You may remember an engagement story that went viral back in the day before we really knew what “going viral” meant. It was a proposal, some call it the most elaborate proposal ever, nicknamed, “Remember The Ritz”, which was captured by photographer Ross Oscar Knight.
The proposal was elaborately staged and planned by Robert Gray Jr. to surprise his girlfriend, Keisha Williams. Robert and Keisha met four years ago at a surprise birthday party for a mutual friend. Two months later Keisha received anonymous flowers with a subtle message attached. It was an additional month before Robert revealed himself as her secret admirer. Robert is a native of Atlanta and Keisha hails from LaGrange, GA.
Gray rented 10 rooms at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, and filled them with rose petals, candles, and music.
Gray, who was known to be frugal, decided to live with his sister for nearly a year to save up for the proposal (talk about dedication!).
To cap off his signature engagement plans, Robert had the engagement ring custom made to ensure that the symbol of his love for her was as unique as she was. On the day the jeweler called for permission to pour the platinum, Keisha became frustrated with his evasiveness and complained, “You know what? You’re not romantic enough.” (yes, really, that happened)
As Gray led Williams to each room, friends and family were waiting with well wishes and prayers, all leading up to his proposal.
A slide show of Knight’s pictures of the moving event was viewed by literally millions of people around the world and crashed several sites linking to it, the photographer said.
“I immediately started getting calls from all over the world,” Knight said. “We got an extra phone line because so many calls were coming in.”
Not only were people touched, but many also wanted to have their engagements documented, Knight said.
Here’s How It All Went Down
“God was testing my faith by giving me such an elaborate idea,” Robert says. “I went ahead with my plans because I wanted her to know that even though I’m usually cheap, she has access to all of me in every way,” he explained.
He went about planning for their engagement in secret, attending to the most minute details.
Fifty of their closest friends and family were invited to take part in the surprise engagement ceremony. He booked 10 hotel rooms at the Ritz Carlton for April 28, 2007.
He would place members of his family and friends in selected rooms and allow them to speak blessings over their impending union.
He prepared scripts for everyone to read with quotes and scriptures from a book called Married For Life and he even scented the stationary himself by placing scented oil inside a drawer in his entertainment center along with the stationary, checking it every few days for four months to be sure that the aroma was just right.
He ordered 12 roses dipped in gold as a tribute to the story of King Solomon in the Bible who prepared his temple for God by overlaying it with pure gold. He also ordered 400 long stemmed roses and countless rose petals and candles to place in each of the hotel rooms.
By the time she reached the third room and saw her childhood best friend and her husband, she burst into tears at the realization of all that Robert had done for her.
“God you are so wonderful to me!” her spirit exclaimed. “I can’t believe how you blessed me! I am so undeserving of all of this.” All of the years of honoring God and trusting Him to bring about His divine will for her life had resulted in a miraculous union.
Room by room she greeted the individuals who had blessed her life:
her Bible study group
her college girlfriends
her cousin and her husband
her friends Gavon and Tesha
Robert’s best friend and his wife
Each room, decorated with roses and soft candles set the perfect scene for her introduction to life as Robert’s wife.
Upon entering the final room, she felt as though someone had knocked the breath out of her when her feet fell upon a path of rose petals illuminated by candles leading up to a throne.
At the end of the night, Robert read a personal note about his views on the importance of marriage. He then…