ALTHOUGH Cotswold couple Grant and Janine Christian first got along because of a mutual “silly” sense of humour, their engagement in September 2007 at the Port Elizabeth airport was no laughing matter.
In fact, it took 120 photos of Janine, just as many orange roses, plus the help of a South African Airways pilot, staff, passengers and airport security to carry out Grant’s intricate “master plan”.
With NMMU lecturer Janine waiting to pick him up after his flight, engineer Grant had secretly organised to give every person on the plane from Johannesburg a rose to hand to her.
“My idea was to give each passenger a picture of Janine, so they knew what she looked like, and a rose to hand to her, so that out of the blue random people would hand her favourite flower to her. Then I would disembark last and do my thing,” Grant said.
The romantic product application engineer at Schneider Electric in North End had, at first, thought of proposing on a yacht with the words “will you marry me” on the sails, but this did not work out.
“For his initial proposal he had everything planned, but I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding and spent the whole day helping her with her registry. I couldn’t understand why he was so upset with me being late,” said Janine, who studied auditing after matric.
The second proposal went much more smoothly.
“The first passenger to come off the plane was an older gentleman and when he gave me the rose I thought, ‘OK you’re a weirdo’, but I took it.
“Then when the other people started handing me roses I knew it was going down in Chinatown,” jokes Janine.
” I got so many roses that I could barely hold them all in my arms and everyone from the plane waited to see the proposal so the place was full. My friends and family were all there as well.”
By the time Grant eventually walked through the arrivals gate – wearing a suit and tie and carrying another bunch of her favourite orange flowers – she just screamed “yes”.
“I don’t even think that he was done asking, before I answered” said Janine.
Her family, who had been hiding, then popped out to surprise her as well.
Grant said nerves hit him when he saw his soon-to-be bride waiting for him with arms overflowing with roses.
“I was nervous, I mean with all the people there and me popping the question, but it was a good nervous,” he said.
“I loved the fact that he put so much thought and effort into the whole thing,” said Janine.