For those of you who know Olivia and myself (Darin), you may know fragments of our love story. Perhaps you have seen some of the dozens of pictures or posts on Facebook about various parts of our story, or maybe you’ve seen this engagement video. But there’s quite a bit of detail that’s missing about the conception of this video and proposal.
Back in November of 2011, I settled on the thought that I would propose to Olivia. I love surprising her, in fact I’d be willing to call it one of my favorite past times. This being a proposal, I knew I had to do it big. And I also knew I wanted to do something that could be caught on film…without her having any knowledge of it. This is where my good friend, and partner, Outone Vanna came in. He was the first person I told about my idea to propose and for the next couple of months we began planning an elaborate strategy of how we could film this. For the first time we collaborated on a project and we’ve been working together ever since. From the idea of filming the propose came the idea to create an entire music video that used staged scenes and incorporated the uncut footage of the proposal.
Filming for this “untitled” music video began in December 2011 and carried on until late January 2012. We filmed 4 different sessions. Olivia was aware of this (obviously) but she was under the impression that Outone and I were just trying some ideas out for a future project. By February we had enough footage to make a video but we sort of just stopped talking about it all together (as a distraction for Olivia). Preparations were being made all along for how the proposal would be filmed. First, the location.
Starbucks was chosen because it was at that exact Starbucks that I first had the opportunity to get to know Olivia. We learned so much about each other that first night (like the fact that she knew who my mother was) and we walked away from that conversation not really sure what the future would hold for us. It was a very meaningful night and one that we brought up often when reflecting on the beginnings of our relationship. It was an ideal stop as well since we could do it outside. We were also able to get an exclusive shot from a parking lot across the way, where Outone posted up the day of the proposal and Olivia never expected a thing.
I next gathered the friends and family members who would be there to see the proposal, as I knew it would be important to Olivia for her to have some of her friends and family there. Of course, the list was far too long to be appropriate, so I had to keep the number low. Lillian, a dear friend of Olivia’s and a very crafty and clever lady, was such an amazing help in preparing for the proposal. She sort of served as the team leader of gathering everyone on the day of and walking them over from the parking lot that was at least 2 football fields away from Starbucks (I was very insistant on making sure Olivia did not notice any cars).
Audio would be an important part of this video so using the Tascam DR-100mkII that I had, Outone managed to tape it underneath one of the nearest chairs to the table Olivia would be sitting at. It was so well hidden, that on the day of I was not even sure it was there. I lookedfrom where I was sitting but could not see it.
Finally March 28th came and it was time to put the entire project together. All of the pieces were in place. In the morning I laid out an elaborate scavenger hunt that led Olivia through some of our fondest memories (all under the pretense that this was a nice gift for what was at the time our dating anniversary). This led to a trip to the park, a place that was also close to our hearts and important to our story. All this with Olivia under the impression we were going to dinner.
When the time came we arrived at Starbucks and I insisted we sit outside and I also insisted that we sit at the exact same table that we first sat at. Then came one of the most important elements of the entire proposal…
In May of 2011 I went on a trip to Italy for 6 weeks, but before I left I wanted to do something special for Olivia, so I sent a box of flowers to her at the work place where we first met. Long story short, they were delivered to her by a co worker (after I called to find out where the flowers were sent) and it was such a meaningful moment in our relationship, I wanted to recreate that moment as a part of our proposal. I asked the person who helped me originally to pretend that she had come all the way from work to deliver another box of flowers to Olivia at the Starbucks where we were sitting. She did an amazing job improvising, as we didn’t really talk about what should be said, Olivia was completely convinced that she came straight from work (she was wearing her uniform, but she had the day off).
Inside the box of flowers was a message that told Olivia to walk to the end of the sitting area. I’ll just let the video explain the rest.
We really enjoyed putting this video together, this concept is something we hope to use again in the future.
And just a small note about the music. Olivia and I are both very much into music and K-POP just started to enter into our lives at the start of our relationship. It’s now become one of our favorite genres and this song was one of the first that meant a lot to us. This music video is very much inspired by K-POP’s social media presence, which has exploded the internet with thousands upon thousands of fan made videos, trying to be their favorite K-POP or K-Drama stars.
All images taken by: Shipra Panosian Photography