by Christopher Plaza

One year ago, Chris Plaza proposed to Jeremy. And in The Bride Candy way, he did it right from the pages of a storybook. The proposal was featured on the cover of Style Me Pretty during 2019 Pride month. Chris wrote about the experience last year. Here’s the story from Jeremy’s point of view.

How it happened

As a man, I always assumed that I’d be the one doing the proposing in life. I was ready to propose to my partner Chris – we had been together over two years, had weathered a few storms together, and were still as madly in love with each other as we were at the beginning of our relationship. It’s hard to be totally sure of anything in life, but I was sure that I wanted to spend it with Chris by my side. But then something completely crazy happened. Before I could propose to him, he proposed to me. The story of Chris’ proposal to me is the story of our love. It’s a beautiful story, told in minutes but unfolding over years, as unique and ephemeral as each of his floral creations and just as beautiful.

The Setup

My Thursday on February 28 was fairly normal until my boss told me to leave work for the day at 3:30 PM. She was getting over the flu, she said, and had decided to close shop. It was unusual, but I took it as a happy little gift of extra time. It wasn’t until I got home that I instantly realized that this would be a special day. I opened the front door of the townhome I share with Chris to discover a fork on the kitchen counter and a note hanging from the ceiling:

Pop each balloon with fork. Hurry! Don’t keep me waiting. – Chris

Beyond this was a trail of single balloons hanging from the ceiling on clear wire. I had to take a moment to smile – Chris had done this once before early in our relationship. We had been dating only a few months and I had gone on a weeklong work trip. When I came back I found a similar note. Each balloon was filled with confetti and a piece of a love note, leading me though the first floor, up the stairs, through the master bedroom to a couple’s bath filled with rose petals and surrounded by candles. It was a moment that always stood out to me as the point where I realized that Chris showed his love differently and more powerfully than anyone I had ever met, and I was smitten.

The memory washed over me. I was left with gratitude and goosebumps. He had made these balloons with purpose, knowing the significance to me. I didn’t know what lay ahead, but I knew it would be big. I took the fork and plunged it forward into the first burst of this incredible experience. The white balloon exploded, sending metallic confetti scattering in all directions. And just as I thought, in it was a note – it had the name of the place where we first met. I followed the trail of balloons, popping them one by one and reliving the other milestones of our relationship: the place where we took our first date, the place where I asked Chris to be my boyfriend, the place where we said I love you for the first time.

The trail of balloons led me upstairs to our bedroom. There on the bed he had laid out clothes for me – a crisp new white shirt and beautiful green jacket, and on it a watch, a rustic compass we picked up at a bookstore in Montreal, and my old travel journal, open to a new page. And above this was one final balloon. I popped it, and read the note: Curtiss Mansion, the next step in our journey together.

The Letter

I picked up the travel journal. I had kept it as a diary when I travelled through Asia in my twenties, but there were a few blank pages left in it. In those pages, Chris had written:

Remember the first time we got lost in each other’s eyes? The whole World melted around us and nothing was left but you and me. Since that day every embrace, every kiss, every memory has written a love story named after us. Since I met you my life has been an adventure, one I never thought was possible. Our love is written in the stars and there are moments we have spent together that some only read about in books and hear in love songs. You have always looked for adventure, and I ask are you ready for the next chapter? Do you take me forever? This time I leave you with something to find me, maybe not a glass slipper but a trail of balloons leading to an address. There I will be waiting.

The Mansion

I arrived at the Curtiss Mansion dressed in my fresh new suit, ready for the next step in our journey. As I entered the large central courtyard, the first thing I saw at the far end of the yard was a violinist in a flowing white dress. She was playing our song - Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down” – and I started to tear up. I walked through the courtyard to the backyard area and was floored by what I saw. Chris had transformed the back gate to the garden into a storybook landscape. The gate is already surrounded by a stone arch with a strangler fig creeping down it. He had added flowers and greenery crawling up the sides of the gate. And a whimsical scroll of muslin fabric with calligraphy covered the gate and spilled forward as an aisle, flanked by pillar candles. I looked closer – that calligraphy was his note to me that he left in my old travel journal.

To the side was a beautiful vintage head table with a massive arrangement. I saw white anemones, roses, ranunculus, delphiniums, carnations, spray roses, and greenery. I knew he chose to use anemones because they are one of my favorite flowers. And to Chris, roses reminded him of growing up in his father’s rose garden so they were significant too.

And then there was Chris, standing on the scroll, on the first page of the next chapter of our lives. He was dressed in a beautiful pink suit and that same amazing smile, and once I saw him everything else melted away. It was just him and me in the moment. I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding, and I closed the distance between us.

The Proposal

He took my hands, looked into my eyes, went down on one knee, and said those magic words:

Jeremy you are my everything. I want the world to know just how much I love you. I want you to know that I choose you forever. And now I need to know – Jeremy Paul Mason – will you make me the happiest man alive and marry me?

And then he offered me the ring.

I realize that in life you sometimes have to take a brave new start in any journey. You don’t always see the moment before it arrives, but the truth is there are clues that lead the way. In that moment, I thought of that path. I thought of coastal sunset “I love you”s, long candlelit baths surrounded by roses, hiking on childhood Connecticut trails, and loving glances across that Montreal bookstore. I thought of watching his eyes sparkle with wonder whenever butterflies are around, soaring together over Miami Beach in a helicopter, cutting out pictures and putting our dreams on a vision board, and releasing sky lanterns filled with those dreams into the Miami night air.

And then suddenly in a moment it all came into focus, the one true most important path forward in life’s journey. That journey is with Chris: in the sunshine, in the rain, in the dark and light, to the moon and back. Because our love is from the stars, and it shimmers and grows every day. Chris made the brave step and grand gesture of asking me to take this new journey with him. The only possible answer was yes.

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