When Sarah Steel stepped on to her paddleboard with school sweetheart Ruari Dickie, little did she realise the next time she’d set foot on dry land would be as a bride-to-be.
Ruari, 29, popped the question as they floated off the coast of Stonehaven – a gesture that left Sarah, 28, “speechless”.
She said: “After being together for a very long time, everyone has been patiently waiting for the day for him to finally propose.
“He had always said he would do it when nobody was expecting it. Well, he was right – to say I was speechless is an understatement.”
After receiving vouchers for Stonehaven Paddleboarding as a Christmas present, Ruari – who works in the oil and gas industry – decided it would be the perfect experience to ask Sarah to marry him.
He said: “I knew she would never expect it out on the water where it is so peaceful and she would be concentrating on learning to paddle board.
“Stonehaven is also where we have both grown up and got to know each other.”
Dave Jacobs, owner of Stonehaven Paddleboarding, said: “The couple turned up at my paddleboarding hut.
“I ran through a beginner lesson with them, showing them all they needed to have the skills to progress onto touring down the coast. After mastering the basics and with great weather conditions, we started to paddle down the coast towards the Dunnottar Castle, exploring caves and coves on the way.”
Ruari asked Dave to take a couple of pictures of him and Sarah on one board – seemingly to commemorate the fun day.
Dave said: “As I was just about to take the pic, I noticed Ruari was down on one knee facing Sarah and he was reaching for something in his pocket.
“I knew immediately what was happening.
“I have had surprise birthday party sessions and wedding anniversary lessons but this was the first time someone had proposed on a paddleboarding lesson.
“Sarah was speechless and nearly fell off her board.”
The bride-to-be said she was “completely surprised” and loved everything about the unique proposal.
Sarah, who is a swimming and FloatFit instructor in Stonehaven, said: “In Ruari’s words, which were caught on camera, he said ‘If you thought I would bring a diamond out there, you’d be kidding’.
“So he proposed with a Haribo ring in his silver cufflink box and had the real ring sat waiting back onshore for us.
“He had bought a packet of Haribo sweets the night before, which I happily ate away at, clueless of the reason for which they had been purchased. I have since found out he has had the ring for a few months and he has just been waiting for the perfect moment.
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“So if the weather hadn’t been on our side that day, the proposal wouldn’t have happened and we would all still be waiting. We are both so happy and excited.
“We have already started talking about wedding ideas. We are going on holiday in a few weeks’ time so a lot of wedding planning will be done then for sure.
“We can’t thank Dave enough for contributing to our special moment. The day was just perfect.”