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There are marriage proposals, and then there are proposals that most girls can only dream about. This proposal story belongs to one of my best friends Jolene Lai (a veteran blogger whom some of you may know) and her longtime boyfriend Chee Kiang.

(For followers of the Malaysian blogosphere, you would also know that Jolene also went to school with Audrey, a.k.a fourfeetnine, half of the ‘Meme Couple’  of the aww-inducing proposal – must be something about the girls from Subang Jaya!)

Photographs courtesy of Jolene Lai and Lam Chee Kiang.

Setting the scene

Jo: Every year during our anniversary, we’d plan something – a nice dinner or a weekend getaway somewhere. This year when he suggested celebrating at Luna Bar, I just shrugged and said okay – I’d been dropping so many hints (for him to propose) so I wasn’t going to stand in the way of my own surprise!

CK: I wanted the whole proposal to be meaningful and memorable. Luna Bar was where we had our first kiss, and so I thought why not have it there as well (makes it easier for the 70 year old me to remember also!). I engaged the bar management for their help, and also our friends and family.

Almost giving it away

Jo: I knew it was that night but I didn’t know how the event would unfold. Earlier during the week, I had to do my yearly appraisal and used his computer to do it. But somewhere along the line I found files with suspicious titles like ‘Luna Bar’ and ‘Camera One’ and I started crying – it was finally happening!

CK: I really tried my best to cover my footsteps!  I would use my other e-mail address to communicate with everyone, and would clear my web history once done. When communicating with our friends, I would delete the conversation as well. I even asked her closer friends to distract her from the idea of me proposing to her should the thought come to mind! I only knew that she saw my chat history with another friend of ours on “how to buy a diamond”.

Choosing the right people

Jo: Everyone whom he thought mattered to the both of us was there at the proposal. I was so touched because he really picked the right people! The best part was that no one gave anything away; he started getting people in on it about half a year ago.

CK: The people I chose were those whom I thought have made a significant impact in our lives. Also, these bunch of people would make a great team when it comes to coordination for the wedding, and if they were going to be our best men and bridesmaids, they would make a great team as well.

A proposal to remember

Jo: Throughout the night I was waiting anxiously. After drinks, he led me out of Luna Bar and down the lift and started saying strange things like, “We have been together for so long..”  and “How long have we been together?” I started feeling shy… I didn’t think I still could still be shy with him after eight years together!

Then, he showed me his anniversary gift to me – there was a photo on his phone of a lock on a fence with our initials on it. He said that he locked it on a fence in Paris when he went there for his grad trip back in 2010 and that we would have to go back to get it. But he suddenly said he had left his keys upstairs; when I went back up to check there was a gigantic bouquet of roses!

He walked towards me and asked me to look up to the mezzanine floor, and there they were, my friends and family, holding placards with the words, “JO, WILL YOU MARRY ME?” All of them had pink or a blue  – my favourite colours – shirts with the words JO.CK printed on it! There was even a bubble machine. He then took me aside and went down on one knee and asked, “Jolene Lai, will you marry me?” I was so overwhelmed, I don’t think I could even say “yes”!

CK:  Throughout the entire evening, I was anxious, scared, nervous tired and even angry! The whole time, I was worried she would feel the ring box in my pocket. I had to resort to surrendering the ring to the waiter!

Things didn’t go perfectly – we ran into my best friend, and to make it worse, it started raining! The whole “brightly lit Twin Towers and bubbles as the backdrop” idea was ruined! After the proposal, she told me that she actually knew about the whole thing. GREAT!

Wheels in motion

Jo: All I needed was the green light to go into Wedding Mode – I finalized the bridal party about two days after the proposal, booked the photographers and videographers about two weeks later, and about a month later, we finalized the banquet venue. My wedding Pinterest board can now come out of the closet to be out and proud after sneakily accumulating wedding ideas for almost a year now!

CK: I try to play a part in the planning process. Most of the time I would look shocked when she tells me the price of things. Weddings are expensive, but we will pull through.

Dream come true

Jo: For the longest time, I have been sighing over our friends’ proposal pictures and videos, and making sure that he looks at it, too. He would usually huff and puff and appear nonchalant. So it was a very big surprise for me that he went to such lengths to remember so many things I liked, and brought all these elements together for the proposal. I am blessed and I am a very very lucky girl.

CK: I’d like to praise the management for doing such a wonderful job in ensuring the whole night went smoothly, despite the e-mails we exchanged, including a badly-drawn picture to convince them why having a bubble machine at the bar would not ruin the experience of other patrons!  To Jo, the lock in Paris is only the beginning. Finding the key, is the start of our adventure!

Here’s wishing Jo.CK all the very best in their exciting new adventure ahead – I can’t wait for the wedding!

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