Emily Schrag thought her boyfriend was up to something when the couple set off for a Valentine's Day photo shoot this morning.
She didn't expect him to propose on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, surrounded by their families, news crews and a trolley with a billboard made just for them.
The Fairmount couple chatted on the bottom of the museum steps with women who were purportedly arranging the photo shoot. They strolled up the steps on the bright, sunny morning.
But instead of posing for photos, Jeremy Kaplan knelt and held out a diamond ring.
A trolley car pulled up with a sign: "Dear Emily, My friend Jeremy has a pretty important question to ask you. With love, Philadelphia. P.S. Say yes!"
"Oh my God!" Schrag exclaimed. Her answer was clear.
The two hugged and kissed as relatives leapt out of the trolley, carrying flowers and champagne.
The surprise proposal was orchestrated after Kaplan won a Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation contest. The GPTMC asked for essays on Philadelphia's role in a couple's love story.
"Philadelphia brought us back together," Kaplan wrote in his entry. The two were high school acquaintances but didn't stay in touch after. Both attended graduate school in Philadelphia, and their courtship started after a mutual friend arranged a get-together for a Philadelphia Orchestra performance at the Penn Museum.
In addition to the surprise event, the couple won a 1.05-carat Hearts on Fire Acclaim engagement ring from Bernie Robbins Jewelers and an overnight stay at Hotel Monaco Philadelphia as part of the contest.
The couple's families were in on the scheme, but Schrag said her mom didn't let on in a phone call last night. Kaplan said he was worried Schrag would see the trolley before he popped the question. As he introduced her to the GPTMC workers who coordinated the event, he confessed that he'd been hiding emails from her.
His concern was unnecessary.
"I had no idea," Schrag said.