Monday, March 4, 2013

Proposal Horror Story: Cops, Machine Guns, Lost Ring

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Ryan Houston's meticulously planned wedding proposal included a private sunset dinner on the pier of a Mexican beach and a pre-made list of songs to be played at just the right moment.

He never imagined that the actual proposal would include Mexican police, machine guns and the diamond engagement ring sitting at the bottom of the ocean.

"I spent about three months planning this proposal," Houston told "I sold my motorcycle to pay for the ring and cashed in some savings. I really went all out and researched the ring and the diamonds. I researched online for weeks to find the perfect resort."

He settled on the Secrets Aura resort in Cozumel, Mexico. The couple would go there on vacation from their home in Weaverville, N.C., and he planned to pop the question on Jan. 9.

On that night, Houston, 30, headed down to the beach with girlfriend Laura Yearout, 28, for the surprise dinner. She was greeted at the beach with "I love you, Laura" spelled out in flower petals.

Houston said the hotel's event coordinator had promised him that they would be the only ones on the pier and would have a great view of the sunset. But, as they approached, he saw more than a dozen people on the pier, a yacht parked in a spot that blocked the view and the hotel staff scrambling to set up the dinner.

"My heart just sank immediately," he said. "We were supposed to be out there by ourselves watching the sunset and that's the first thing I saw."

From there, Houston said things worsened with delayed service, the music playing at the wrong time and an obstructed view where instead of the sunset, all he could see was a man on the yacht smiling at him while wearing only a speedo.

"The whole thing is pretty much blown, not going like it's supposed to so my nerves are just shot," he said.

Yearout noticed that he was tense and suggested they untie the yacht and give it a push. Houston said it seemed like a great idea at the time, but now acknowledges that it was a mistake.

After they shoved off the yacht, the speedo-wearing man began shouting that it wasn't his boat and he was just watching it for his boss. Houston felt badly and said he helped the man tie the yacht back up.

Disappointed with the entire situation, they left the dinner before their main course ever arrived and headed back to the hotel lobby.

"Just about that time, we see a Mexican police truck pull in and they tell me police want to speak to me about damaging a yacht and I'm thinking, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" he said.

Houston said the boat's owner was "jumping up and down mad insisting they arrest me."

Before he knew it, Houston said he was handcuffed and telling Yearout to take his valuables, including the one she didn't know about.

"I've still got this 1.84 karat diamond ring safety pinned inside my shirt and I have to make the decision either to go to Mexican jail with this ring on me or let Laura take it," he said.

He told her to get one more valuable from inside his shirt.

"There on the pier, while I've got my hands cuffed behind my back, she reaches inside my shirt, feels the ring and puts two and two together," Houston said. "She gasps and then pulls the ring real hard and the safety pin pops. The ring comes flying out of the shirt and then out of her fingers. It bounces off the dock and goes in the ocean."

The police then began to take Houston towards their police truck. Yearout was "freaking out," Houston said.

"She's screaming, just frantically, 'He was going to propose! He was going to propose!'" he said. "They're leading me off the pier and I yell back at her, 'Just mark the spot where it fell in the ocean. Find a landmark.'"

"In a matter of minutes, he's being put in handcuffs, machine guns are pointed at him and I find out he's proposing to me," Yearout told "It was very emotional."

Houston said he was put in the back of the police vehicle and had a machine gun pointed at him.

Soon after, additional police arrived and Houston was eventually let go after they determined there was no damage to the yacht.

Paty Gomez, a wedding planner who works with the hotel, told that the boat belonged to one of the hotel's owners, which is "why it was a big deal."

The hotel apologized and soon Houston and Yearout were in one of the resort's penthouse suites complete with its own lap pool.

"One minute I'm handcuffed in the back of a truck and the next minute we're in one of the nicest rooms in the resort," Houston said. "It was just baffling. It was like the twilight zone."

But Houston didn't spend any time enjoying the room since he was panicked about the ring. The experienced diver threw on his scuba gear, grabbed a flashlight and headed back to the pier.

"After about two hours, I spotted a sparkle and dove down for it. This time it was actually the ring," he said.

Houston slipped the ring on his pinky and swam over to the pier to get out of the water.

"I walked over to her dripping wet in my wetsuit, kneeled down -- she didn't know I'd found i t-- and I kneeled down and proposed to her on the pier, in the middle of the night, in my scuba gear," Houston laughed. "She said yes."

The hotel has since offered to host their wedding for free and give them a complimentary two-week stay. Houston said they are considering it.

Houston is the founder and owner of Lawn-n-Order landscaping and Yearout is a medical assistant. They dated for eight months in high school, but then broke up and did not see each other for 11 years.

Houston said they eventually ran into each other and found that both of them had been constantly thinking of the other for more than a decade. They got back together six months ago.

The wedding date has been set for July 5 and the couple is hoping it is relatively uneventful.

"More according to plan would be nice," Houston said laughing. "I'd just like to have no surprises this time. No machine guns, no dropped ring."

"At the time, it was a nightmare. Now, it's a really good story," Yearout said. "The best couples in life have the best stories."


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