It was a proposal 365 days in the making.
Josh Schmitz knew he wanted to ask his girlfriend Danielle Roesch to marry him in a special way, but she never could have expected he would spend the last year preparing for the big day.
The two met on Tinder in 2014 and went on their first date Oct. 8. By Aug. 19, 2015, Schmitz set out on a mission to create the perfect wedding proposal, saying he knew Roesch was the one.
“I had been thinking about what I could do for a proposal long before any man would want to admit,” Schmitz said, adding he had been coming up with ideas for about six months before settling on his year-long plan.
Schmitz, a heavy equipment manager, doesn’t see Roesch much during the week days as he leaves for work at 4:45 a.m. So the two started writing each other notes in the morning.
Schmitz leaves Roesch a message before he leaves for work and when he comes home there’s a note waiting for him.
“It’s always something to kind of look forward to and it’s a part of our routine,” he said.
That would become the inspiration behind his proposal.
“I wanted to be able to show her how much I cared about her every day and I wanted to be able to incorporate work into it too because I spend a lot of time at work,” Schmitz said.
So he began filming himself with love notes to his future fiancée. One every day for a year. The footage features him at work, on vacations, in their apartment and in nature.
“The first month making it was like, 'OK this is pretty fun' and then it turned into, ‘Wow I’ve got 11 more months. That’s a long time,’ but I stuck with it,” he said.
He hired someone to turn his 10-second clips into a movie, and had one of Roesch’s friends plan a fake corporate event at the Adler Planetarium.
But when Roesch arrived, instead of a corporate event, she was met with her family and friends and a large video screen playing the 21-minute film Schmitz had so thoughtfully created.
The film ends with a note that tells Roesch to meet Schmitz by Lake Michigan.
There, he stood surrounded by rose petals holding a white board that read, “Will you be my wife?” with two options “yes” or “maybe.”
“I’ve never been more nervous for anything in my entire life,” Schmitz said. “I’m just glad she didn’t say maybe. That would have been awkward.”
In the end, all the time was worth it, he said, and Roesch checked yes.
“To see the look on her face of that surprise and you could just tell, she’s known how much I love her but I think it really soaked in,” he said. “It’s the first and hopefully the last time I’d want to see my girlfriend cry at something.”
The proposal has since made headlines across the city.
“My intentions were never for anything to ever come of this. It was for her to see and for me to show her how much I love her and how much I think about her,” Schmitz said. “It’s nice to see people who appreciate a good story … Maybe it’ll inspire somebody to have the next very creative proposal.”