SEATTLE – It was hard to miss Rob Schwertly's ad in Saturday's Seattle Times. It was in bold black and white on the back of Section A.
Simply, it read "Briana, WILL YOU MARRY ME? LOVE, Robbie."
Rob knew he wanted to propose Briana Johnson for months. But the planning part of actually doing that has been weeks in the making.
"I put a little bit of pressure on myself just to be creative about it," Rob told KING 5 News on Monday. "Like the really grand proposals on the scoreboard at the baseball game or something."
The answer lay closer to Rob's heart though … and his workplace.
"We both like to read a lot," Rob said. "Books, newspapers … and we're really into preserving things."
So Rob, who works in the advertising sales department of The Seattle Times, started thinking about taking out the ad on Valentine's Day.
"I asked my boss about it who asked her boss and his boss and it just kind of went up really quickly," he said. "I think people were really helpful and wanted to be part of the special moment."
Rob was shy about saying how much it cost, especially in front of Briana. But he said he had one person in mind as he analyzed every corner of the page … and that was her.
"I start to think about every little detail of it – the front, the background, the border and all that," he said. "I was thinking more about that than thinking about all the other people that would see it."
For the big moment, he took her to Willows Lodge in Woodinville. He planned it out to where it would be just the two of them: no phones, reading the paper on a Valentine's Day morning.
"She read the section but didn't actually flip to the very back," Rob said. "I was nervously reading the sports section looking over to see."
Eventually he had to pick it up himself and flip it over.
"He said 'you sure you're done with this section," Briana said. "I looked down and I saw 'will you marry me' and I thought for a second 'ah, that's really cute. Somebody proposed in the newspaper,'" she remembers. "Then I recognized the names. He came around, got down on one knee and had lots of wonderful romantic things to say and asked me. I said yes. We were both crying."
Some people had been in on the secret. Rob had taken Briana's parents to lunch a couple weeks ago to ask them for her hand in marriage.
"I kind of thought it was weird that [mom and I] hadn't really been spending much time together but I think it was because she wasn't going to be able to be around me without blowing it," she said as she laughed.
So, on Valentine's morning, the family was already secretly starting the archive.
"My mom just needed something to do and she went to Starbucks and bought up all their papers," Briana said.
Rob and Briana, who met last January after connecting online, haven't set a date yet.