I had been planning a trip to Europe for a long time before ever meeting my fiancée, Candace. In fact, during our first conversation, we spoke about how we both wanted to take a big trip overseas, and even before we officially started dating, we had invited ourselves on each others’ respective vacations. So when the plans for my trip to Europe started to solidify, and we began dating, it was pretty clear from the start that Candace would be joining me.
Candace and I had been dating for just over a year when I proposed, but even though we didn’t explicitly talk about it, I think we both knew much sooner that we wanted to spend our lives together. So when I started planning my surprise proposal, the trip to Europe was a great opportunity, not only because it was an exotic place, but because she hopefully wouldn’t suspect that the trip was for a proposal, since I had been planning that trip before dating her. The trip was also perfect because her favorite movie is The Sound of Music. So I told her that we’d make one stop on the trip all for her, and we’d head to Salzburg, where many iconic scenes from the movie take place. I got her to watch the movie with me (wasn’t that hard to do) and during the movie I got her to talk about which scenes were her favorite. Turns out that her absolute favorite scene...the one that gives her goose bumps...is the scene in the gazebo where Captain von Trapp confesses his love for Maria for the first time, and they sing “Somewhere in my youth I must have done something good.” Super romantic.
So I hatched my plan. I wanted to propose in the gazebo where her favorite scene took place. Awesome plan, right!? But there was a minor problem. The gazebo is locked and no one is allowed inside. Seems that people kept hurting themselves trying to act out another scene that took place in the gazebo (16 going on 17) where teenagers jump from bench to bench. I thought, “Ah well, at least I can propose just outside of the gazebo”, so I went on with the plan. Being in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language or know the lay of the land, I really wanted help planning this out. I started with the big popular tour bus companies, but either they were way too expensive, way too impersonal, or would not work with me to customize the trip in a way that would be special for the proposal.
Then I found ToursByLocals and Trudy. I told her my idea and asked if she could modify her tour slightly to accommodate the proposal, and she wrote back the cheeriest email ever! She seemed so excited to help me make the day special for Candace, and I immediately knew I had found the right person. Over the months before the trip, Trudy explained the itinerary and we worked together to figure out just how the day should play out. She even offered to buy champagne and have the taxi driver sneak around behind us and give it to us after she said yes…assuming I wasn’t standing there in tears because she had said no!
So, on the big day, Trudy was perfect. She didn’t give any hint to Candace that anything was special about the tour. We stopped at a few places around the city, and Trudy kept the smiles coming. She took pictures of us, sang songs, and everything was wonderful. When we finally made it to the gazebo, I was made even more nervous than I would have been anyway because there were groundskeepers sweeping piles of leaves, and cleaning the glass. I thought I would have to propose with the sounds of rakes and window washing in the background. But Trudy had a spontaneous idea. While I chatted with Candace, she walked over to one of the groundskeepers and quietly explained that I wanted to propose, and asked if they would allow us to go *inside* of the gazebo where normally visitors aren’t allowed. The groundskeeper agreed! She opened up the gazebo, swept the floor for us, and let us go inside! I was astounded, and so was Candace. It was so perfect. When we went in, she was smiling so brightly and basking in the magic of that iconic place from her favorite scene that as I tried to lead up to my romantic proposal speech, I don’t really think she was hearing a word I was saying...until I mentioned something about knowing that she would be my wife and I got on one knee. It really was a beautiful moment, in the perfect place for Candace. And Trudy was right there the whole time taking photos. After Candace accepted my proposal, the taxi driver, Ingrid, came around the corner with champagne and glasses and we had a toast.
If I had tried to plan it myself, it just wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. And if I had tried to do it with a big tour bus company, it might have been cheesy and lacking in personalized charm. Trudy made it absolutely perfect, and Candace and I will remember that day, and the tour, and Trudy for the rest of our lives!
What a wonderful story! We’re so happy we were able to connect Brandon with Trudy so that she could help him orchestrate his own "something good" - this lovely proposal. And we wish Brandon and Candace a long and happy marriage. Personally, I think they’re off to a flying start.