It has long been a tradition to make a marriage proposal as memorable as possible. If you’ve found the one, chances are that you’ll never have to do this again, so why not throw all your effort into surprising your future spouse? That’s exactly the route John Nicotera took when he accepted a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to propose to his love, Erica Pendrak, during an extremely rare cosmic event.
If you’re not a “space junkie” like John, you might not know that recently, a comet called Neowise appeared on our skyline. This long-period comet that is located 160 million miles away from Earth has become bright enough to be visible to the naked eye in the Northern Hemisphere from July 15 through July 23. What’s most interesting about the comet is that it can only be seen by us humans once every 6,800 years, making it an extremely rare sighting and a perfect one for John’s proposal.
As it turns out, this wasn’t the original proposal idea. The man planned to propose to Erica on their trip to Oregon. “I had purchased the trip for her Christmas present. Upon scheduling the trip I had planned on proposing to her at Crater Lake National Park, so the idea of a proposal has been sitting in my mind for 6-8 months,” said John. Sadly, it had had to be canceled but John came up with a better idea. “I wanted to create a special proposal for her, that we could share together, and my idea for the Comet just came to me one day. I’m always reading about current events/sightings and all things outer space-related. Erica has watched countless SpaceX rocket launches with me. So my hopes were when I asked Erica, she would just see this as nothing out of the ordinary,” he said.
John didn’t have much time for planning and told us that everything happened very fast. “In a window of 5 days, I had came up with an idea of the Neowise proposal, found a spot in Old Forge that my good friend Tim Leach told me about (the photographer who took our photo), and became engaged.”
On July 18, what his girlfriend Erica thought to be just a trip to John’s family’s camp in Old Forge, New York the most romantic proposal happened.
“Each photo was taken with a 7-10 second exposure time. Erica and I just smiled at each other, still as could be. When looking into each other’s eyes I knew what I was about to do, but I was also going back and reliving all our moments together, the lives we had created together, and I have never felt so happy in my life. Staring into the heart and soul of someone so special to me, still as could be, no sounds, nothing. Just completely mesmerized by the moment we were experiencing at the time, but also what was about to come,” John describes the precious moment.
“My mind was nowhere else but in that exact moment. I was in a state of complete euphoria, knowing how in love I was, and how perfect that moment and the entire night was. It was the greatest moment of my life, and it came together like a dream come true. To the time Erica and I spent together with each picture, to Tim capturing the moment perfectly, with that picture, Erica and I will be able to relive that moment we had, and cherish it the rest of our lives. Words can’t express how happy I am to be engaged now, and how grateful I am to Tim for capturing everything so perfectly.”
When he finally popped the question they both had to stand still for 7 more seconds. “Erica was completely blown away, she had absolutely no idea it was coming at that time. She was in total disbelief, as was I (that it worked out so perfectly as I had hoped). I still can’t believe how everything came together so perfectly, it literally has been a dream come true.”
The shots of the happy moment quickly took over the internet, leaving people captivated by the stunning sight. The photos were even retweeted by astronaut Garrett Reisman, who congratulated the couple. leaving them in complete disbelief that they managed to go viral. “As far as going viral, it’s so wild to think about. We live together in the small city of Utica, and to even think about the fact that people all over the country, and all over the world had shared and heard our story it is completely mind-blowing,” John said.
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