I’m sitting here at Starbucks staring out the window at the foot traffic outside. It’s 5:15PM on Friday, June 22nd. It’s my boyfriend Jerry and I’s fifth year anniversary today and he’s late. He told me we had dinner reservations for 5, and he won’t tell me the place. He told me to wait on the corner of 3rd Ave and 67th Street, by the Caché. I’m staring out the window and wondering where in the world he is, when my iPhone buzzes.
It’s a text from Jerry and it’s a cryptic, exciting thing. “I’m in the city,” he writes. “But you have to find me! You’re going to get clues on Instagram. Your name is Marie Antoinette. Your first clue is up. Happy hunting!” And so begins the most amazing, exciting, and rewarding scavenger hunt of my life, trailing me across Manhattan’s upper east side, and eventually leading my to the love of my life.
My first Instagram clue is pretty straightforward. A picture of a Caché tag against a gorgeous fabric! I read the caption on Instagram and I cannot believe my eyes – it reads just like a post on Gossip Girl!
I cannot even… Jerry has tapped into my Gossip Girl fan girl side. It’s amazing. Phenomenal. Has he been listening to me ramble on this whole time? I run into Caché, and my adventure begins!
I’m standing in Caché, staring at the fabric in the photo and it’s a beautiful, beautiful dress. I tell the salespeople that I’m Marie Antoinette and they hand me a shopping bag. The beautiful dress is inside! I can’t believe it, something like this has never happened to me before. I run into the fitting room to put it on and I find myself at a loss. What am I to do now? I take one of those famous self-portraits of myself (see above) and share the photo on Instagram. The page refreshes and suddenly my next clue is up!
Jerry is sending me to Ladurée; home of the best macarons in the city! I run those 7 blocks like the wind until I find myself in front of that famous window display, and this time as I enter the store I am confident of my assignment. I stand in line and when they ask for my order I tell the man behind the counter that I am picking up an order for Marie Antoinette. The girls next to me are giggling in a very amused way but the Ladurée man knows exactly what I’m doing there and he quickly hands me a gift-wrapped box. I share the photo on Instagram and right away I see my next clue!
My gosh he’s sending me to the Rock, a 25 minute walk in the best of weather and I can see the clouds forming. I cheat a little as I make my way downtown and with the help of a yellow cab I find myself at the Rock in a matter of minutes. There are those familiar flags! Wait for me, Lonely Boy. I’m coming!
There is no present waiting for me at the base of the Rock, so I ask the first tourist I see to snap my picture in front of the plaza. She’s not the handiest with a camera, but very appreciated much the same. I put up the photo and wait anxiously for my next clue, unsure if I’ve done this right… but it seems like I have! Jerry has shared the next photo, and it’s sending me to one of my favorite places!
I start off for Coach when there is a giant clap of thunder and all of a sudden the skies that have been threating rain all day open up and rain pours down on us in buckets. In waterfalls. The people in the plaza scatter for the nearest shelter and I find myself inside the Bose store, waiting out the storm. Not quite my next destination but at least I’m in the same building! I chat with the sales guy, Luis, while I’m trying to shake the massive amounts of water out of my hair and bags, and he points out the fastest route to my next stop. After 15 minutes I decide to brave the now somewhat slower downpour and I quickly run around the block.
The girls in the Coach store are possibly even more excited than I am, and after they give me my next gift, they provide little rain covers for all my other shopping bags. I cannot thank them enough! I take a picture of my gift and get ready for my next Instagram clue, but it’s not coming. Have I done something wrong?
Thankfully, Jerry is kind enough to send me a little explanatory text.
Duh, I guess I should have thought of that one. My transformation is not yet complete and I must unwrap my gift, this beautiful evening clutch. Jerry has surprised me yet again. And shockingly, it matches my dress perfectly. I have found a man with taste (or as I am to learn later, a man smart enough to ask his fashion designer cousin for advice on such matters)!
My next clue pops up as soon as my new photo is up. Jerry is sending me next door to Cole Haan for the final touches. Thank God he saved the shoes for last because these heels are really high!
Jerry has sent me running all over the Upper East Side, picking up amazing and thoughtful gifts, until I’m weighed down by more shopping bags than I’ve ever had before, and I look and feel like Blair Waldorf out for a day on the town! My outfit is finally complete, and I know I must be getting close to Lonely boy. Where is he hiding?
The New York Palace?? How Gossip Girl! I’m so excited! What is Jerry up to? Luckily it’s only a short block from Cole Haan because I can barely walk in these shoes! I stagger my way over to the lobby and snap a quick shot of myself inside and there it is. The next clue.
My excitement is building and I make my way to the elevators. I share my ride up to the 33rd floor with an older woman who compliments my dress, and tells me she hopes wherever I am going is a special enough occasion for this gorgeous outfit. I tell her that I hope so too.
I make my way down the hallway and I find the door cracked slightly open. I open it slowly, carefully, anticipating something amazing. And something amazing is just what I find.
My Lonely Boy is here! Surrounded by roses, the room looks just like the suite of the Embassy Suites on our 6 months anniversary. Four and a half years ago now. I always thought Jerry could never outdo it, but I am so happy to be proven wrong.
He tells me to snap the picture of him, so I do. “It’s not coming up,” he tells me. “Try it again.” I refresh my Instagram feed and…
My eyes fill up with tears as I stare at that Instagram screen on my iPhone and it’s there, so real, so tangible I feel like I can touch it. I can’t believe it’s sitting there so innocently, for the whole world to see. And as I tear my eyes away from that picture which was my whole world, I look at him. And he’s down on one knee in front of me. Like in a dream. Like in the movies. My own personal fairy tale. The moment I’ve imagined for so long is finally here.
And of course I said yes! :) I think I may have nodded my head several times before any sound, any perceptible word actually managed to escape my lips, and then there it was, on my finger, and just like that my amazing, creative, thoughtful and loving boyfriend is now my fiancé! And that is pretty much just what his card said. (He’s funny too.) So in all, excuse the pun, but throw me down, Jerry, on a bed of roses.
And then of course, to stray a bit from my attempts at creative storytelling, we had an amazing dinner at Gilt, took lots of pictures and put them on Instagram (of course). Like a real Upper East Side Princess and her Prince Charming. <3
So thank you Jerry (@jng72)for the amazing, amazing night. I love you so much! And thanks so much to J’s cousin Jennie (@jenniem_) for helping him make this amazing fairytale a reality and for taking such awesome pictures of us to remember it all by. Jennie, I know Jerry couldn’t have done it without you!
And a huge thanks to everyone else involved… Jerry’s mom Sandy and aunt Angie for helping him choose my awesome ring, Tenzin (@shamphel) for helping set up, and to all the places I visited which were amazing and helped make the experience so memorable… the amazing people at Caché, Ladurée, Coach, and Cole Haan, and thank you Gossip Girl for inspiring my fiancé with this awesome theme! Thanks to Luis for being so nice and helpful and making my storm-trapped time at Bose so fun. And a huge thanks to the New York Palace Hotel for giving us an amazing room, with an amazing view!
And finally… THANK YOU SO MUCH INSTAGRAM! For making all this possible! I don’t know what Jerry would have done without your amazing picture capabilities!
And now a note on some of the details of the process from the amazing Jennie (@jenniem_)!
“When Jerry asked me to help him plot his Instagram scavenger hunt for a way to propose to his girlfriend Rina of five years, I was immediately entertained by the idea. I am a sucker for creative ideas and this one just could not be beaten.
I was surprised that Jerry had thought of such an original idea because as we grew up together as cousins on our maternal side, he was always pretty soft spoken and your average non interesting guy. Boy was I wrong about him my entire life. This project gave me so much insight into what a thoughtful and humble person he really is.
We started the process by him giving me the skeleton of his plan. He told me he needed to buy a dress, bag, shoes, flowers, chocolate and make reservations for a hotel with a nice restaurant at all different locations within walking distance to each other. He would then post these items up one by one in a strategic order with the hotel as the last stop on his Instagram account as clues on where she had to go to find him the day of. In return, she would have to post pictures up on her Instagram account to signal him on sending her the next clue.
In my mind, the Palace Hotel was the perfect setting to this romantic proposal. It was also the set for CW’s hit show Gossip Girl so I took off with the Gossip Girl theme in writing the picture captions. Jerry booked it for the day he chose, their five year anniversary- a date that would throw her off and a day she will surely remember for the rest of her life now.”
And of course she is completely right. I (@rinasvet) know I will never forget this night. <3