Jill and Vik's Proposal at the Philadelphia Zoo

How We Met: HIS VERSION: Jill and I connected on Match.com in early 2014.  We first started exchanging messages on Match and then decided to meet up in person.  Our first date was at Jamonera, a tapas restaurant in Philadelphia, and we immediately hit it off.

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HER VERSION: My fiancé and I met on Match.com about 13 months ago.  It must be known that he actually had to message me twice before I replied to him.  I was very busy at work during the week when I saw his first message, so I decided to wait until I had more time that weekend to write a more thoughtful reply.  Then, 3 days later, I get an almost identical message from him which was obviously a copy/paste of his “standard” message format.  I replied back immediately and only said “HAHAHAHAHA.  Do you know that you just sent me the same email twice?”  He claims to this day that there was a computer glitch which caused the mistake.  But, I think that glitch was just fate bringing us together.  It made me actually stop and read his profile more carefully, which turns out to be the best thing I’ve ever done.

How He Asked: HIS VERISON: The morning of the proposal, I woke up and was quite nervous.  I had been planning this day, with the help of a marriage proposal planner from Ever After Proposals (www.everafterproposals.com) for a few months and was hoping everything would go according to plan.  I ran through the plans for the day in my head:

– Make breakfast with Jill at 10am

– Head over to the Philly Zoo at 10:45

– Walk around the zoo until 11:45 and then head over to the penguin area to feed the penguins

– Remember everything that I wanted to say to Jill when I got down on one knee!

– Coordinate with friends and family to make sure they all show up on time for the surprise dinner

Thankfully, everything went according to plan.  As we got to the zoo that morning, we spent about an hour walking around and saw giraffes, polar bears, zebras, and otters.  Then we made our way over to the Penguin Pavilion and met the zookeeper, who then introduced Jill to a “photographer who would be taking pictures to promote the event” for the zoo.  In reality, the photographer was actually hired by me, and was the same woman who was the creative genius behind Ever After Proposals.

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As we started feeding the penguins, Jill was the happiest I had ever seen her because she was able to feed the penguins and pet them too!  After about 10-15 minutes of this, the zookeeper began reciting “fun facts” about penguins.  The last fact the zookeeper recited was how male Gentoo penguins find the smoothest, most perfect pebbles to give to their female mates who they want to mate with for life.  That was my cue to get ready to pop the big question!

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So then I asked, “So you mean that if I were a penguin and wanted to be paired with Jill for life, I would have to present her with a rock like this?”  It was at this moment I got down on one knee and pulled a rock that contained the ring for Jill in it.  Jill looked at me and started repeating “oh my god!” and “are you serious?” several times as she realized I was asking her to marry me.

After a few moments of amazement, Jill said yes!  It was at this moment I felt a sense of relief knowing that Jill was truly surprised by the proposal and that she had said yes to marry me.

HER VERSION: The night before our scheduled “date night” he told me that we would be going to the zoo together to adopt a penguin.  As any of my friends could tell you, I am kind of obsessed with penguins.  To say that they are my favorite animal would not even do it justice.  I love everything about them and have always wanted to see them up close.  Needless to say, I was VERY excited.  My dream was about to come true – I was going to see penguins!  I spent all night dreaming of getting to hold one and play with them.

The next day, I got ready for our “date night” and was not the least bit suspicious.  I was so excited that I even wanted to call my mom and my best friends to tell them that I was about to go see penguins.  My boyfriend discouraged me from calling people because he said it was too early to wake people up and that no one would care.  Little did I know what was in store for me the rest of the day…

When we got to the zoo we walked around a little bit and then met the PR rep who was going to take us over to the zookeeper.  The best thing about the day was that every little detail was taken care of without me even knowing.  The PR rep asked if a zoo photographer could take pictures of us interacting with the animals for them to use in their promotional materials.  This was genius!

Because I totally believed their very plausible story and thought nothing of it when someone  started taking pictures of us.  Feeding the penguins was amazing and I even got to pet one!  I kept thinking that this was the best date ever and that feeding penguins was the happiest I’d ever been.

When the zoo keeper started reading the script that my boyfriend had written for her, I was only half paying attention and totally enamored with the penguins.  She started telling us fun facts about penguins, including how they are monogamous animals that mate for life and how the male penguins present the female penguins with a pebble when they want to be partners with them.  I still had absolutely no idea what was going on at this point and kept happily feeding the penguins fish.  It was at that moment that my boyfriend started saying something which actually caught my attention.

Boyfriend:  “So you mean that if I were a penguin, and I wanted to be paired up with you for life, I would have to present you with a rock like this?” (takes out the ring in a beautiful “ring box” which was actually a real rock)  “I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you…Will you marry me?”

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Me:  “OMG.  OMG.  OMG.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?”

Everything that he planned to make that day the most special day of my life really showed me how deeply he cared for me.  If he was willing to go through so many months of planning and preparation, just to make sure his proposal to me would be perfect, I knew in my heart that he would always do anything he could to keep me safe and happy.

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I can never thank him enough for all the love and happiness he brings to my life every single day.  I LOVE YOU FIANCE.

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Planning and photos by Ever After Proposals