Under the November-hued leaves of their Elkhart, Indiana, lake house, Gina Chinino’s family posed for their Christmas card photoshoot. Rock music blared from the portable speaker as the photographer’s camera snapped.
“We had been taking photos for 15 minutes when the rock music changed and Bruno Mars’ ‘Marry You’ began to fill the air,” Chinino says. Her family knew what was coming next and hurried away as she stood confused, nervously laughing.
That’s when Chinino’s sharply dressed boyfriend Alex Dardi came out from behind the house with his family carrying a bouquet of red roses. He crossed the green lawn and knelt down on one knee with an engagement ring.
“I immediately realized what was happening and could not control my emotions,” Chinino. “Through the screaming and the tears, I saw the one-of-a-kind ring he designed, which was beyond anything I could have imagined, and heard Alex ask, ‘Gina Chinino, will you marry me?’ ”
He slipped the ring on her finger as their families watched. Dari had worked with Chinino’s parents to stage the Christmas card shoot as an excuse to have a professional photographer there to capture the moment.
“What started out as a family photo shoot ended up being the best day of my life” she says. Chinino and Dardi’s wedding is set for Jan. 13, 2018.