This Guy Was Proposing to his Girlfriend for WEEKS without her even knowing it.

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How we met: Nick and I met, prophetically, in a building called “Chemistry” at Pratt Institute in 2009. We met in a jewelry class, albeit in a section for which Nick was not actually enrolled, and one that I was planning to drop. Despite those factors, and mostly because of each other, we both kept showing up and, by the light of our acetylene torches, fell for each other in that metalworking studio. We shared a common love for sandwiches, Arrested Development, and adventure, and have been by each other’s side ever since.

How he asked: Nick frequently goes to China for work- but in February of this year, I joined him for 10 days during the Chinese New Year, during which we traveled through Hunan and Guizhou with a college friend and his girlfriend. It was a crazy, whirlwind trip- we hiked through forests, traveled through small villages, went to night markets in big cities. There were planes, trains, and automobiles. It was amazing.

Before the trip, I had complained that, even after 5 years together, we hardly had any pictures together. So Nick promised we’d take lots together- and we certainly did. It seemed like everywhere we went, our friend Mike was pulling out his phone and stopping us for a picture- especially in precarious situations, like hiking through snowcapped mountains or posing on rickety fishing boats.

But what I DIDN’T know was that in practically every photo we took (more than 50), Nick was holding up a “marry me” sign behind my head. Like, absurdly close to my head- people never believe me when I say I didn’t notice- and sometimes it’s a little hard for me to believe myself, when I see how brazen Nick was in some of the pictures! But I was so concentrated on not falling off cliffs or tripping down ancient stone steps that the possibility of a secret proposal was the furthest thing from my mind in those moments.

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I left China about 3 weeks before Nick. A couple days after he returned at the very end of February, he suggested we go on a date to get some pizza. Nothing unusual there- pizza is a major part of our lives. After we finished eating, we decided to try to get ice cream at the Brooklyn waterfront- also de rigeur for us. Because it was the dead of winter, the ice cream place was closed, so we turned to take in the Manhattan skyline.

Standing on a near-empty pier with the city behind us, Nick turned to me and handed me a package he had been carrying all night. He told me earlier it was something for a client that he wanted to drop in the mailbox on the way home- it even had a fake label. Instead, it was a gorgeous book full of all the pictures from our trip. He had been proposing to me for weeks, and I never even knew. He asked me one last time, out loud, to marry him, and gave me a gorgeous ring that he designed and made himself. Not by accident, we were standing in almost the exact spot we were nearly 5 years earlier when Nick told me he loved me for the first time. It was a no-brainer.

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On the subway home, I just kept looking through the book, marveling at the adventures we’ve had and dreaming of the ones to come.The whole thing was absurdly magical and far beyond any reasonable expectation a girl could have for a proposal. We’re getting married this June.

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I’ve been writing a blog since we got engaged chronicling our process and inspirations. I’m a bridal and product designer, so we’re DIYing almost the whole wedding. Here it is: Veiled Threat

Photos by Nick Foley and Mike Liu