, , , ,

Originally published in The Huffington Post

Rachel Allison knew her girlfriend, Jaquie Richards, had been a “Harry Potter” fan since 4th grade. So when Allison decided to pop the question, she turned to Hogwarts for some proposal inspiration.

Allison enlisted the help of artist Tony Albano to create a “Quidditch box,” filled with the bat and four balls necessary to play the mythical game featured in the “Harry Potter” series. She hid an engagement ring inside one of the balls, the “Golden Snitch,” then surprised Richards.

Allison told HuffPost Weddings that although she has never read the “Harry Potter” books, the movies have been a major source of entertainment for her and Richards since they first began dating in 2010. She was inspired to center her proposal around Quidditch because she wanted the phrase “I open at the close,” which is inscribed on the Snitch and signifies endings and new beginnings, to factor into the proposal.

“We’ve watched all the movies together multiple times in our relationship…there is deeply felt imagery and meaning in the series,” Allison said.

In November 2012, Allison posted her idea for a Quidditch box on online arts marketplace CustomMade.com. Though Albano admitted he had no idea what Quidditch was, he offered to make her vision come to life. After reading the books and watching the movies for inspiration, Albano crafted an old English-style box, a Quidditch bat and the four Quidditch balls: two Bludgers, a Quaffle and a Golden Snitch.

On March 21 (their third anniversary), Allison set up a “Quidditch pitch,” complete with fake grass, hoops and banners for the four Hogwarts houses, in a room in her family’s Minneapolis-area church.

Later that day, Allison’s parents brought Richards to the church, where Allison showed her the Quidditch box and read her a love letter as the two stood in the middle of the “pitch.” The letter included the line, “You sought me out, like a good seeker should,” as a cue for Richards to open the Snitch and find the ring.

“Jaquie and I have been dating for three years, so I knew that this would be forever. I was excited because I knew she would love the set-up of the Quidditch pitch and the Golden Snitch holding her ring,” Allison said. “I wasn’t nervous at all because I knew Jaquie would say ‘yes.'”

Richards did say “yes,” and told HuffPost they plan to keep the box and perhaps use it to play a game of Quidditch with their friends.

“Rachel recognized the joy the story brought to me and has creatively made that fictional world a little more tangible. That is the beautiful part,” Richards said. “I think the warmth and magic to it and the whole proposal was really fun and that’s totally her style.”