1) 9.5 Miles and 425 Luminaries

I knew for a long time that I wanted to propose in a very original way. I did not want to do it at a large public event, plan some romantic picnic or dinner, center it around a holiday or family event, and I never really thought putting it in food was a very good idea. I am a pilot, so I thought that incorporating an airplane would be interesting. However, I had to come up with something creative. Simply taking her up and asking her in the airplane would not be good enough. Here is what I did.

My plan required a test run. One week before the proposal, I rented an aircraft and had a friend go up with me to provide a second opinion. I was very satisfied with the test run. I decided to go through with my idea. As the weekend was approaching, I starting getting all the details together. I first lined up the aircraft rental; next I had to discreetly convince Jennifer to take an airplane ride one Saturday. I convinced her that we were going to pick up a friend that was having maintaince on his aircraft several hundred miles away. She took the bait, no problem. Next, I recruited family and friends to help setup the ground part of the plan. Luckily, we both have great family and friends that accounted for 15-20 people. On the morning of the proposal, I called the local air traffic control tower. I happened to know one of the controllers that were going to be on duty that night. I explained what I was going to do, so he would not be questioning me once I got airborne. His response was, "no matter what she says remember, fly the airplane." I then visited a local fire works stand to get some fireworks. I had been watching the weather closely for a week and rain was in the forecast. Low clouds and or rain would destroy my plan. I was really stressed over the weather.

We arrived at the airport about 45 minutes before sunset. It was starting to get dark as we taxied out to the runway. As we blasted of, she thought we were going several hundred miles. Little did she know that we were only flying about 9.5 miles southwest to a pasture. By this time, there were about 425 candles glowing in a field that spelled out "Marry Me Jen?" The letters were about 10 foot tall and the entire message was about one third the length of a football field.

As we approached the field, I was excited, nervous, and hoping I could find the small dark pasture. She wanted to have a conversation, not knowing that I needed 100% concentration at this time. Before I knew it, the navigation equipment indicated that I was 1 mile past the field. I quickly had to come up with a reason why I was about to reverse course. I explained that one of the instruments was acting erratically, and I was going to make a turn back to the airport while troubleshooting the problem. At this time, she got really nervous thinking that something was wrong with the plane. Less than one minute later, I spotted the field. I rolled the plane into a steep bank so she could see it right out of her window.

She looked down to see "Marry Me Jen?" spelled out with 425 luminaries. Her response was, "Is that for me?". "Ooo Yea" I replied. About this time, our families waved in front of a line of vehicles with high beams. As we circled, they shot fireworks. I had given our families a handheld aviation radio. I tuned the aircraft’s radio and she talked to our families on the ground. After circling for several minutes, we returned to the airport. I think she was totally surprised and was not disappointed that I cut this ride short.

O! yea, She did say "Yes!"


Proposal Story By:

Jennifer McGonegle

Alabaster, AL


The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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