Bawe and Ashley's New York Proposal



The wedding proposal planning actually started on Christmas Eve of 2013. We started dating 3 months earlier in September. We were in the Chapel at Crossroads which is when and where she first told me she loved me. This was the first time that I could see myself marrying Ashley if she would have me. So I went home and started to write down my proposal in a letter. At the time, I didn’t know exactly when I would propose, but I would hand her this letter when the timing was right. It was dated 12.24.13. 

In the letter, I referenced us being in New York on the 35th floor overlooking Central Park in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel above Columbus Circle. We both love New York for various personal reasons, and knew it would be the perfect place. Ashley actually had plans throughout the year to try and visit NY with family, and luckily plans those plans changed. Ashley, being a dance instructor, even danced there with the famous Rockettes at Lincoln Center. Growing up, I had always dreamed of playing at Carnegie Hall because of my classical piano background and the New York Philharmonic was my favorite. Needless to say, New York had a special place for both of us.

I first visited New York in 2002 and a friend asks me to simply check out the view at a certain hotel in Columbus Circle. It was the most beautiful view I had ever seen of any city meets nature, and said to myself then that this place was worthy of an eventual wedding proposal…someday. It reminds me something from a scene in Meet Joe Black, and I’m still in awe. 

In the spring 2014, I started to make plans and coordinate my New York Proposal. I wanted to do it on the week of the 1 year Anniversary. I arranged a private air shuttle through Ultimate Air Shuttle to fly us there. I knew she had only flown commercial, and never experience flying private or out of Lunken Airport. I love surprises, so the whole time leading up to it, I told her to prepare of an “end of summer vacation.” 

We woke up that Friday morning, and I told her to pack a few things and we drove off. At this point, she didn’t know if we were driving to a destination, or flying. As we pulled into Lunken, she started to get an idea. As we are greeted by the flight crew, the pilot holds up a sign that says “New York.” She now knows where we are going and how. 

As we arrive in New York, she still has no idea what going on. I have the cab take us to my favorite boutique hotel The Hudson Hotel where we are to stay 4 days. We check in and head straight into a couples message. After settling in, we enjoy the city and walk around and do some shopping. We have lunch at the famous Carnegie Deli, and hit up Time Square along our stroll through the city. We head to a mutual friend’s hot spot restaurant, and totally “named dropped” to bypass the 2 hour wait. 

We wake up the next day and do some more shopping and take in the city. We have a 6pm reservation at Asiate  Restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It was at the exact place and table that I have been reserving all spring and summer. It was also the same place that I was in awe of 12 years ago during my first visit to New York. 

What was really fun was, I arranged to have a professional photographer there to capture all the precious moments. I also had him post up outside to get those candid shots of us walking the streets of New York before the big moment. These are some of my absolute favorite photos. Of course, Ashley had no idea that there is a guy on the street following us taking picture of us! So much fun! As we enter the building, we head up to the 35th floor. 

The sun sets at 6:45 in September, so shortly after she sits down, I hand her this letter entitled “My Biscuit” I had been holding for 9 months. At this very moment, John (the photographer) reveals himself and is in full character snapping away. She reads the letter to me out loud, I am holding her hand my leg is shaking like crazy. I know she knows at this point, and the space between us is magical as everything started to slow down. I am hanging on her every word, and can believe that (but can!) that this is happening.

At the end of the letter it says…. "Now please take my hand…and stand up with me…and close your eyes…” We stand and I take her hand and I pull out the ring. I envisioned all along that I wanted her to have this image of me on my knees with the ring extended towards her as she opened her eyes. As she opens her eyes, I say exactly 18 words, and she says just one….”YES!” 

At this point, I am in tears, and she has this mixture of laughing, sorta crying, and this funny little hic-cup breathing that got so loud that I had to literally “shush” my future bride to be. 

I spent over 4 months designing her ring and wanted her to have a unique and special ring. I worked with Matt Bortz of Bortz Jeweler and the goal was to “all rocks.” I wanted as little metal to be shown, even in the band itself. I wanted something timeless and royal for her to be proud of.

We have an amazing 8 course dinner, and head back to the hotel. To celebrate into the night, we went to the perennial hot spot called Beauty & Essex. This lounge was only entered through a Pawn Shop off the street. After getting passed the 2 large men in suits (security), a single door in the back corner opens behind the pawn shop to reveal this 2 storied, chandeliered, hip night spot/eatery. We had fun celebrating with the employees there, and went back to the Hudson and called it a night to an epic evening.

The next day I had arranged a photo shoot for our official engagement photos. “When in Rome….” We met Jon at the iconic DUMBO (down under Manhattan bridge overpass) and took photos with the sunset as our backdrop. These are definitely some my all-time favorite photos, and feel so blessed to have them.

For dinner, I took her to my favorite Italian restaurant Babbo by Mario Batali. It was a perfect blend of elegance, class, and comfort. So much food……☺

The next day (Monday), we had lunch outside in Madison Square Park and took a stroll in Central Park. We got some relax time on the rooftop terrace, and then prepared for our jet flight back to Cincinnati.