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A Surprise Proposal by Wiley Valentine + Zinke Design
May 19, 2011

This is the most amazing proposal story that I have ever heard!  It is going to be pretty tough to top and I just wonder what this groom has planned for their first anniversary!  Every single leg of the journey was documented by California stationery vendor Wiley Valentine and coordinated by Zinke Design. I'm going to let the lucky bride-to-be take you through her incredible journey one gorgeous piece of letterpress at a time!  Click here to see each and every element of the proposal suite! But I want to know, what would you pack if you only had one hour to get ready for a to a top secret destination?

Surprise Proposal I

It was still dark out, I was in a dead sleep, and I woke up to Tido barking uncontrollably.  I looked out my bedroom window and saw a white Range Rover parked in my driveway.  First thought - "Did I win some sweepstakes I had forgotten about?"  A few seconds later the doorbell rings.  I peep out the door and see two girls that I recognize, Christina Clayton (event planner and one of my precious TU Thetas a few years back) and Arin Zinke (owner of Zinke Design).  Still confused, I open the door and Christina hands me my usual starbucks order: a pumpkin spice latte and a coffee cake.  It's at this point I decide to let them in.  Arin hands me a gorgeous tri-fold invitation in pink and gray (my two favorite colors) with a pink bow on it.  I open it and read the following: "Laina D. Riffe you are cordially invited on a journey of a lifetime.  You have 1 hour to pack your bags. Suggested items:  2 dressy, 2 casual, etc. Temperature: high 70s, low 50's."  It also tells me that arrangements have been made to take care of Tido which eases a little bit of my anxiety.

Surprise Proposal II

With yesterday's mascara still under my eyes and in a state of complete shock, I say bye to Arin and Christina and run back to my closet to frantically start packing.  I'm pretty sure I stand there frozen for about 30 minutes because I end up just throwing a bunch of stuff in my carry-on suitcase at the last minute.  I am finally ready and packed and I am telling Tido bye when my doorbell rings at 7am sharp. This one I am expecting, as it is my ride.  I load up and settle in the car when the driver hands me a smaller version of the original pink and gray package.  I open this one and it says "Your journey begins at Tulsa International Airport."  It also has a record locator printed on a page (the key to where I am going) but I decide not to look it up until I get to the airport.

Surprise Proposal III

I arrive at the airport and find out I am going to Washington DC - yea my favorite place!!  Its at this point that I realize that I forgot to pack any underwear - oh well I did my best in the time allowed.  I have flown a trillion flights this year (thank you long-distance relationship) but I've never felt more anxious on a flight in my entire life. The 45 minute trip to Dallas felt like 4 hours and the flight to DC felt like a lifetime.  I'm also pretty sure the flight attendant was judging me when I ordered the double bloody mary at 9am on a Thursday, but what's a girl gonna do.  I finally arrive at DCA at 3pm EST.

I get to baggage claim and I see Tom's friend Mike waiting for me with another gray and pink box.  Mike hands me the box and I open it to read "You have completed the first step of your journey.  If you wish to continue, please take this key and your driver will take you to the next destination."

Surprise Proposal IV

So we get in the car and he makes me put a blindfold on.  We drive for about 20 minutes and when we finally arrive at our destination, Tom opens my door and leads me (still blindfolded) up a few steps and through a door.  He tells me I can take my blindfold off and he is not only on one knee with the most beautiful ring, but he is also standing in the house of our dreams that he had put an offer on a few weeks back, but told me we didn't get it!!!  After this, I have no idea what he said but it was wonderful!!!!   My new fiance then says "welcome home," hands me a glass of champagne and, just as I have settled down and think I can relax, he hands me a small envelope.

Surprise Proposal V

Thinking its just a little personal card from him, I open it and I read "It's now time to celebrate!  Grab your bag and your fiance and head to one of the romantic cities in the world...ROME!!!!!!!" Eek!!!!!!   Needless to say, I was freaking out!!   We had the most fabulous time in Rome and every single detail of our proposal was absolutely perfect.  I have dreamed of this day ever since I was a little girl and Tom definitely exceeded anything I could have ever dreamed of!!   I couldn't be more excited to spend my life with this man.

Surprise Proposal VI

Click here to see the entire image gallery!

From Wiley Valentine...This is by far one of my favorite projects we have worked on to date! The story is completely out of a fairy tale. It's the story of a surprise proposal, think custom letterpress pieces found inside custom fabric wrapped boxes...think surprise trip to Italy.  So romantic!

Custom Paper Items: Wiley Valentine / Coordination & Planning: Zinke Design / Paper Goods Photography: James Walton Photography