Oct. 3, 2013 at 3:43 PM ET
Like many women, 25-year-old Dallas resident Amanda Roman used the popular image-sharing website Pinterest to "pin" images of elements she wanted to include in her dream wedding — a light shade of lipstick, bouquets of baby's breath, retro thank you notes, and even engagement rings she hoped her beau would pop the question with.
Roman wasn't yet engaged when she created the page, but it turned out that her boyfriend Ryan Leak was secretly paying as much attention to Pinterest as she was.
One weekend — on the fifth anniversary of the day Leak first asked Roman out on a date — he took her to Miami for what she thought was simply a romantic getaway.
Instead, he proposed. When Roman said yes, the couple went to a hotel lounge to celebrate — where Leak surprised his new fiancé with a hundred of their friends and family members, and a wedding he'd secretly planned and organized based largely on her Pinterest pins.
“She already knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and that we wanted to get married someday,” Leak told TODAY.com about the wedding, which he says took him roughly a year and a half to plan. “I asked her to write down everything she wanted on a sheet of paper: What are we wearing? Who is invited? Who is officiating? She wrote it all out for me a year before I even started thinking about planning.”
Pinterest proved invaluable for Leak, cluing him into Roman’s wishes so that he could surprise her with her dream wedding. Leak selected a venue, a cake, and even a dress based on her pins, and said he was also inspired to choose her engagement ring based on several options she pinned.
As much as social media helped him, though, he also knew that it could play spoiler. A few days before the engagement and wedding, Leak put all of the guests on social media lockdown so that his girlfriend wouldn’t figure out what was going on.
“They were all sworn to secrecy,” he says. “I threatened their lives. I put them on a social media ban three days before the wedding in case she figured out everyone was in Miami.”
Once the ban was lifted, though, #thesurprisewedding hashtag on Twitter and Instagram helped Leak and Stone’s wedding go viral.
Both bride and groom admit they’re surprised by just how many people watched their wedding video and responded to their story online.
“A lot of people said ‘I can’t believe he took away her experience of planning a wedding,’” Leak reports. “But she did get to plan it – without any of the work!”