It was not so much a marriage proposal as an all-singing, all-dancing Hollywood production number.
When Steve Mitchell popped the question to his partner Faye Stevenson he did so in true style, with one singer, 20 professional dancers, a team of backroom fixers, more than 50 friends and family – and a crowd of 500 cheering him on.
The flashmob proposal in St Helen’s Square in York brought the city to a standstill – and there wasn’t a dry eye to be had when Steve went down on one knee and Faye said ‘Yes’.
Everything was caught on camera in this heartlifting video…
Months in the planning
Steve, 46, told YorkMix the proposal had been months in the planning.
He met Faye when they matched on Tinder in August 2016. They clicked instantly.
“We’re both from different relationships in the past, and we’ve both had our fair share of traumas within those relationships.
“If we’d met at any other time it wouldn’t have worked. The timing was just so right.
“When you’re at our age you just know. You’ve been there before, and we just both knew.”
It wasn’t long before they talked of marriage, and Faye joked about a flashmob announcement. Steve had never heard of that before, and went away to do some research.
In November he commissioned a London firm, TopSecretAgent, and worked with them surreptitiously for months on planning a spectacular surprise.
Cat nearly out of the bag
Steve, an account manager at Siemens who lives in Wakefield, nearly gave the game away once. He said:
When I got home to Faye she said, ‘how did you get on?’ And I said, ‘I did Paul’s review but all we ended up speaking about was the proposal’.
She said, ‘What proposal?’ I thought ‘Oh sh*t!’ And I said, ‘I’ve just been telling him that at some point I’ll propose to you…’
Nevertheless, on the big day, February 11, Faye, 40, a Tesco store manager who lives in York, hadn’t got a clue what was coming.
The dancers, friends and family were all in position about 45 minutes before Steve lured Faye to St Helen’s Square at 2pm on the premise of meeting a friend for lunch.
At one point it looked like the police might intervene because “the dancers were practising and stopping the traffic.
“My mate had to have a chat with the police and explain what they were doing. The police said ‘we’re going to stay and watch’.”
Steve had kitted out all their friends and family in green bobble hats – it’s Faye’s favourite colour – and he was meant to wear one to identify himself to the London dancers, who had never met him before.
“But Faye said to me ‘you’re not wearing that, you’ll look stupid, leave it at home’,” said Steve.
“I thought they’re not going to recognise me!”
But just as he started panicking three of the dancers stopped Steve and asked him to take their picture – the cue for the start of the flashmob.
The music began and first four, then more, then 20 people emerged from the crowd to do dance routines to (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life, I’m So Excited and Give Me Your Love.
Then it was time for ‘their tune’ – Etta James’ At Last. This was sung live as their closest family and friends, including Faye’s children Finley, eight, and Etta, four, lined up to give Faye 12 photographs representing key moments from her relationship with Steve.
Down on one knee
When the song finished, Steve took the microphone, thanked everyone for coming, went down on one knee – and proposed. A tearful Faye said yes, and the crowd erupted.
“Everything went absolutely perfectly. She was absolutely blown away,” Steve said.
“She said yes in the end, which was a good thing as well!”
Then everyone went to Harkers in the square for the engagement party.
Steve, who has two grown up children, Charlie, 24, and Chloe, 21, said he and Faye are looking to buy a house together in York.
And they’re planning a May 2019 wedding, most likely at the Feversham Arms in Helmsley. It will be a magical day – but it will have to go some to beat Steve’s stunning proposal.
“It was unbelievable. There were about 500 people there. The whole square was full of people – onlookers, tourists from out of the country – all filming.
“Everybody who saw it was amazed. We were in the pub afterwards at the engagement party and strangers were coming in saying ‘I watched it outside and it was just fantastic’.”
All Steve wanted to do was surprise Faye, he said. And as he says: “It’s got me brownie points for the rest of my life!”