Man surprises girlfriend with engagement, wedding in 1 night

Danny Rios wanted to eliminate the stress of wedding planning for his wife.

— -- A New York man orchestrated a surprise engagement and wedding in one night in order to alleviate the stress of wedding planning for his bride.

Her now-husband, Danny Rios, spent more than five months planning in order to both propose to Nicole Rios and marry her in a span of less than two hours, as well as keep it a surprise.

Danny Rios came up with an idea in August to surprise his now-wife when they returned to their Smithtown, New York, home from a trip last month, just days after Nicole Rios’ birthday.

“Nicole kept on saying how she wanted to have people over for an engagement party and then surprise them with a wedding so I knew she was OK with a wedding in the backyard,” he said. “I know it’s a battle with her illness already and when anything comes up she gets stressed out about it.”

He picked out the engagement rings and wedding bands on his own and recruited Nicole Rios’ mother for help picking out the wedding dress. The pair bought the same dress in two sizes and then had them hemmed to fit Nicole Rios’ mom, who is her same height.

Danny Rios kept everything related to the wedding in a safe. When he and Nicole Rios traveled just before the wedding, his parents came to stay at their house and had specific instructions to follow to prepare the house.

“I wrote down what had to be done and I said, ‘I don’t care what anyone says, what’s on this paper is what has to be done. It’s gold,’” Danny Rios recalled.

On Dec. 8, Nicole Rios thought a surprise birthday party was going to happen when she arrived home from the airport to see their backyard decorated with lights.

“I didn’t think we’d even be getting engaged for at least a year,” she said. “I was ready to get in my pajamas … I didn’t think this was going to happen.”

Minutes later, Danny Rios got down on one knee and proposed in front of family and friends who flew in from across the country.

After Nicole Rios said yes, she was surprised again in a quieter moment inside the couple’s home.

“Danny said, ‘You know how much I love you and if you want we can do this tonight. All of our closest friends and family are here,’” she recalled. “He told me to turn around and a dress and tux were hanging there.”

Less than two hours after becoming engaged, Danny and Nicole Rios became husband and wife in a backyard ceremony officiated by Danny Rios’ dad.

Only the couple’s immediate family knew that a wedding was going to happen that night. Those gathered erupted in cheers when told Danny and Nicole Rios would tie the knot as well.

“It was exactly what I would have wanted,” Nicole Rios said. “I really couldn’t have imagined a more perfect way to marry him.”

Both Danny and Nicole Rios, who blogged about the night, said they hope the attention their wedding receives drives attention to lupus too.

“We want anyone who has it to know that if you have lupus, it's a crummy disease but you can still find happiness,” Danny Rios said. “It’s out there. Don’t stop looking.”