A true "happily ever after" moment went very awry for one Michigan couple. But don't worry, it has a happy ending.
Nathan Bluestein, 27, of Northville, Mich. had every detail meticulously planned for his proposal to his girlfriend, May Gorial 32, of Madison Heights, Mich. He was going to take her boating. He had thought of everything. Except for the weather forecast.
"When we got up there it was warm. It didn't seem very windy. Seemed like a pretty normal day. I've never been on Lake Huron, and didn't know what to expect. I was just looking forward to getting out on the canoe and it was pretty exciting," Bluestein said in an interview with ABC News.
On Sept. 1, Bluestein and Gorial set out in a canoe in Michigan's Wild Fowl Bay for what Gorial thought was just a beautiful day for a boat ride. Little did she know that Bluestein had secretly packed a bottle containing a French poem, along with the introduction to his proposal, on paper he antiqued by dying it in tea and burning the edges.
Bluestein waited for an opportune moment when Gorial was distracted by a loud boat passing in the choppy waters, then tossed the bottle in the water.
"Just as we talked about turning around, this motor boat comes by. It was a small, older boat making a lot of noise, and she was distracted by it so I threw the bottle into the water about three to five feet away without her noticing," Bluestein said.
"I told her, 'Honey I think I just saw a message in a bottle. I think I saw paper in it. We're turning around anyways, let's go after it.'"
The couple began paddling to the bottle and Gorial was excited when she noticed there was, indeed, a note stuffed inside.
"She reaches in and she says, 'Honey, it is a message in a bottle.' So I open it, and the first page is this French poem I found, a really pretty poem. And May is a French teacher so I thought she'd appreciate it," Bluestein said.
As Gorial read the poem, she was translating it aloud to Bluestein, who continued to pretend he had no clue as to how they stumbled upon the bottle. But as she finished reading the first page, she asked Bluestein about the second page.
"My dearest May, you're my best friend and the love of my life and I can't imagine spending any moment without you. That being said…" she read as Bluestein got the ring ready to finish the line Gorial now knew was coming.
She finished the letter, looked up at him, and said, "Yes."
But meanwhile, strong winds had pulled them far offshore. And they hadn't noticed.
"Once the big-time excitement had toned down, we realized we were a pretty long way from where we needed to be. The waves had kicked up to three to five foot waves at this point. And we had to paddle back into them to get back. A half an hour later, we hadn't moved," said Bluestein.
The couple was growing tired from the paddling and Gorial was getting seasick. After trying by cellphone to call Gorial's father, who was staying in a nearby cabin, they were able to reach her brother.
"Her brother calls the sheriff's office and they're busy saving somebody else on the other side of the lake, so it would be a while. But I noticed about a mile away there's this island and the current was kind of pushing toward it, so I knew I had a little help getting us there," Bluestein said.
The pair finally reached the island, took refuge there, and successfully called for help.
"I finally get in touch with the sheriff's office so they could get my GPS signal. Unfortunately they had the GPS off by one number. They were searching on the other side of the island," Bluestein said. "An hour later, I still haven't seen them so they finally get me in touch with the person on the rescue boat."
So they waited as evening came. It was the perfect, most romantic time of day to be stuck alone together on an island.
"While we were on the island we got to see the sunset and the moon rise on the opposite side of the horizon. And it was a full moon, big and beautiful. Just as it was getting pitch dark and night was falling, they showed up."
The grateful couple hopped on the rescue boat, and as they approached the marina, fireworks were going off. It was like a scene straight out of a romance novel. It's now a running joke between them that Bluestein secretly planned the whole thing, catastrophe included.
Bluestein and Gorial were so grateful to the rescue team that they're planning to invite them to the wedding.
"Of course they're invited. They're our rescuers," Bluestein said.
Their wedding is tentatively scheduled for next April 6. It seems pretty clear this is one story they'll be sharing with the grandkids.