Steve Kaes decided he wouldn't just propose to his girlfriend this month, he would make the magical moment last as long as possible by sending her on an elaborate scavenger hunt around the Ohio State University campus where they first met.
Kaes, 24, incorporated as many close friends and family members as possible in videos and meaningful spots around campus to help him profess his love to now-fiancée Nicole Frie, 23, of Columbus, Ohio.
"We met when we were freshman at Ohio State," Kaes said. "We lived in the same dorm on different floors. We ended up at the same parties and she let me take her out on a date and we kept going out until it got more and more serious. We've been dating for a little more than four and half years now.
"A big portion of our relationship was on campus and centered around the university. We had a lot of places that meant a lot to us. It just seemed like it made sense to retrace the steps of the places that meant so much to both of us."
The entire planning process took Kaes about a month to finalize, but the most time-consuming part of the elaborate proposal was tracking everyone down and involving so many people.
"She had no clue. I was really worried about it because there were so many people involved," he said. "But everything worked out somehow. We had a couple close calls but she didn't notice, so that was lucky. It was a big risk but it was worth the risk in the end."
The Nov. 10 scavenger hunt included stops to the dorm where they first met, the Chipotle restaurant where they had their first date, a secret shortcut they used to take on the way home together at night, the university's stadium and, finally, a beautiful spot by a lake where Kaes took a knee, surrounded by candles, to pop the question.
"I was completely shocked. I had no idea," Frie said. "I wasn't expecting it for at least another year or two because he's still in school. But I knew that whatever he did, and whenever he did it, it was going to be big. That's just the kind of person he is. He really went above and beyond."
Almost 50 of their family and friends were hidden off camera in an outdoor seating area, waiting for Frie to say, "Yes." And when she agreed to marry him, they all celebrated by having an impromptu engagement party. She said it was so special to share that moment with the people that mean most to her.
"It was really nice to have it dragged out because I got to soak up the moment. When I finally did see him, I was crying I was so excited. But I cannot believe that nobody spilled the beans. They're all so sneaky. They're all a bunch of sneaks and liars," Frie joked.
The happy Buckeye couple is planning to tie the knot next November.
To watch the full proposal video, click here.