In a story worthy of a rom-com, Cristina Plana and Jason Toff met more than 11 years ago at a grocery store in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The day they decided to spend forever together, however, was a little less perfect.
It was 2012, and Jason, now the general manager of Vine, scheduled a business trip to Europe while working for YouTube. Cristina, the owner of Riles & Co., a candle company, planned to meet him in Switzerland and then travel with him to Paris. After arriving in the City of Love and checking into their hotel, Jason immediately suggested going for a walk, which was a welcome diversion from the itinerary Cristina had in mind. “Honestly, I thought he wanted to get a crêpe,” Cristina says. The couple walked through a few neighborhoods and ended up at the Pont des Arts bridge, known for its love locks. “Before we stepped onto the bridge, Jason nervously bought a lock from a street vendor—I thought it was a little weird but sweet—so that we could join the other love locks.”
Once they were halfway across the bridge, Jason began expressing his love for Cristina. “He’s incredibly sweet, so this wasn’t out of the ordinary for him or something that led me to believe anything else was happening,” Cristina says. “But he was so nervous, mumbling and stumbling on his words, that it became apparent something was going on. It wasn’t until he reached into his back pocket, though, that anything clicked for me.” As he pulled out the ring box, which was open and upside-down, the ring fell out onto the bridge. Luckily, before it could slip through the wooden beams and into the Seine River below, Jason caught the box, turned it right-side up, got down on one knee, and popped the question. “I said yes, of course, and asked if we could get off the bridge to avoid any other potential mishaps,” Cristina says.
But that isn’t the only part of the proposal that went awry. While celebrating their engagement over dinner that night, Jason made a confession: “He had originally planned to propose by placing the ring in a small notebook and gifting me the notebook on the bridge so it wouldn’t be immediately clear to me what was happening. To do that, he bought an X-Acto knife and notebook and worked to cut out a square-shaped hole in the notebook to place the ring. While doing this, though, he actually ended up hitting the diamond with the very sharp blade and fracturing it! Needless to say, he nixed that idea and went the more traditional route to avoid damaging the ring any more than he already had.”
And, because of the damage to the diamond, they decided to replace it once back in the states—which is why Cristina’s current ring is not the same one Jason originally gave her.
“Despite almost losing the ring to the Seine and then finding out later that it was fractured by an X-Acto knife, the proposal was completely perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing about it,” Cristina says. “It was very much us: a little silly and flawed but bursting with love—and I love that about it.”