Tracy and Dan's Marriage Proposal in Florence

How we met: Dan and I met on a free online dating site, believe it or not!  We started talking and met for a casual lunch a couple months later.  There is a lot of pressure with online dating!  You find someone who you are a 90% match with and you expect that instant fireworks and fairytale right away.  But the truth is you are complete strangers!  All you know about each other is what the other person writes on their profile… and who really knows if it’s truthful?!  We were both skeptical of the online dating thing and didn’t want to place unnecessary pressure on either of us.  Dan knew right away that I was someone he wanted to be with, but I was expecting those instant fireworks from someone I was allegedly a 90% match with.  I always had fun when we were together and I discovered the more I hung out with him that we had so much in common and we always had great conversations.  We took our time getting to know each other, and he was such a great friend to me while I figured it out.  Once I got to know him in person as a friend, I quickly realized that he was everything in a man that I always wanted and it took me literally two weeks from the time I knew I was in love with him to the moment I knew I’d spend the rest of my life with him!  I love the saying, “I chose to be your friend, but falling in love with you was out of my control,” because that is exactly how it happened for me.

image-18

How he asked: It was Memorial Day weekend and we had plans with his friends to go to one of their parents’ lake home in Wisconsin. I had my stuff packed and we were to leave on Thursday at noon. Dan picked me up from my house and said there was a slight change in plans and asked if I had something to wear if we were to go wine tasting or something… and I was excited because I love wine tasting! I told him that I packed a little bit of everything. So I was under the impression that we were just doing something at the lake we hadn’t originally planned. He said he would explain more in the car. I still had some work to finish up but I said I would finish it on our way so we could get going. In the car I notice that he’s not going the usual way we would take to Wisconsin, so I asked him which way he was taking. Then he tells me, “Well, I have a slight confession to make. We’re not going to Wisconsin, and it’s just going to be us for the weekend.” I start getting really excited – and you have to know Dan and I do spontaneous trips a lot together so this wasn’t too unusual yet. He then gets off at the exit where we’d normally go to the airport. I’m like “Are we flying somewhere?!?!?!” He wouldn’t answer any of my questions….. then he pulls into a parking lot and we’re at O’hare. I was soooooo excited and I didn’t even know where we were going. Once we were parked, he said he had a gift for me in the glove box. I unwrap the gift and it’s a booklet. Inside the booklet are our passports!! “How did he get my passport?!” I’m thinking! He still would not tell me where we were going, but just said the weather would be about the same as what we had packed for Wisconsin. He popped the trunk and had a rolling suitcase in there for me so I could transfer all my stuff to check it on the plane.

We get into the airport and we stopped just before check in because he had another gift for me. It was a book of Florence and Tuscany! I started sqweeling and jumping up and down and hugged him and just could NOT believe it. This was seriously a dream. I’ve ALWAYS dreamed about going to Italy and he was taking me there. I had absolutely NO CLUE when I woke up that morning I’d be flying to ITALY!

We traveled to Italy… I kept looking at him with a huge grin on my face shaking my head in disbelief still…. that we were on our way to Italy, that he could keep such a huge secret from me (little did I know the surprises weren’t over yet!) It was a looooong day/night of travel without much sleep so when we got to our hotel in Florence, I just wanted to take a nap before we got going! He insisted that we needed to stay on Italy time. But he said I just want to take you up to this plaza that overlooks the city of Florence, we can grab dinner, and then head to bed early so we can start early tomorrow. I told him that sounded PERFECT! Nice casual evening and then we would be roaring to go the next day… We started getting ready at the hotel and I was picking out my outfit for the evening, and he insisted that we get dressed up and I was thinking “Oh, ok…. thought we were having a casual evening tonight….” but I went with it. I then started to suspect maybe he was going to propose….but at the same time I thought to myself, “Don’t get too greedy; the man just took you to ITALY!”

We went up to the plaza and the views were breathtaking. We took a look at the views and took some pictures of each other with the beautiful background. There were steps at this plaza leading to another viewing area, and at the bottom of the steps, a woman was singing and playing her guitar. It was incredibly romantic. We sat on the steps for a while – just enjoying the music and the amazing view. After ten minutes or so, he asked me if I wanted to look on the other side of the plaza along the balcony and I said sure! So we stood up and I was starting to turn to walk toward the balcony and he took my hands and told me to wait a minute. He held onto my hands and started giving me his speech, got down on one knee and proposed!! I was so happy and so joyfully overwhelmed by this crazy adventure he planned!! Everyone on the stairs was clapping, and after he put the ring on, he pointed to his right – and there was a photographer taking pictures of us the entire time. I love that we have those pictures to look back on! Then Dan told me we had plans to take our engagement photos with the same photographer the next day while we were in Florence!! It was absolutely perfect. I was in such disbelief. He planned such an over the top proposal, something I could have never dreamed of happening in my wildest dreams!!

image-24

image-25

image-15

image-22

He literally thought of everything for this trip, too.  He learned some basic Italian before we went there – I was so impressed!  Basic things like do you speak English, how to order at restaurants, and things that were really helpful for getting around.  Dan had met with my Dad the weekend prior to ask him for my hand in marriage and to get the garage code to the house from him so he could get my passport.  Since he only told my dad his plans, he wrote a beautiful letter to my mom that he gave to my Dad to give to my mom once our flight left.  Dan explained in the letter how much I meant to him and how he planned on proposing to me in Italy.  He even bought an international cell phone so that I could call my family and a few friends to let them know the good news after it happened!!  And for the engagement pictures, since he knew I’d only have to chose from the outfits I had packed for Wisconsin, he had gone to the store and bought me two different dresses that I could pick from in case I didn’t want to wear the only dress I packed for our trip!

image-21Photos by Facibeni Fotografia