She thought they were taking a selfie but got the surprise of her life

Kayleigh Fahey loves to travel, hike, and post breathtaking pictures of her adventures to Instagram. That gave her boyfriend, James Regatuso, a great idea of how he could surprise her with his proposal.

On a trip to a park near their upstate New York hometown, he pretended to be helping her pose for the perfect forced-perspective shot with her back to the camera, and with the phone set to video mode, he made her turn around to see him down on one knee.

Kayleigh Fahey and James Regatuso. (Photo: Courtesy of Kayleigh Fahey)
Kayleigh Fahey and James Regatuso. (Photo: Courtesy of Kayleigh Fahey)

“Letchworth State Park is our favorite [park] — we have a lot of history there,” Regatuso, a sales manager, explains to Yahoo Lifestyle. The scene is pretty darned beautiful, but it isn’t at all where friends and family expected him to pop the question.

11.12.17 ❤️ best day of my life! #engaged

A post shared by @kayleighsue_ on Nov 12, 2017 at 4:44pm PST

“So many people actually thought James was going to propose in Bali, so when we got back, everyone was looking at my hand,” Fahey, a nurse practitioner, tells Yahoo Lifestyle of their recent vacation.

The couple during their recent trip to Bali. (Photo: Courtesy of Kayleigh Fahey)
The couple during their recent trip to Bali. (Photo: Courtesy of Kayleigh Fahey)

Not that she was in a rush to get engaged. The couple first started dating in high school more than a decade ago, when Regatuso was in Fahey’s younger brother’s grade, and they had several mutual friends in their small town of Mount Morris. They were together for years but broke up for three years when he moved south for work. He returned to the area two years ago and got back in touch with Fahey.

“He actually contacted me because he had a heart condition, and I had gone back to school to become a nurse practitioner in cardiology,” she says — and they’ve been together ever since. “I think the topic [of marriage] had come up, but James and I are both very career-driven, and we love to travel, so I can’t say that we were ever feeling rushed, and it was totally unexpected when he did it.”

Fahey and Regatuso at a recent event. (Photo: Courtesy of Kayleigh Fahey)
Fahey and Regatuso at a recent event. (Photo: Courtesy of Kayleigh Fahey)

On Sunday, they were overdue for a trip to see the fall foliage at Letchworth, so they planned a hike before their usual visits with family.

“We were driving up, and it was so cool, because we were reminiscing about our memories there since high school, like how 10 years ago we carved our initials in the tree,” Fahey says. “I never, ever would have thought for a second that the most beautiful place that we have visited so many times before together would be the most meaningful moment of our lives.”

It’s clear now why Regatuso skipped the luscious backdrop of seaside sunsets in Bali in favor of their equally beautiful hometown park. He also liked the idea of telling their families right after it happened.

“My family was crying; her family was crying,” he says. “It was like a basketball game. They were kind of jumping on me like we just hit a game-winning shot in the fourth quarter.”

The video of Regatuso’s proposal has already reached more than 20,000 views since Sunday, something that baffles even a dedicated Instagrammer like Fahey. The reaction has made the moment all the more meaningful for them too.

engagement ring
The ring. (Photo: Courtesy of Kaleigh Fahey)

“There’s been this overwhelming amount of love and support and congratulatory wishes that have come from so many different people,” she said. “It’s made the experience that much better. We’re obviously excited, but to have so many people excited for us is really, really cool.”

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