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Love In Lockdown: A Romantic Pandemic Proposal

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Photography courtesy of Russett Photography.

One silver lining we can say made our days bright in the year 2020 is that engagements have definitely been a thing. Lockdown has proven to be a recipe for love for so many couples deciding to take their relationship next level—we are here for it!

We are now in the prime time of engagement season and love sharing proposal stories we hear from our friends and readers. Alex Marconi and his partner Spencer were recently engaged in early December. Alex had been planning to propose this year on a trip the two had booked to the Amalfi Coast which had to be postponed. When that wasn’t going to happen, he knew he had to rethink the moment and make the proposal happen in another way. “I knew I wanted one special thing to come out of 2020 and leave the year on a high note.”

From Alex, here’s the story (and photoshoot!) of his perfect proposal.

All engagement shoot photography courtesy of Russett Photography
Photos of Ell House by Maxime Brouillet

“At 25 I found the love of my life. Still not out to my family and most friends, I had no desire to meet someone, but I quickly realized that’s not how love works. On the night of February 20, 2015, after friends convinced me to meet for a night out, I remember walking into a condo party and saying to myself “that’s the guy.” I was staring at the only guy I’d ever had eyes for. Long story short, Spencer used to work at a retail store while attending university and I remember walking into the store a few times, not to shop, but to see if this incredibly handsome guy was working. It turned out to be his condo and after I arrived, he offered me a glass of wine and I asked his friend if he was single…the rest is history. From that night, we became enamored with one another and have been inseparable ever since.

Fast forward almost six years, we are now in a global pandemic while sharing a 700 square foot condo. The moment I knew it was time to take our relationship to the next level was while I was on furlough and had an infinite amount of time to think to the future. The more time we spent with our family, niece and nephew, the more we realized we wanted a family of our own one day and we didn’t want to wait until we were older to do so. Prior to the pandemic, I had booked a two-week summer trip to the Amalfi Coast for Spencer’s 30th birthday which where I planned to propose. After months of hope (and delusion), I finally accepted the trip wasn’t going to happen. Like everyone else this year, I had to pivot…multiple times!

The gorgeous Ell House in Prince Edward County where Alex proposed.

As it got closer to Christmas I realized I didn’t want to wait any longer to propose to Spencer. It was also important to me that both our families be able to share this special moment with us afterwards and the best way for that to happen safely was over the holidays. I moved to Plan B which was to book a suite and private movie theatre at a luxury hotel in downtown Toronto. My birthday is at the end of November so the story was we would invite my friends to see a movie and Spencer and I would go in early to set up. Once we arrived, I would play a video of all our memories, propose, and then a live Zoom call with all of our family and friends would appear on the big screen to surprise him. The day after I had made all these plans, we went into lockdown, so time to pivot once again.

It took me a minute to arrive at my next plan. I thought about a Christmas Day proposal, but it didn’t feel like me or us. I settled on taking a little trip out of the city for a stay at Ell House, a stunning minimalist-style beach house in Prince Edward County, which had been on our radar to visit. I made the plan in less than a week: booked our stay, hired a photographer to capture the proposal moment and made sure Spencer was able to accommodate the trip away with his work schedule.

So he wouldn’t have any idea what was up, I had two of our best girlfriends tell him they were surprising us with a day trip outside of the city as we were in lockdown. The day before, I picked up a pasta kit and tiramisu from Eataly (his favourite) and quickly packed the clothes, wine and champagne then hid everything in our storage locker. On the morning of the proposal, I told Spencer I was going to the office to get some things done and he needed to be ready for noon (meanwhile I rushed out to pick up a rental car). Despite his confusion and slight anxiety (I don’t drive often, nor does he let me drive his car!) we managed to arrive to Ell House on time. We settled in and then I brought him to the beach as we watched one of the most beautiful sunsets we had ever seen…and then I proposed. In the end, all the adrenaline and rollercoaster of emotions were worth it and somehow everything worked out perfectly…except the dinner, which I forgot to pack!

We are already looking ahead to our wedding. We hope to have all our family and friends join us for a week-long celebration in Barbados, our favourite holiday spot where Spencer’s family has been going for decades. We are hopeful by late 2022 everyone will be ready and excited to travel again.”

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