Bryant Park Flash Mob Proposal

Over the last 5 years we’ve seen an increase in the number of couples who met online. Match, JDate, eHarmony – we’ve seen them all…or so we thought! Mike was browsing Tinder, an online smartphone app that displays users who are in proximity to your location, when a girl with a New York Mets jersey and hat, popped on his screen. Being a die hard Mets fan, he swiped right (the indication that he’s interested). A few days later, he got an alert that the two were a match (she swiped right too) and the two began communicating.

Over the course of a year, Mike and Elizabeth got to know each other and it wasn’t long before he know she was “the one.”  In Mike’s own words

“I knew she was the one for two reasons: the first, how much she cares about me. She puts me before her, and in order for a relationship to work, you have to sacrifice yourself for your partner. And second, she’s so committed to my son – you would think it was her son, the way she interacts with him. Just seeing the way they interact and seeing their relationship flourish, is a beautiful thing.”

Mike contacted us via Instagram and told us his story. He told us how he wanted to propose and wanted us to be there to capture the moment.  He told us about how he used to walk to Bryant Park while on his way to work and think about Elizabeth. He’d sit and watch New Yorkers going about their lives and all he could think about was her. He also told us how across the street from Bryant Park is a building called GRACE, which is Elizabeth’s middle name. It was meant to be.

The plan was simple…get her to Bryant Park on their anniversary, have breakfast near the great lawn,  then walk over to the fountain where a flash mob would break out. According to Mike, Elizabeth loves flash mobs but has only seen them on TV or the internet. He felt a real life flash mob would be something Elizabeth would enjoy. Shortly after the flash mob concludes, he’ll pop the question. Seems simple enough, right?

Those of you who follow our work/blog, know that things RARELY go as planned and for some reason, proposals are top of that list. This proposal was no different.

Mike and Elizabeth arrived at Bryant Park on May 28th as scheduled. They sat at a table near the lawn and Mike excused himself to grab some food at the snack stand. It was at this point that we mic’d him up to capture the audio. We relied on a small wired mic into a small pocket recorder that we taped to his chest. It worked out perfectly. Mike grabbed the food and went on his way. This is about the time where everything hit the fan…

It’s now about 20 minutes before Mike and Elizabeth are supposed to make their way over to the fountain. Our cameras are set. Our plan of attack is set. We’re ready to do this! Not so fast Michael Justin Films crew. Bryant Park security comes up to us and informs us that Bank of America has rented the space by the fountain for the whole day and we needed to get out of the area. We pleaded with them that we only  needed 7 minutes and that it would be over very shortly but unfortunately we were denied. Before anyone jumps to conclusions and says ‘we should have rented the space’ or ‘you should have been prepared for something like that,’ Mike’s no dummy. He called Bryant Park and spoke with their representatives numerous times and got permits and permission.

So, it’s time for a plan B that didn’t exist. We had to find a location that would be open enough to fit about 35 dancers for the flash mob but not too open that our cameras and cameramen would be exposed and ruin the surprise. Once we found the space, we had to remove all the table and chairs and get the flash mob dancers to alter their plan with their new surroundings. To top it all off, we had to alert Mike of the new plan.

Luckily Mike wasn’t carrying the ring on him and it had always been a plan to meet in the men’s bathroom to grab the ring from Elizabeth’s father. We used that time to let him know that our original plan was a ‘no go’ and that our new plan was in place (we told him to look for a black ‘x’ made of tape that we put on the concrete as his mark – in hindsight, that was very difficult for a man to do just before he’s about to propose – sorry Mike!).

Mike and Elizabeth started the walk over. Just as he was told, Mike adjusted to the new location and we were good to go. The flash mob started and Elizabeth and Mike were right in the middle of it. Immediately Elizabeth was confused:

“Babe, what the heck is going on?”

Mike played along and pretended he wasn’t apart of it. They watched while flash-mobber after flash-mobber joined in. Elizabeth watched with confusion and excitement unsure if what was happening was actually happening. You can see in the film that she notices a few people from Mike’s church and calls it out. Mike correctly ignores it.

The best moment of the day was that final few seconds of the dance when the flash mob dancers bunch together and then separate, revealing Michael Jr. and Elizabeth’s sister holding a sign that says “Elizabeth Grace, will you marry my daddy?” It was such a powerful sight to see.

In Mike’s own words:

“To see MJ walking through…I almost lost it. I had to ask [her] to marry me, so I had to not cry.”

Mike got down on one knee and asked Elizabeth to ‘walk this life with [him].’ She said yes and they embraced.

Getting to know Mike over the last few months has been a pleasure and we couldn’t think of a better person for this to happen to. We wish him, Elizabeth, and Michael Jr. all the happiness in the world.