July 11, 2016
For years we've been writing about the incompatible relationship between engagement rings and large bodies of water. Despite the inherent risks of dropping the precious keepsakes in the drink, a cavalcade of can't-take-a-hint suitors keep making the same mistakes.
Which brings us to today's story of Virginian Jesse Puryear, whose brilliant idea was to propose to his girlfriend, Alexandra Love, while careening on a raft down the white-capped Class IV rapids of Chattanooga's Ocoee River.
Puryear was aware that his well-intentioned proposal could go terribly wrong. In fact, he was extra careful to tether the engagement ring to his life vest.
On July 2, in the midst of one of the most challenging sections of the river, the dapper young man went down on one knee and popped the question to his girlfriend with a halo-style engagement ring. In the boat were members of the future-bride's family.
"I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and wanted to do it in front of your family," said Puryear, according to TheKnotNews.com. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
As he attempted the place the ring on Love's right hand (oops!), the raft encountered a violent wave and a torrent drenched the lovebirds and the boat-mounted video camera.
Still smiling, Puryear collected himself and continued with what promised to be one of the most momentous events of his life, but that euphoria was short-circuited when he saw nothing dangling from the leash on his vest. The ring is gone.
His distraught girlfriend could do nothing more than continue to hold on tight as Puryear squatted down to dig for the ring at the bottom of the raft. Incidentally, the boat is designed with drainage holes in the floor, according to Puryear.
A near catastrophe turned to triumph when, within a few seconds, Puryear located the ring and raised it to the sky. Love and the rest of her family let out a collective cheer, as their raft guide, who is incidentally Love's brother, Josh, maneuvered them all into calmer waters.
“[It was] barely holding on to the lip of a hole in the bottom of the raft," Puryear told TheKnotNews.com. "I pulled it up for a split second to double check and just raised it up in the air as high as I could. I was at a loss for words, just sheer joy.”
Instead of hitting the reset button and attempting the proposal again, Puryear handed the ring to the captain for safekeeping. The proposal would have to wait until they got onto dry land.
Puryear, who posted his experience to YouTube and Facebook, captioned his video, "How I almost messed up one of the most important days of my life."
Credits: Screen captures via YouTube; Couple via Facebook/Alexandra Love.