Brendan Lewis planned to propose underneath the northern lights but, when cloudy weather prevailed, he had to come up with a new plan.
That’s when Brendan – with help from Yellowknifers he’d just met – decided to put the ring in a block of ice and propose at the De Beers Inspired Ice carvings on Friday night at the Long John Jamboree.
Brendan and his girlfriend, Lorena Ellis, had been visiting from Edmonton all week and didn’t know anyone in town when they arrived.
But they made a friend at the city’s Woodyard brewpub, who introduced Brendan to a competitor in the carving competition.
A carver cut him a small block of ice, notched a slit in the top, and hid the ring for him.
What happened next added much-needed romance to this year’s Jamboree, which was hastily relocated from Yellowknife Bay to a parking lot after warm March weather.
“We all went to take pictures of sculptures and the carver let Lorena and myself in close to it… and the ring was there,” Brendan said.
“And she said ‘yes.’”
“I have a tendency of wrecking all of his surprises,” recounted Lorena.
“And so I was actually super shocked that I didn’t know what was happening.”
Brendan and Lorena met in 2017 when Brendan was in New Brunswick for work. The couple now lives in Edmonton.
Brendan said he’d been planning to ask Lorena to marry him since Christmas.
“When we went back home, I asked her parents to go for coffee … and then I asked if I could marry their daughter,” he said.
“And then I just had to try to keep it a secret until now. [Friday] was really hard because I was super nervous.
“I was texting my mom and texting her mom,” he continued, adding Lorena had been wondering who he was talking to because he’s not usually on his phone that much.
After the proposal, the band at the Jamboree played Jon Pardi’s Head Over Boots as everyone began dancing.
“It was pretty amazing. Definitely way more than I would have ever imagined,” said Brendan.
The couple headed back to Edmonton on Saturday night, promising their first trip to Yellowknife won’t be their last.
Aside from the proposal, they said one of the best parts of their trip was the people they met.
“They’re going to be lifelong friends now,” said Brendan. “They were super awesome.
“They showed us around … and made us feel like we weren’t tourists.”