My Proposal: Justin and Helen

My proposal: Justin and Helen

It’s been almost a year since I proposed. With everything going on with the Coronavirus, it’s given me time to do things that I’ve put off for quite some time. Things like this. Writing my proposal story. So let’s begin from the very beginning. I’m sure some facts may be skewed, but I’m sure she’ll correct me.

The Ring Process

Perhaps the hardest thing throughout this whole process was finding the ring. Everyone I talked to had a ring guy, so needless to say, I went to everyone’s “ring guy”. The experience was quite daunting. It was like walking into a blind date and getting an overload of information. I remember walking in for the first time and being asked what I wanted. Thankfully the guys at Minichello were super helpful. They went through the 4 C’s ( colour, clarity, cut, carat). To be honest, after holding the diamond in my hand I retained zero information. This happened 3 /4 stores later where the information was a lot. After my first time, I think I took almost 3 months before I walked back into a jewelry store.

I started the ring process on July 18th, 2018 and never made it back to a store until February 2019. Finally more prepared thanks to Ted and Mimi, who walked me through everything, I was finally able to get something she liked!

I ended up getting my ring through Hanif, at Crest Jewelers. He was super helpful and worked within my budget. The day I picked up the ring, it was such a surreal feeling. The moment he showed me and handed it to me, I couldn’t believe it was actually happening.

The Planning

With the ring finally in my hand, came the next step. The planning of the proposal. Now, as a Vancouver proposal photographer, I’ve seen tons of Sea to Sky Proposals, which is one spot I was thinking. However, I decided against it. I chose Queen Elizabeth Park, somewhere a bit more meaningful for both of us. It was where we met for the first time.

As shy as Helen is, she manages to be super extroverted when it comes to karaoke and singing in public. I knew I wanted to incorporate that somehow into the proposal. So, I rounded up my friends for some carpool karaoke inspired by James Corden. This process took almost 3 weeks, with filming and editing. After numerous tries and attempts, I thank you, my friends, for bearing with me for the whole process! Lots of fun and embarrassing memories. Finally, the next step was the actual proposal.

The week leading to the proposal was her birthday. When we dated long distance for a year I gave locked boxes without the key. During each milestone, I would send her a key back so she could open it. Using the same idea, I gave her a locked box for her birthday, with the ring inside. She had no clue. I was scared to let it out of my possession but knew nothing would happen to it. In fact, she’s probably more responsible than me, so it was better out of my hands.

The Proposal

April 14th, the day of the proposal. I had told her the morning of the proposal to bring the locked box with her. I made a mistake, I said to her. She thought nothing of it, as it would be something I did. I had set up a mini picnic, at Queen Elizabeth while she was getting her nails done with our friends. Thank you, Kristen and Mimi, for “being stressed” that week and needed their nails done.

I picked a horrible day, as that day was the cherry blossom festival at Queen Elizabeth Park with over 3,000 people attending the event. With some help, we finally found a secluded spot. “We’re here!”, as text messages came flying into my phone. The feeling is indescribable. It’s a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

As she approached my makeshift picnic, I showed her the video. Sorry friends it took so long. Anyways, the rest was easy… or so I thought. I ended up simplifying things with no speech after the video. I told her to grab the locked box she was holding for the last week and handed her the key. Inside was the ring box which I ended up taking from her.

“Helen Ameilia Garbiec”, before she interrupted me, ” that’s not my name”. I looked up to my friends, and I see a few facepalms. Let’s try this again… ” Helen Ameilia Garbiec”, followed by ” that’s not my name!”. To be fair I got nervous. Her middle name is ” Emila”, not ” Amelia”. I scrapped the middle name. ” Helen Garbiec…. sooooo” in my head I thought I had asked the question, but she insisted I didn’t. After seeing many proposals I messed up my own proposal, but hey it made for a good story. We’re getting married this coming October, so hopefully, by then I’ll get the middle name right.

Anyways, here are the photos taken by my friend Will Kwan! Thanks for capturing these moments for us!

we got a curious visitor wanting to know where we got the bubble tea from…

I haven’t watched this video after proposing. It was too cringy. I’m sorry to my friends who I put through this, but it’s too good not to share.


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