In early 2016, a man named Matthew Russo made a monumental decision: to tie the knot with his girlfriend of five years, Kristina Broughton.
Instead of a simple down-on-one-knee proposal though, the man whose Instagram handle is “A Creative Traveler” decided to live up to his name. What followed was like a Nicholas Sparks novel, extrapolated and played out in real life.
He wanted to give her a proposal she would never forget.
On March 3, Matthew told Kristina that he’d be catching a flight from San Francisco to New York to celebrate a friend’s birthday. But when she dropped him off at the airport, she was blissfully unaware of the plans that were taking shape right under her nose.
In reality, Matthew was visiting Kristina’s family to ask for their permission to marry her. With a video camera in one hand and a bouquet of white flowers in the other, he first went to her father’s grave in Highland Mills, NY.
Setting down the flowers and kneeling on one knee in front of the deep grey gravestone that read “Broughton: Life is not Forever … Love Is,” Matthew asked her father if he could have her hand in marriage.
“I wish I would’ve had the chance to actually have met you,” he said. “Kristina tells me all the time about how you and I are very similar. I take pride in that considering how highly she speaks of you. I hope you’ll accept me and allow me to one day be your son-in-law. I promise to adopt your role as a caregiver. I promise to protect and look after your daughter for as long as I live.”
After leaving her father’s grave, Matthew went to her mother’s home in Orlando, Florida. When he entered, her mother Angie was in shock.
“Matthew Russo!” she exclaimed, cracking open a beer. “Giving me a heart attack!”
But almost instantly, that surprise melted into sobs as she put two and two together and realized what he was about to ask her.
“So I just came down, I wanted to ask you if you’d be okay with me marrying Kristina?” he asked.
“Yes, I accept the rose!” said Angie. “Like they do on the Bachelor, yes.”
After many hugs and wiping away tears with a towel, she turned to the camera in mock-seriousness and told Kristina that if she didn’t say yes, she’d get disowned.
After leaving her mother’s house, Matthew visited one last person: her grandmother.
In Las Vegas, Nevada, her grandmother sat down in front of the camera and began to explain the significance of the ring that was to be given to her.
The ring is a 1935 diamond in a custom rose gold and platinum setting. While indescribably beautiful on its own, it’s the history behind the stone that holds true significance. The ring has been in the family for 80 years. It was originally purchased by her grandmother’s stepmother, so it’s something of an heirloom.
As her last parting words, she gave her granddaughter some advice about the ring: “Just don’t faint, Kristina, when you see it.”
He proposed where they first fell in love.
Napa Valley’s Kuleto Estate Winery is home of some of the most beautiful sights imaginable. Rolling hills of lush green and yellow vineyards seem to brush against the deep blue of the sprawling sky above. It was here, surrounded by the greenery of nature and the dark red of wine glasses that Matthew first fell in love with Kristina.
So it was only fitting that this would be the place he’d promise a new kind of love to her: an everlasting one.
On one knee, overlooking the view, he popped the big question: “Kristina,” he said slowly, “will you marry me?”
With her face in her hands, all she could do was nod furiously at first.
“Yes,” she finally managed. “Yes!”