This Philly Guy Faked a Friend’s Proposal So He Could Pop The Question Himself

But that's not the reason his fiancée couldn't stop laughing in the moment.


Photography by Zara Neifield

Happy engagement season, Philadelphia! December is the most popular time of year to get engaged, so we here at PW are celebrating the only logical way: by sharing local proposal stories all month long. (You can see some of our favorites here, or find out how to submit your own here.) While some proposals involve fake photo shoots, Gritty cakes, and beautiful views, others are simpler—but still just as memorable. Case in point: this sweet Elfreth’s Alley proposal, photographed by Zara Neifield.

The couple: Alex Pious, 27, and Alicia Samuel, 26, both of Northeast Philly

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How they got together (as told by Alex): We both went to Central High School. We met in 9th grade biology class. Back then we didn’t get into a relationship, but we were always friends. She used to walk me to class! After high school, we went our separate ways — I went to Temple, and she went to University of the Sciences. We both stayed in the city and kept in touch, and from there it was non-stop texting and calling. Our first date was at Jones, and were were together for three-and-a-half years before I popped the question.

How the proposal went down (as told by Alex): I definitely wanted to propose by the end of the year, but I struggled with finding the perfect area because Alicia is a big lover of string lights. Whenever we go out to a bar, she’ll always point them out. The lights became a big factor in picking the location, and I finally decided on doing it at Elfreth’s Alley on recommendation from Alicia’s sister. (I asked the association if it would be okay.) That area gets really packed on a Saturday, but luckily that day it worked out, and it wasn’t too packed.

One of my buddies that we’ve known since high school is also in a serious relationship, and so I used him as a decoy to get Alicia dressed up and to come out for *a* proposal, not knowing that it was hers. I made sure that it was cool with him!

Alicia was thrown off-guard, and I was of course nervous out of my mind. I remember a little of what I said, but she completely blacked out. She was very in the moment, and I might as well tell you the truth about [the picture of Alicia bursting out laughing] — it’s because I was about to put the ring on the wrong finger. Well, right finger, wrong hand. It was pretty embarrassing, but that’s why I have her around—to crack me up.

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The wedding plans: Next October at Lucien’s Manor in New Jersey.

See? Nothing too crazy or too over-the-top—just friends, family, a beautiful Philly locale, and a talented proposal photographer to capture all the magic. Congrats to the happy couple!

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

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