About That Time I Planned My Friend's Kickass Flash Mob Proposal

flash mob
Love, Family

Oh, and did I mention I'm the worst secret keeper ever?

I need your help for a top-secret mission.

The most exciting texts I get these days are courtesy of Seamless order tracking. So when I got this message from my friend Tricia's sister, Laura, I had a feeling something big was about to happen.

The mission? Coordinate a flash mob proposal for Tricia, to be performed at a ski lodge during a trip upstate...in just three short weeks.

I met Tricia back in high school. We were part of our school's performing arts department, and both loved to dance. She was (and still is) one of the fiercest dancers I've ever seen, and her sister followed suit, so the one thing I wasn't worried about was getting this thing choreographed. It was more the whole, reaching out to all of Tricia's other friends without her knowing, scheduling rehearsals, and coordinating with her long-distance soon-to-be fiance to make sure we were on the right track for executing what he was picturing that had me slightly panicked.

Oh, and did I mention I'm the worst secret keeper ever?

Coordinating the secret flash mob:
Luckily, Tricia had a lot on her plate in the three weeks before the trip, which kept her distracted while we all got to work.

After lots of digging around on Facebook and through old emails from upstate trips past, I had managed to get in touch with everyone that Laura and I thought she would want there on the big day. I was slightly worried that the ski lodge, Windham Mountain, wouldn't be super stoked to have 20 random people dancing in the middle of their space—but it turned out that the ski lodge DJ (yup, that's a thing) was more than happy to make this happen. With the logistics squared away, Laura got to work on the dance, and we scheduled rehearsals.

It was a pretty amazing thing—to see Tricia's friends from all the different parts of her life come together, and devote two Sundays to learning a dance that was going to be used to start her life's next chapter. Even the friends who couldn't be there wanted to be a part of it in some way, so we had them record videos of themselves dancing, and planned to show the video clips on iPads during one part of the dance.

In the days leading up to the trip, people kept jumping on board, and I kept assigning jobs to the latecomers (hey, we needed the help!). We had two people who were in charge of recording the dance; one shooting mostly Tricia's reaction and the other focusing on the dance itself, one person handing off the iPads with the videos loaded and ready to roll, and one person to distract her and get her to sit down to watch it all happen.

The three times I thought for sure she might be on to us:
1.  In a group text that Tricia was included on, someone asked about rehearsal (and I responded with the address, not realizing). We played it off as being a rehearsal for a dance at a friend's family member's upcoming wedding—and even though that sounds kind of sketchy, she bought it.

2.  We tried to get Tricia out of the house that first night we were upstate in order to rehearse the dance with her fiancé, who had just flown in that week. Ever try splitting up two people who are deeply in love and haven't seen each other in months? I felt bad about this one, but it had to be done -- and really, she was only gone for a half hour or so during the grocery store run we sent her on.

3. We had played with the iPad settings during that last rehearsal the night before, and set them to not "sleep" ever -- which was great for the actual performance, but severely held us up the next day when we realized that our iPads were at 1%. We tried our best to charge them up on the fly, but sadly, one didn't make it long enough to work for the performance.

The perfect performance:
After a quick recovery from the iPad snafu, we headed to the mountain, picked up our lift tickets, and stalled like hell in front of Windham Mountain's resident DJ. I'm not sure how long we actually stood around the space that we'd be performing in, but it felt like an eternity.

Then all at once, the sweet sound of Bruno Mars singing "Marry You" began, and we launched into the dance. An actual crowd gathered around us. Random people jumped in and tried to do the dance along with us. We succeeded in surprising Tricia, who looked genuinely shocked to see all of us dancing in sync just for her. Her fiancé, Rafa, came out dressed to the nines, and proposed to her in front of all the spectators we'd somehow managed to draw in.

Throughout the rest of the day, people who had seen the proposal came up to congratulate Tricia. One of them actually told her that he snapchatted the dance and set it as his "story," saying it was one of the most beautiful things he'd ever seen.

Dance was the thing that brought Tricia and I together so many years ago. Being able to give her a choreographed send off into almost-married life was one of those rare, full circle moments that really stay with you. I'm grateful to Rafa for allowing all of us to be a part of his proposal—and for trusting Laura and I to make it happen.


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