Originally published in The Huffington Post
Most men get ready to propose to their girlfriends by putting on a nice outfit and making sure the ring is tucked into their pocket. Vancouver circus performer Nigel Wakita got ready by by stuffing himself inside a giant balloon!
Wakita is the director of recreational education and a performer at the Vancouver Circus School, and his girlfriend, Fiona Walsh, also works at the school as a performer and office administrator. He told HuffPost Weddings that, since he knew she wanted a big, public proposal, he decided to organize a show at the school and pop the question during his balloon act, in which he puts himself inside a giant balloon.
Wakita and his fellow performers told Walsh that they would be putting on a free show on May 18. Walsh agreed to not only participate in the show, but also help promote it (which allowed their friends and family to attend without making Walsh suspicious).
The show, held at the school’s performance space, attracted about 250 spectators and included acts like trapeze artists, jugglers and contortionists. Towards the end of the hour-long show, Walsh took the stage to perform her silk aerial routine. Then, Wakita joined her onstage to perform his crowd-pleasing balloon act.
Using a leaf-blower, Wakita filled a giant balloon with air and fit himself inside it. After entertaining the crowd for a few minutes, he bounced over to the wings for the “quick change” portion of the act. Wakita said normally, his castmembers feed him a silly outfit through the opening in the balloon, and he changes inside the ballon and reveals his new outfit after escaping from the balloon. This time, however, they gave him a nice pair of black pants and a shirt — and the ring.
After Wakita changed into his new outfit, Walsh “released” him from the balloon by popping it with a giant pair of scissors. Wakita immediately got down on one knee, showed the ring to a shocked Walsh and asked her to marry him.
“She’s normally really good about not breaking character, but when the balloon popped and we went off-script, she had what I would call the ‘derp’ face on. Like ‘What…?'” Wakita said. “All she did was nod.”
Walsh told HuffPost Weddings that she had no idea Wakita was planning to propose, and said afterwards she was so shocked she didn’t know what to do next — so she kept on performing.
“When I popped the balloon at first I was disappointed that he wasn’t wearing anything ridiculous. He was wearing boyfriend-y clothes. I didn’t understand what was going on,” Walsh said. “[Then] I was hugging him going, ‘Are we still supposed to do the bow?’ He was like, ‘You don’t have to,’ but I was like, ‘I gotta!'”
Still, she said the proposal was “very ‘us.'”
“I always teased him about how I wanted this done. It had to be in public, my friends and family had to be there, he had to use my full name,” Walsh said. “And he did.”