With an engagement ring "burning a hole" in his pocket, PJ Bruno delivered a marriage proposal to his longtime girlfriend, Jaz Zepatos, while the New York couple was quarantined at his parents' house in Delaware. What made the proposal extra special was that Bruno secretly invited family and friends to participate in realtime via Google Hangouts.
While they were still in New York, Bruno had devised an elaborate ruse where his girlfriend — a social media specialist and actress — would be invited to a fake audition. After a series of failed scenes and frustrating takes, Bruno would swoop in with an engagement ring.
When that strategy had to be scrapped because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bruno switched to Plan B. On Instagram, Bruno explained, "Quarantine engagement. When that ring is burning a hole in your pocket."
A 3:45 video posted to Instagram shows how Bruno initially serenades his girlfriend with his cover of Chicago's 1984 hit, "You're the Inspiration." As Bruno plays the guitar and sings, Zepatos can be heard harmonizing in the background.
Then Zepatos reenters the scene and Bruno hugs her from behind. He tells her that in this time of uncertainty, there's one thing she can count on.
"I just want you to know that, no matter what happens, I'm always gonna be here for you," he says.
Then she turns to face him and he says, "And I'm always gonna be in your future."
At that point, he pulls out a ring box and goes down on one knee and asks her to marry him.
Zepatos says, "Yes," and she jumps into his arms.
What Zepatos didn't realize is that a laptop was aimed at the action and a virtual crowd was watching via Google Hangouts. Bruno had sent out a Google Calandar invitation, providing the time, date and a short description of what they were going to see. Bruno's mom added action footage with her iPad.
Zepatos looked at the laptop and was thrilled to see that her parents and others were watching remotely. The bride-to-be could hardly hold back the tears as each Hangout participant took a moment to congratulate the couple.
Through all the excitement, Bruno forgot to put the ring on Zepatos' finger.
Bruno obliges and Zepatos proudly aims her newly adorned ring finger at the laptop's camera.
"Look at all these people that I love," she says.
In her Instagram post, Zepatos wrote, "In the midst of global chaos, PJ managed to find a way to gather our closest friends and family to create one of the most magical moments of my life. Thank you to everyone who took part in our special day from the safety of your homes. We love you so much. When this is all over we're going to hug and cheers and laugh together."
The newly engaged couple told Insider.com that they've gotten a lot of positive feedback from people hungry for some good news during the pandemic.
"[The video] is putting a smile on people's faces and letting them take their minds off of everything else in the news right now," Zepatos said.
"I think the big takeaway isn't 'Look at Jaz and PJ,' as much as 'Let's connect with our loved ones now and always remember that it's a priority in our lives,'" added Bruno.
The couple is planning an August 2021 wedding.
Check out the couple's video on Zepatos' Instagram page...
Credits: Image and screen captures via Instagram.com/jazzepatos.