It had been a year since he first floated the idea of tying the knot, even going so far as to ask her what sort of ring she might want when the time came. And though Rachel Bickle-Stone secretly hoped that her boyfriend, Dan Silverstein, would at long last propose during their trip from Nevada to New York, no one was more surprised than she was when, in front of hundreds of onlookers on Rockefeller Plaza outside the TODAY show’s Studio 1A — not to mention a national television audience of millions — Silverstein dropped to one knee.
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“I love you,” he said. “I’ve been waiting my whole life for you, and I came out here to ask you to marry me.”
At first Bickle-Stone only nodded, speechless. But then, as Silverstein fished a jewel box out of his pocket — a box containing the same spectacular sapphire she had chosen online a year earlier — she found the word she was searching for.
“Yes,” she said, as the onlookers broke into applause.
Actually, Silverstein, a lawyer working in the Public Defender’s Office in Las Vegas, had been planning the surprise proposal for some time. “I wanted to do something special; this girl deserves it,” he told TODAY.com.
“I know somebody at NBC. He suggested [the on-air proposal] and said it was a possibility and I said, ‘Absolutely, I want to do that.’ ” It took a bit of subterfuge, of course: Silverstein knew that his soon-to-be fiancee had never visited New York City, and also that she was a big fan of TODAY.
“I had to lie to her a little bit,” he admitted. Carefully guarding his plans, and stashing the ring where she’d be unlikely to find it, he told her “we were coming here to see Matt Lauer.”
Even so, somewhere deep inside, Bickle-Stone, a fellow Las Vegas attorney, was harboring a secret wish that Silverstein would propose on the trip. “I was hoping it would happen in New York but I didn’t want to get my hopes too far up,” she told TODAY.com.
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The couple arrived in the city Tuesday, and nothing happened. Wednesday passed; still nothing. And then, on Thursday morning, Silverstein popped the question on the plaza.Video: Watch Dan Silverstein propose live on TODAY show (on this page)
“I can’t believe it happened on the TODAY show,” she said. “I watch it every morning.”
Now sporting the ring that she had selected a year ago, Bickle-Stone admits that it bears a striking resemblance to the one given by Prince William to Kate Middleton, the same ring that had been worn by his mother, Princess Diana.
But Bickle-Stone insists her ring is no copycat. “I came up with it first,” she said. “She copied me!”
The couple have not yet set a date for the wedding. But Silverstein already knows that whenever and wherever it happens, it will have to be pretty spectacular to outdo the proposal.
“I think I set the bar really high,” Silverstein said.
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints