Engaged

I’m sure Facebook has taken care of letting you guys know by now, but Marissa and I got engaged last Saturday. I wish I could take credit for everything that went down, but to be perfectly honest, I had no idea what was going to happen. I never actually met any of the people that helped out before Marissa did. Truth be told – I was just as surprised as she was walking out onto the patio. Here is the full story:

I started asking the internet for help with my big day about a month ago. I had a basic idea of what I wanted. I wanted to do it at the Shedd Aquarium, and I wanted a little quartet to play Crazier by Taylor Swift . Subtlety was the goal here – which is why I chose to post to reddit.com under the alias ‘BEARCIRCUMCISER’. You can read the original thread here , but the gist of it was that I was looking for a string quartet and connections inside the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

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Figure 1: It’s counter-intuitive, but bizarre, violent, capital-lettered usernames can invoke a lot of trust on certain sites.

The response was incredible. Tons of people were coming forward all day. I was passing out my email like a cheap party magician. Not only did I get plenty of willing decorators, photographers, but also security detail, pilots, and even a piano on wheels.

I couldn’t get too far ahead of myself. I wasn’t going to let all this excitement make awry the original plan. I wanted to keep it simple.

The first Redditor to commit was /u/ChicagoRex. He was a down-to-earth university student who, in the fashion of a fast food fry cook, churned out a gorgeous quartet arrangement of Crazier only a few short days after my request. Great work /u/ChicagoRex. Nailed it.

Second to step up was /u/gobucks72, who was able to direct me to a fantastic quartet. Clark Street Quartet was great to work with. I sent them the sheet music once, and I didn’t talk to them again until D-Day.

This was all good, but I still faced the daunting task of getting the esteemed Shedd Aquarium to allow us to prance around their facility close to and after closing hours. I didn’t really know what to do besides pepper their ‘contact us’ link.

But another anonymous internet user to the rescue! /u/Nemak piped up about a friend who works in the Aquarium. This user was able to get Marissa and me into the Aquarium for free. They even bought us tickets to see the aquatic show.

Things were almost in place, but I was still in need of a photographer and a videographer. /u/aweekendwarriorf and /u/mooseman90, who, respectively, produced a gorgeous video and a series of really beautiful pictures for the event. An additional shout to /u/aweekendwarriorf ‘s wife for helping with decorations.

Again, this video was done by Charlie Hilbrant (/u/aweekendwarriorf). This guy is also a pilot, so if you are looking to spin around the Chicago horizon on a romantic aero-tour, you can book that dream-come-true with Windy City Flyers.

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Figure 2: As far as getting into a prop plane with someone you met on the internet, he’s basically the best you could ask for (sorry ladies… married).

Seriously, great people. It takes a lot of character to do as much as they did for people they didn’t even know. I’m really thankful you guys helped out.

Here are the photos, courtesy of Nick Helfers (/u/mooseman90) at City Sunset Photography.

<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="a/dPrCg"><a href="//imgur.com/a/dPrCg">Shedd Proposal</a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Lastly, I can’t thank the Shedd Aquarium enough. I am so humbled that they would bend over backwards like this for our special day, with the only payment promised being that ‘I would have, like, a hundred kids and buy them all Shedd memberships’. Particularly, I would like to thank Denis Frankenfield, who suffered the brunt of my email spamming, and Marco, our generous tour guide.

I really thank everyone who helped out – you taught me that the best way to keep something a secret is to leave it up to a bunch of people on the internet to keep it for you. What made the day really special is that I was just as surprised as Marissa coming through those doors. I’ve been kind of walking on air ever since. I don’t think I could be happier now that I am engaged to the love of my life.

Thanks for reading, and see you at the wedding!