Lauren Schuhle wanted to say yes when her boyfriend, Alex Montgomery, asked her to marry him.
But she couldn't. That's the problem when the proposal takes place on the ocean floor.
“I tried to nod as vigorously as I could,” she said. “All I wanted was to go up and give him a hug and tell him yes."”
Montgomery (MSF '16) proposed to Schuhle, both 20, while scuba diving in the Florida Keys on July 12, and the video of the romantic proposal was an instant hit. Montgomery's proposal was featured on ABC's Good Morning America, and the YouTube video has received more than 15,000 views.
Both of their families were involved in the surprise, but Schuhle didn't have any idea what was happening.
“I was so clueless,” she said.
While diving, the duo discovered a treasure chest Montgomery's dad planted, that contained a laminate flipbook with a poem and a sign reading “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” Once Schuhle saw the book with their picture in it, she said she knew what was coming.
Though he wasn't nervous about proposing, Montgomery said he was really nervous about any of the “million things that could've gone wrong.”
Because of a miscommunication with his father, the treasure chest was 150 feet away from where Montgomery thought it would be. He had to swim back up to the surface to ask his dad where it was.
To make sure they stayed on the bottom long enough to find the chest and for him to pop the question. Montgomery put 50 pounds of weights in Schuhle's gear. Divers will typically only use about 20 pounds, Montgomery said.
“I didn't want her to float away while I was proposing," he said.
Neither did he want to lose the ring. Montgomery said he tied it onto him with a very thick line, and brought a knife to cut the line.
“I wasn't letting that thing go anywhere," he said.
But when it came time to give her the ring, he couldn't find the knife. After a few minutes of “fumbling around,” he realized he accidentally put it in Schuhle's vest instead of his own.
The one image that stands out in Montgomery's mind is when they came up to the surface and he saw how elated Schuhle was.
“The first thing she said was, 'Yes,'” Montgomery said. “I just gave her the biggest hug, and I didn't want to let go of her.”
Had it not been for the strength of the MSF Program, Montgomery may not have met Schuhle. Though he was accepted into Emory and Wake Forest, he decided on UF because he really wanted to go into finance and investment banking. He said the connections he could foster from MSF's strong alumni network was also appealing.
The wedding is planned for August 2015. Afterward, both Montgomery and Schuhle have another year remaining to complete their degrees.