It was difficult to miss Rob Scwertly’s ad in Saturday’s Seattle Times. Taking up the full page, it was simple and bold, reading: “Brianna, Will you marry me? Love, Robbie.”
Schwertly knew he wanted to propose to Briana Johnson for months; the planning part of his project had been weeks in the making.
“I put a little bit of pressure on myself just to be creative about it,” Schwertly said. “Like the really grand proposals on the scoreboard at the baseball game or something.”
The answer lay closer to Rob’s heart and workplace.
“[Briana and I] both like to read a lot,” he said. “Books, newspapers . . . and we’re really into preserving things.”
Schwertly works in the advertising sales department of the Seattle Times and started talking to his boss about taking out an ad for Valentine’s Day.
“I asked my boss about it who asked her boss and his boss and it just went up really quickly,” he said. “I think people were really helpful and wanted to be a part of the special moment.”
Johnson was the only person in mind as he created the ad.
“I thought about every detail of it – the front, the background, the border and all that,” he said. “I was thinking more about that than thinking about all the other people that would see it.”
For the big moment, he took Johnson to Willows Lodge in Woodinville and planned out the morning where it would be just the two of them –no phone, reading the paper on a Valentine’s Day morning.
“She read the section but didn’t actually flip to the very back,” he said. “I was nervously reading the sports section looking over to see.” Eventually, he had to pick it up himself and flip it over.
Schwertly asked Johnson if she was sure she was done with the section.
When Johnson looked down and saw the ad, she thought it was cute that somebody proposed in the paper. Then, she recognized the names.
“He came around, got down on one knee and had lots of wonderful romantic things to say and asked me,” she said. “I said yes. We were both crying.”
Some people were in on the secret. Schwertly had taken Johnson’s parents out to lunch a couple weeks prior to the proposal and asked for her hand in marriage.
On Valentine’s morning, the family started collecting the archive.
“My mom just needed something to do so she went to Starbucks and bought up all their papers,” Johnson said.
The couple met last January after connecting online and have yet to set a wedding date.