends and family members had asked me beforehand if I had a “feeling” about him proposing at some point on the trip, and I admitted I thought it would probably happen then, but wasn’t going to get my hopes up. I was just excited to be going to Italy (I had never been)! We flew into Venice and spent a few days there, then left on a 2 week long Mediterranean cruise. We ended our trip with a few nights in Florence.

On our second day in Venice, we spent time wandering around and exploring the area. I knew something was up with Sam because he kept agreeing with everything I said/wanted to do that day, when usually we’re somewhat bickering about something! His behavior was strange, so I knew something was going on. He was very adamant about wanting to take a gondola ride that evening. I thought they seemed a little cheesy and way too overpriced, but I went with it because he was so hellbent on taking the ride.

We had originally scheduled our ride for 6:00 that evening, but Sam wanted it to take place around sunset (#extraromancepoints). So we went to the kiosk to have the time changed. I don’t know what I was doing because I was completely oblivious to the fact that Sam showed the gondolier the ring and told him his intentions for the ride. Good thing I didn’t see!

While waiting for our later time, we sat at a cafe in St. Mark’s Square and had drinks, then went around to do a bit of sightseeing, picture taking, and window shopping. The evening was so beautiful, and the weather was nice and cool. Finally, it was time for our gondola ride!

11015888_10204083119054634_1518182556_nWe get in the gondola. A nice, friendly Italian man dressed in a striped shirt starts taking us down the narrow canals, pointing out different historical buildings and whatnot. Yeah, whatever dude… the man of my dreams is about to propose to me, I just know it! Sam was a nervous wreck! He kept asking the gondolier questions about how long he’d been driving the boats and so on. He was so fidgety that I could tell what was coming. Poor guy! Even I felt nervous for him!

About halfway through our ride, we took a turn out onto the Grand Canal. The sun was going down, and lights were flickering on for the evening all around Venice. At this point, Sam handed our gondolier his phone, and I just thought to myself, “Oh! Yes, let’s take a picture, this spot is perfect!” Little did I know that our gondolier was taking a VIDEO of the proposal! So there I am, sitting there and cheese balling it like an idiot, thinking he’s taking our picture. So then I turn to ask Sam, “Did he take the picture?!” and he’s down on one knee! I instantly get so excited (and relieved for my poor Sam!), and the gondolier captures every moment :) Sam fumbles over his words and says “I had a whole speech planned, and now I can’t remember what to say.” The important part is that he remembered the two most important things to say “I love you” and “Will you marry me?” Of course I said yes, and he presented me with my mother’s ring, a very special family heirloom that I will always cherish.

After I said yes, a gondola went by us carrying an older couple, and they applauded and cheered for us (all captured on video, of course!). It was a truly magical evening and is one of the most romantic moments of my life!