It was June 2015. Andrew told me to pack by bags for a beach vacation at the start of the Summer when it was common for us to travel. Three days before the date we were due to leave I sensed that he was up to something… With a bee in my bonnet, I reminded him that if he was planning on being a trickster that I would like to know only to make sure I had packed the the right things into my bags. After all, we couldn’t turn up in a city with a bag packed for the island.
He let it slip, and the day before we were due to fly he told me that we were flying to New York – my favorite city in the world! I was ecstatic! Knowing that he’d gone out on a romantic whim and booked this fabulous holiday, I was bouncing off the walls at the thought of being back, in NYC, in the Summer.
Like any good story there are always those stories that make you look back and laugh. At the airport on our way out of Dubai, Andrew did a spot of duty free shopping. At one of the pay points he put his hand luggage bag down, and forget to pick it up as he left. A few minutes later, while waiting for my Starbucks coffee to arrive he realized it, and bolted back with utter panic written across his face. That’s never a good feeling for anyone, but later I came to know that his hand luggage bag contained the ring, and all our spending money. Thank goodness it was Dubai… had it been Johannesburg I think we would have been a little less fortunate on that recovery.
We arrived in balmy New York on a morning. Andrew had booked us a trendy contemporary style hotel in the heart of the Garment District called The Refinery. At the time, I didn’t realize why, but looking back, so much thought and planning was put into into the trip – he had thought about the finest detail.
We spent the first day milling about the city – doing our favorite touristy things like pretzels and hot dog eating and people watching around Bryant Park and Times Square.
Day two was when the magic happened. The day started in a very special way… Andrew booked a spa day at a unique underground, Aire Ancient Baths New York, located in a textile factory in Tribeca. The building that housed it was built in 1883 and is full of personality and history. The spa space and experiences are designed to relax the mind and body according to ancient traditions of water temperature contrasts as elements of relaxation and health. After hopping between the pools of varying temperature and salts, and a relaxing massage we headed for lunch at a quaint Italian spot just around the corner. It was here that Andrew told me about our dinner plans, and agreed to go shopping with me for a dinner dress. It was a a perfect day, and I already felt like it couldn’t get any better. Oh, but how wrong I was.
After shopping at a few street boutiques I found a dress that I was happy with. We headed back to the hotel, decided to take an afternoon nap, and I was given the time that I needed to be ready for dinner. ‘Be ready at 6:00pm’ he said. Was I on time? Of course not.
I woke up at a bout 5:45pm in a panic. Did the quickest dressing with hair and makeup and was ready to go at 6:30pm (30 mins is hardly late!) During the time I was faffing about and getting ready, Andrew started acting rather odd. He’d been suited and ready long before me, but going in and out of the room under the guise of checking for the pick up, then confirming dinner, then making sure our show tickets had arrived – all plausible reasons to talk to concierge, but not justification for leaving the room every 5 minutes -why not just call?
Once ready, we headed to the lobby. The hotel lobby had 2 lifts alongside each other. One went to the rooms, and the other serviced the very popular rooftop terrace. Our lift reached the lobby only for Andrew to switch into the other and head up to the roof. Curious, I queried the unplanned diversion to which he replied that the car wasn’t ready yet. I was confused, but rather than ask a million questions as I normally would, I just went with the flow.
The lift doors opened on to a busy rooftop terrace. Andrew exchanged a wink and odd look with the hostess, followed by the manager, who almost seemed to be waiting on our arrival. We weaved our way from the elevators through a very crowded glass enclosed area to the open air terrace. And there it was… set amidst a crowd of trendy New Yorkers was an table. On it sat a bunch of flowers, an iPad and small notes and trinkets along with beverages and sweet treats. My curiosity escalated the minute the elevator doors opened, but by this stage that amplified a million times over to subtle, nervous shake. I looked over to Andrew, and he smiled before asking me to take a seat. I did, and the magic followed.
Numbered notes led me to a trio of little messages, a book containing 50 individuals pages each customized to tell me one of 50 reasons he loved me, and then the video. Andrew had contacted friends and family and created a special tribute video with one of our favorite songs. It ended with him holding up a sign saying he was right next me… and when I looked up, there on one knee he asked me to be his wife. I’m never out of words… but on this occasion it was shaking hands, an absent vocabulary and absolute joy!
It was the most magical night of my life. The rooftop crowd cheered him on, and we sat and took in the evening as the sun set on the New York skyline. Later that evening we dined at Koi New York and while it all seemed somewhat hazy I do recall that the sushi tasted really good. We spent dinner on the phone to friends and family in Australia and South Africa, and the rest of our trip (which we extended too) entertaining each other with our brand new titles of ‘fiance’… With me very regularly gazing down to my left hand still floating on a cloud of happiness.
Andrew not only ‘commissioned’ the help of our friends and family in this proposal video, but also edited the whole thing by himself. The perfectionist that he is. He also booked a photographer who hovered between the crowd, very discreetly, during the proposal. He really thought of it all!
I can’t thank my friends and family enough for being part of this amazing experience with us! We love you all dearly.
I’ll be taking you though our wedding week soon too so stay tuned for more from the journey of becoming Mrs Marty.
Watch our proposal video below:
Images: Paul Morejon / New York : firstname.lastname@example.org
Video: Loved Ones / Andrew Marty