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#BNBling: “Will You Marry Me?” 14 Countries & 14 Letters Later – Gabe & Mariel’s Grand Proposal

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Gabe and Mariel Proposal 2It’s one thing to propose with a big sweet grand gesture, but it’s quite another to have a relationship filled with surprise gifts from years of anniversaries and holidays together!

From Morocco to South Africa, Jamaica to Panama, from the beach to the desert, skiing to attending the Swazi king’s wedding, Gabe Inyang @ginyangsworld and his girlfriend Mariel Bird had been to 14 countries when it was time to propose.

The proposal was preceded by an elaborate scheme so she won’t have a clue! He even paid an honorary visit to his bride’s father’s grave to ask for his permission. Here’s the romantic story from the groom himself.

***

“I always knew that when I proposed to Mariel it would have to be a total surprise. I’ve surprised her so many times in the past that I knew that this one would have to be special.

Six months before the proposal, I created a fake email from an Expedia travel agent, advertising a chance to win an all-expense-paid summer vacation to somewhere in the Caribbean or Central America. Having signed up for these shot-in-the-dark contests in the past, Mariel asked me to sign her up, and I told her that I had entered both of our names in the raffle.

Over the next few months, I continually updated Mariel with news on whether we had advanced to higher rounds and the possible locations Expedia was considering sending its winners. Because Mariel was in New York completing a summer internship, she was busy enough to avoid becoming suspicious of our good fortune as we advanced further in the raffle and was eventually thrown off completely when I told her that I had been knocked out. When news came that she was selected as a winner and was on her way to Guatemala, Mariel was ecstatic and quickly encouraged me to buy my ticket, not knowing I had already planned every detail of the trip – ring included.

When we arrived in Guatemala we headed to Lake Atitlan—a crater-lake surrounded by volcanoes. I wanted to propose in the middle of our trip and knew that the only way to successfully get Mariel to wake up at dawn and get dressed and camera-ready without becoming suspicious would involve some creativity. To pull it off, I asked the bungalow owners (months in advance) to approach us at some point during our stay and kindly ask us to model in an ad for their quarterly Airbnb brochure. Mariel agreed, and two days later we woke up at 5 a.m. to get ready for our sunrise “photo-shoot.”

When we got to the floating dock, our photographers (the hotel owners) were setting up chairs and “scoping out the lighting.” They had asked us to bring items to make the photos look more natural, so I brought a bottle of champagne and a magazine. Most importantly, as we sat down I pulled out a custom-made deck of cards with photos of us from each country we had traveled to together on the back of each card. As I began to show Mariel the cards and reminisce on all the great times we’d had in Portugal and Swaziland and Panama, however, my Birdy was barely paying attention, her focus instead firmly set on her hair blowing in the wind and her posture for the apparent “Vogue photo-shoot” we were taking part in. Not having planned for this reaction, I continued to ramble, but it was only when the photographers moved away from us that she really began to pay attention to me and the photos I was attempting to show her. When we finally got to the final 14 cards—all hearts—I fanned them out and held them out for her to see. On the back were pictures of us from all 14 countries we had visited together, with the 14 letters W.I.L.L Y.O.U M.A.R.R.Y M.E.? printed across them. Gabe and Mariel Proposal 1As Mariel read the cards her face turned to shock. I dropped to one knee, told her how many more life adventures I am looking forward to sharing with her, and asked her to be my wife. In the happy chaos that followed, I had one more surprise. “Pack your bags,” I told her, “we’re going to Honduras!”

My favorite person in the world will soon become my wife. Asking her to spend the rest of her life with me is the best decision I’ve ever made and I look forward to our fall destination wedding in Guatemala and future together.”

Watch the montage of their many adventures, and of course, the proposal!

BellaNaija Weddings wishes Mariel and Gabe a happy and adventurous life as One.

30 Comments

  1. bim

    December 24, 2015 at 7:00 am

    Aww I luv dis,i love a man dat understands a woman,dat know how 2 get a woman’s attention,i love romance.congrats 2 d couple.i pray 4 d same dis comin year.

    • Ngozi

      December 26, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Very interesting. Our Niger brothers makuna do this for our Niger girls too. Who won’t love a man like this back. Something happens to you if man goes all the way for you.

  2. emeka

    December 24, 2015 at 7:54 am

    all this stress just to propose to her.. smh… wishing them a happy married life

    • Grouch expeller

      December 24, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Eeya? Mr Grouch don’t worry. Yours will come too, if you lose that nasty attitude!!

    • Sweet

      December 24, 2015 at 9:06 am

      So I read you comment and I thought okay may be why the stress?
      But I watched it and Mann oh man if you think why the stress too bad, this was the sweetest thing ever. Memories they can share with their kids and watch many years down the the line.
      Bless the couple

    • Ba

      December 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      This isn’t stress. It shows how much affections the guy greatly love his sweetheart. Is like how we worship God. How much focus, attention with deep heart he put into it that he is always having this feeling she deserve more. Some men know the value of their partner and that’s what this young man just portray. There is nothing women cherish beyond this.
      I wish he keep the fire burning and may their love continue to soar.

  3. Miss Bonnie

    December 24, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Beautiful!! So beautiful

  4. L

    December 24, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Wawuuuu such a romantic man.

  5. Chicanita

    December 24, 2015 at 9:26 am

    OMG I love the video. He truly adores her
    Happy Married Life to them

  6. The real D

    December 24, 2015 at 9:39 am

    The day I learned of this couple’s proposal, I am naturally not very emotional but it did my belle like sugar and the thought that dude put towards their wedding too was on another level. It takes a special man to have that much attention to detail.

  7. bitterlemon

    December 24, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I don’t like the way he says,African this African that…..and yet for other countries,they mention the names not the continent!!

    • I no send

      December 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

      went everywhere except nigeria ..i wish he would have showed her a bit of his home…. cross rivers I’m guessing from his name…..HML

    • evelyn

      December 24, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      what are you talking about, you didn’t see Swaziland, Capetown or Joburg ehn?

  8. Nefertiti

    December 24, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Looks like a movie…I wish them well

  9. GF

    December 24, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Ticitaca

  10. Thatgidigirl

    December 24, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Aaaawww he’s such a hopeless romantic, and she’s a cool partner too. I’m just here thinking about my green passport and all its restrictions…..this life is a pot of beans, without dodo ??

    • B

      December 25, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Hahaha. Too funny, but not funny at the same time.

  11. Aprillaugh.net

    December 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Awwwwww. They are such a cute couple! I love the thought he put in compiling all the videos all through the years! Wishing them all the best!

  12. Rose

    December 24, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Na wa ooooo…der love is not a small something… Me I go love ooooo Baba God…be a boo/husband provider this 2015 and 2016….kaiii

  13. Doll

    December 24, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Wow, what a romantic thoughtful man and to think he is Nigerian

    Happy married life, I can tell already that it will be fun for you guys

  14. NaijaPikin

    December 24, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Did you miss Swaziland, South Africa, aren’t those countries?

    As a travel addict this made my day. You can tell they are truly passionate about travelling, local experiences. Their destinations are not your typical touristy places. May their love always be beautiful and peaceful.

  15. kenny adeyemo

    December 24, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    wow this is so romantic,wish i can have one sumday.

  16. Msfunmibi

    December 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Nice one.Love it

  17. Munwa

    December 25, 2015 at 7:33 pm

    I love the video….hahaha so adorable. BN please give us a “like” button. I really just wanted to “like” without making a comment.

  18. HerExcellence

    December 25, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    …lols! My ibo brother I hail o. As in no time…for all d romantic stuffs okwia? Biko learn a tin or two from d bros. Inugo?

  19. Bellemoizelle

    December 26, 2015 at 3:09 am

    Wow,this is so beautiful!
    Smiled , teary ,love is so beautiful! I love interracial love too!
    LA vie eat belle…

  20. timi

    December 26, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    ‘Somewhere in Africa????’
    Beautiful couple but that phrase rubs me the wrong way.
    African men rub me the wrong way too,
    Why is it that when they are with African women, they treat them like crap but when they are with ‘more exotic’ women they treat them like queens?
    It’s obvious the bride is black so it’s not a racial issue here…not necessarily at least.
    The bride is such a sweet and gentle spirit……I can see why any one will fall in love with her,
    However, if he was dating a Kemi, Nneka, Ejiro, would he treat them with the same level of respect and awe????
    This is a question for all African men ti ponder.

  21. Ronke

    December 29, 2015 at 2:25 am

    Easily the best proposal I’ve heard…by far…
    the video compilation was perfection?
    very heartfelt and authentic, beautiful and adventurous couple, The whole thing was so good, i almost missed the Zac Efron cameo towards the end lol… wishing blessings on the couples future.

  22. Pweetiedarmee

    December 29, 2015 at 11:36 am

    Oh my dayysss! i had real tears in my eyes! awwwwww! so im not crazy after all, this type of love is real *whew*

  23. FIKEMI

    February 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    awwww….. this is amazing, i wish you both beautiful years together…

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