ABC News’ Mary-Rose Abraham reports:
It’s stressful enough for most prospective grooms just to buy the perfect engagement ring. But Craig Jones, 26, decided to take on a whole lot more before proposing to his girlfriend.
“I wanted the proposal to be incredible,” Jones said. “I was shooting for the moon here but I wanted a marching band.”
And almost exactly two years to the day that he and Allison Leclaire, 29, reconnected at a friend’s birthday party, a 140-person marching band strode through Manhattan’s Bryant Park. It was a proposal nearly four months in the making.
While professional event companies will now do all the planning for you, Jones chose to do it all on his own. For a total cost of $9,000 (not including the ring), he hired a dance company to break out into a flash mob, connected with a high school band in Port Chester, N.Y., and even rented camera equipment so his friends could capture it all for posterity. And he corralled parents and siblings from both sides of the family to make trips from New Jersey and Rhode Island for the big day. He barely slept the week before.
“I know Craig and I know he doesn’t easily do things in a small way,” said Leclaire, a textile designer. “I knew it was coming so once I saw the flowers and the dancers I knew it was a proposal.”
Still, Leclaire says she could handle the flash mob but when the band began its music, she started shaking.
“It was overwhelming that is was all for me,” Leclaire said. “When I really lost it was when I saw our friends and family. I just started crying.”
In a way, the planning played on what Jones, a financial consultant, has always been known for: a prankster. And the elaborate proposal, which left his girlfriend in shock, was payback for his 26th birthday for which she told him to dress in full Fred Flintstone regalia only to be greeted by 25 of his closest friends in suits and ties.
“She struck first in this battle,” said Jones. “That night, I knew that the proposal had to be really great.”
For the record, she did say yes. And now the couple is planning a March 2013 wedding.
“I’m sure Craig will have some surprise for the wedding,” said Leclaire.
And she has already decided on the music at their wedding.
“We will be sticking with a band, just not a marching band,” she said.