It was freshman year at college in California when Matt first met Melissa. They became friends and it turned into something more several years after the two had graduated. At that time, Matt was working in retail merchandising in San Francisco and Melissa was employed at a nonprofit in Los Angeles. Though miles separated them, their relationship flourished. After two years and 200+ flights, Matt knew they’d be together forever when Melissa moved north to live in the Bay Area.
Though the subject of marriage didn’t come up in conversation, the 14 weddings they attended in one calendar year certainly brought it to mind. Matt felt the time was right to propose. But it wouldn’t be just a simple kneel-and-present-the-ring kind of situation. Read on for Matt’s account of how he went about asking for Melissa’s hand in marriage, and involving dozens of friends and family members along the way.
What happened during the actual proposal?
The setting was at the San Francisco Ferry Building, one of Melissa’s favorite spots in the city and one of the most crowded tourist destinations. I had to stage 12 “stations” across the building, each with a person from Melissa’s life there to guide her through to the next one. Right when she was dropped off at the Ferry Building, she was greeted with an embrace from one of her college roommates. From there, she was taken to other stations, where she was met by other friends (many of whom had flown up from Los Angeles), who either performed a flash-mob line-dance, painted a portrait for her, strummed a song on a guitar, posed for a picture, or recapped a poignant memory from their friendship. Close to the final station, her mom, dad, brothers, and sister-in-law, who had also flown in for this, greeted her. That’s when the waterworks really started. The final station was theoretically set up to be another moment she would never forget: getting proposed to!
Melissa had just started her job as social media manager shortly before we became engaged in 2012, so I thought it would be fitting to attach the #lifeofmelissa to the entire experience to have an archive of photos for us to look back upon.
Can you share the details leading up to the proposal?
The funniest thing about the proposal date was that I had forgotten to tell Melissa to be free that day. I had it on my calendar for at least two months, shared it with all my friends and her out-of-town family, but I didn’t tell Melissa! Melissa ended up booking herself for an ALL-DAY conference and telling me about it a week before everything was to go down. I desperately tried to find a contact at the conference, who graciously helped to be a part of my plan for her to be available by 12:45 P.M. that afternoon.
The proposal itself was a monstrosity of a production. I had over 45 participants, half of which flew or hitched rides from out of town to be a part of this. I had to create a schedule, a text-message tree, a visual diagram, and a ton of props—from posters to photo backdrops and signs—for everyone to use. Once all the pieces started coming together and so many of our friends and family would be able to make it, I thought it would be so fun to get it all documented on film. Our really good friend Chris Sithi (of Spleeny Films) was just starting to build his videography business, and he and his girlfriend were happy to help and get the proposal on film. We’re so thankful to them for capturing the day so perfectly.
What were some favorite things about the proposal? Anything you wish you had done differently?
I would have definitely practiced my proposal speech and tried to hold it together a bit better. It’s a bit painful to rewatch how much of a blubbering mess I was at that final moment.
The best part of the proposal was having so many of our dear friends and family members involved. Everyone was so gracious with their time and help from start to finish. Each person contributed their talents and creative ideas to make the experience so truly special for us both.
When and how did you share the news with friends and family?
While 45 of us were at the finish line to witness the proposal, two waves of family members came after the proposal to say hello, with the day ending at a champagne bar in San Francisco, where I had first introduced Melissa to my friends four years prior. Our engagement day ended with over 100 of our friends and family members surprising Melissa at the back of the lounge to toast us as the newly engaged “M+M.”
Find out how to submit your proposal pics and details at marthastewartweddings.com/submit.