Ryan Houston's meticulously planned wedding proposal included a private sunset dinner on the pier of a Mexican beach and a pre-made list of songs to be played at just the right moment.
He never imagined that the actual proposal would include Mexican police, machine guns and the diamond engagement ring sitting at the bottom of the ocean.
"I spent about three months planning this proposal," Houston told ABCNews.com. "I sold my motorcycle to pay for the ring and cashed in some savings. I really went all out and researched the ring and the diamonds. I researched online for weeks to find the perfect resort."
He settled on the Secrets Aura resort in Cozumel, Mexico. The couple would go there on vacation from their home in Weaverville, N.C., and he planned to pop the question on Jan. 9.
On that night, Houston, 30, headed down to the beach with girlfriend Laura Yearout, 28, for the surprise dinner. She was greeted at the beach with "I love you, Laura" spelled out in flower petals.
Houston said the hotel's event coordinator had promised him that they would be the only ones on the pier and would have a great view of the sunset. But, as they approached, he saw more than a dozen people on the pier, a yacht parked in a spot that blocked the view and the hotel staff scrambling to set up the dinner.
"My heart just sank immediately," he said. "We were supposed to be out there by ourselves watching the sunset and that's the first thing I saw."
From there, Houston said things worsened with delayed service, the music playing at the wrong time and an obstructed view where instead of the sunset, all he could see was a man on the yacht smiling at him while wearing only a speedo.
"The whole thing is pretty much blown, not going like it's supposed to so my nerves are just shot," he said.
Yearout noticed that he was tense and suggested they untie the yacht and give it a push. Houston said it seemed like a great idea at the time, but now acknowledges that it was a mistake.
After they shoved off the yacht, the speedo-wearing man began shouting that it wasn't his boat and he was just watching it for his boss. Houston felt badly and said he helped the man tie the yacht back up.
Disappointed with the entire situation, they left the dinner before their main course ever arrived and headed back to the hotel lobby.
"Just about that time, we see a Mexican police truck pull in and they tell me police want to speak to me about damaging a yacht and I'm thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" he said.
Houston said the boat's owner was "jumping up and down mad insisting they arrest me."
Before he knew it, Houston said he was handcuffed and telling Yearout to take his valuables, including the one she didn't know about.
"I've still got this 1.84 karat diamond ring safety pinned inside my shirt and I have to make the decision either to go to Mexican jail with this ring on me or let Laura take it," he said.
He told her to get one more valuable from inside his shirt.
"There on the pier, while I've got my hands cuffed behind my back, she reaches inside my shirt, feels the ring and puts two and two together," Houston said. "She gasps and then pulls the ring real hard and the safety pin pops. The ring comes flying out of the shirt and then out of her fingers. It bounces off the dock and goes in the ocean."
The police then began to take Houston towards their police truck. Yearout was "freaking out," Houston said.