Romantic hot air balloon proposal turned inspirational news story
No one can tell this wild proposal story quite like Lindsey:
“Early on in our relationship, Bri shared with me her bucket list dream of attending the international balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, NM and riding in a hot air balloon. I also knew that one of Bri’s favorite experiences is a beautiful sunrise. It took me almost a year of planning, scheming, and lying to pull off what would become an unforgettable engagement story. When I do things, I don’t just do them. I DOOOOO them. So I reached out to my travel agent friend who helped me plan a vacation to Albuquerque. This was Bri’s Christmas gift but little did she know this would be the backdrop of our engagement story. Bri is smart and hates surprises. I knew she’d figure it out and try to ruin any surprise that I could possibly attempt.
So I had to bring my A-game for this woman.”
“I spent months working with a local hot air balloon company to coordinate a fail-proof and fool-proof master plan. I even went as far as making up an entire bogus story about how my travel agent had entered us into a drawing to win a free private, sunrise hot air balloon ride during the Balloon Fiesta. I knew she’d figure it out if I just went and bought us a private ride. I meticulously planned every step, and had a plan B for every plan A. She had no idea and was completely clueless. I had an actor friend of mine leave me a fake voicemail pretending to be my travel agent, excitedly sharing how we had won the drawing! I’ve never faked anything so well.
Fast forward to October 2019. We flew to New Mexico, stayed at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa, which was the most beautiful resort we’d ever seen where we were treated like queens. The hotel, travel agent, and just about everyone was on board with my master plan. It took an act of God to hide the ring from her without being too obvious. Anything out of the ordinary would tip this detective off. We woke up at 2am on Saturday morning and headed to the balloon fiesta. I’d also lied about winning a private breakfast made by a local 5 star chef with a heated tent. Our check in time was 4am for the balloon flight. Bri kept telling everyone how we’d won this private hot air balloon ride because we entered a drawing. The employees stared blankly at her, but thankfully the pilot was in on it.”
Things Go Awry
“As we headed out to the field to get ready for take-off, I couldn’t stop shaking and smiling knowing I was about to give the love of my life the engagement of her dreams! Then it all went to hell in a hot air balloon basket – or so I thought. Turns out, that morning was just about the worst morning for a hot air balloon ride. It was the ONLY day where the fog was so bad that the FAA had to ground and cancel ALL flights. This had never happened in the almost 50 year history of the International Balloon Fiesta. Bri and I waited in the basket for hours that morning, ended up missing the sunrise, and eventually hearing the news from our pilot that all rides had been cancelled. I was absolutely heart broken, deflated (pun intended) and defeated. But I had to pivot and stay the course, and figure out how to make this happen despite the fog.
But wait, let me back up. While we were waiting to hear the final news as to whether or not our ride would take place, I noticed a local news crew, KOAT, approaching our basket to interview us. Seeing the news crew and the camera gave me an idea for a plan B. Bri started answering a few questions on camera while I quickly pulled out my phone, Pretending to show Brittani Hope, the news lady, photos of our kids. What I was actually doing was typing a simple text to show to Brittani that read “I’m going to propose in the air. I have the ring in my pocket.” While Bri continued to be distracted by her 15 minutes of local news fame, I continued scheming with the news lady.”
Flexibility Leads To Magic
“Within minutes, the FAA had grounded all flights. I told Brittani that if this happened, we’d get out of the basket and I would propose right there on the ground. She had her crew ready to film this magic. As we climbed out of the basket, with much disappointment in Bri’s eyes and a heavy heart, I grabbed her hand, gave her a handwritten note that I thought she’d be reading in the air, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. We were both bawling, beaming, and reeling which was ALL captured by the dedicated news team at KOAT. Bri was blinded by the ring I’d spent months and months designing, but still managed to look me in the eyes just like she did that first night on my birthday when we met and fell in love.
People surrounding us cheered while the camera captured every single moment. As if that wasn’t remarkable enough, what happened next was the piece de resistance. A woman approached us with tears streaming down her face, and shared with us that her young daughter was so moved by what she had just witnessed, and wanted to give us both a hug. As Bri and I re-directed our focus to this little girl who was timidly hiding behind her mom, I realized she reminded me a lot of myself when I was her age.
We immediately walked up to her and gave her the biggest hug, a hug I wish I would’ve had at that age at a time when I needed it the most. If our dream proposal was grounded just so that little girl could witness the beautiful love of two women getting engaged, while being cheered on by hundreds of approving bystanders, then it was all worth it. Plus, the entire experience was captured on camera and featured on the local evening news later that night. It went on to get picked up by our local Austin news channel affiliate and garnered additional publicity elsewhere. We happened to miss all of that because we couldn’t stay awake late enough to actually watch the evening news. Turns out FOG didn’t stand a chance because love wins.”
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Photographer: Jessica Karin Photography
Jewelry: Regard Jewelry
Hot Air Balloon Company: Rainbow Ryder