PW Reader Ring: Leigh Ann & Bryan!
The couple: Leigh Ann Penska and Bryan Mooney, from King of Prussia
The ring: My ring has an oval brilliant center diamond in a custom white-gold diamond setting. This past spring we spent a day on Jewelers’ Row and put it all together at Barsky Diamonds. The staff took the time to sit with us as they taught us all about the precious stones as we inspected them and looked through loupe. We both had tears in our eyes picking out the perfect diamond for my setting. It is the most captivating diamond ring I have ever seen. I can’t stop looking at the way it sparkles and shines and I’ve been glowing just as much as my diamond has since he put it on my finger.
The proposal: When we left Barksy that day, and I told him I didn’t want to know if he was buying the ring or any other details because I wanted it to be a surprise—and my surprise proposal came last month.
Anyone who knows me, though, knows that I am impossible to surprise and always a planner, but Bryan managed to shock me! He told me that we were going to have dinner with his boss one Thursday in Rittenhouse before heading to the shore.
So that day, we left for the city, and I was unaware of how slowly he was driving on the Schuylkill to kill time to make sure my surprise was timed perfectly. We parked—with Bryan quickly dodging my father’s truck that was also parked near us—and since we were early to dinner, Bryan suggested we grab a cocktail at Parc. (It’s where we had had our first date nearly a year to the date prior; he had made me a ring out of bubble gum and a cocktail straw and from then on I knew he was the one for me).
As we walked through Rittenhouse Square, he tried to distract me with a juggler to the right of us as my surprise was to the left of us. Caricatures by Courtney (a local artist) had a blanket set up in the park for us and asked to draw us as a cartoon. I said no thanks since we were on our way to dinner, but Bryan said he thought it would be cool to have, and Courtney said it was free.
As we walked over to the blanket, I started getting nervous and thought, Omg, is it happening now? As we sat together,I felt my world flash before me and I was weak in disbelief that this could possibly be it. I realized Bryan had a new shirt on and wondered if this is why … I wondered if we were really going to dinner with his boss … I wondered if this is why he was driving so slow on 76. The caricature artist just kept calm and told me to keep my face still looking at her as she drew me, but my head was spinning. Bryan kept chuckling his nervous little laugh and kept looking to the right and left of him and behind us. Who was next to us, I thought? Who was behind us? What was going on?
Courtney asked if we were ready to see her drawing. She turned it around, and at this point Bryan was kneeling and had the jewelry box opened with the most gorgeous rock glistening in the sun! He said, “Leigh Ann, I love you more than anything in the world and want you to be my wife … Will you marry me?”
I gasped and screamed in shock. I cried hysterically. I hugged and kissed him a million times. Apparently he asked me four times to be his wife but I was in such shock I didn’t answer him until I said, “’You have to put the ring on my finger!” And he said, “You have to answer me!” People in the park with their dogs were cheering and saying it was the most romantic thing they had ever seen.
He had hired Courtney a few weeks back and sent her a photo of us so that she could work on a drawing ahead of time. During our proposal she just drew a sketch. She was so sweet and captured the best photos of the moment which I will cherish forever.
Bryan suggested we have dinner at our first-date spot. I sobbed the whole walk as I floated over. As we walked through the doors of Parc, all I could see were flashes from cameras and all I could hear was excitement and happy cries of Congratulations!
Bryan had arranged for family and close friends to be there to celebrate with us over cake and champagne. Overwhelmed and overjoyed, I just melted into my father’s arms when I saw him crying the happiest of tears. I love that Bryan had my family and friends, which he knew would be so meaningful to me, waiting at our first-date spot. It was the perfect proposal and engagement … Everything I could have ever dreamed of and more! It was the most exciting weekend full of bliss and happiness celebrating at the shore! I feel so blessed and I can’t wait to marry my best friend!
The band: We are going back to Barsky to have my late mother’s beautiful diamond band reset to match my engagement ring. I cannot wait to wear them both close to my heart. I know that she is smiling down and had everything to do with arranging this beautiful relationship.
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