Matt Leyden would propose to Andrea Olsen at the sunflower vendor at the farmers' market because the woman he loves, loves sunflowers.
"I hate flowers," she said. "I only like sunflowers."
Another option would have been the sunflower fields – but that was too cliché, he said. No, for this Baltimore couple of ten months, the farmers' market would do.
"This is a very Baltimore thing," Leyden said. "We're semi-regulars."
Days beforehand, he worried his girlfriend, an immigration attorney, was onto him. Olsen, 29, just had her nails painted blue – did she know something was up? ('That had nothing to do with it,' she said later.)
A bridge engineer, he'd orchestrated an elaborate setup. One friend was hiding behind the granola stand, ready to take video. His fraternity brother was posing as a sunflower salesperson. He'd even bought her some French fries. That was the plan. While Olsen was buying sunflowers, Leyden would ask her if she wanted a French fry – then propose instead.
"She's obsessed with French fries," he said.
But she said no – she didn't want a French fry.
"That kind of backfired."
And then she turned around and realized what he was doing.
The couple – reached leaving the farmers' market Sunday just a few minutes after the proposal, after a crowd had gathered and a Baltimore City Councilman had posted a picture to Twitter – said it was too early to talk dates, wedding plans, and gift registry.