Proposals & Weddings

Proposal Stories: Reef & Sam

Written by Claudia Besant
May 21st, 2024 • 6 min read
under water proposal story

While scuba diving amongst manta rays and other magical marine life in Raja Ampat, an archipelago in Indonesia, Reef presented Sam with her dream engagement ring. This is the story of how he pulled off the ultimate underwater proposal. . .

How It All Started

In December 2014, before the days of dating apps, Reef met Sam by chance in a bar in Milton Keynes. ‘We hit it off straight away, we both felt such a connection, so not pursuing where it might lead would have been dumb,’ said Reef.

While Sam lived and worked in Milton Keynes, Reef didn’t – ‘but we weren't going to let that be a barrier,’ said Reef. ‘For the next 5 years, we travelled back and forth up the motorway to see each other as much as possible. We were determined to make it work.’

They shared a great passion for travel and desire to see the world, and would jump at any opportunity to get away together. Over time, their relationship grew stronger and stronger. When the pandemic hit and the first UK lockdown was announced, Sam happened to be staying with Reef. ‘She never went home, and the long-distance relationship ended and living together started. We always planned to move in together anyway, but from the dark situation, some brightness emerged too,’ remembered Reef.

While family members and close friends were often asking when Reef and Sam were finally going to get married, Reef said that it just wasn’t something they were contemplating: ‘I knew Sam and I would be together forever, but I didn’t feel the draw toward marriage. Then, one day in early 2023, I thought how nice it would be to seal our relationship and refer to Sam as my wife. That feeling grew inside me, and I knew that this was the course I should follow – so I decided, I’m going to ask her.’

Couple make heart shape together with their arms against beautiful backdrop

The Proposal

When Reef first met Sam, she was (understandably) very nervous about the sea and what lay beneath, only ever letting the water go just above her knees. On the other hand, Reef had been scuba diving for some time and encouraged Sam to put her head under the water and look around – she might just be amazed at what she saw. Not being one to refuse a challenge, Sam did exactly that. The next thing they knew, Sam had found a training facility and swiftly completed her PADI certification. Reef remarks that, ‘From then on, not only could we enjoy seeing the world together above ground, but we could see the wonders of the ocean together too.’

When deciding where to propose, Reef immediately thought of the diving trip they had planned for November 2023. The location felt really special, with a transit time of about 32 hours to their destination of Raja Ampat or ‘The Four Kings’, an archipelago located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s southwest Papua province. As part of the Coral Triangle, it’s an environment rich with marine biodiversity and is truly breathtaking (we recommend giving it a Google if you’re curious).

The couple had planned to spend the trip with a group of friends from around the globe, though none knew of Reef’s proposal plan. With ten days of endless exhilarating dives, Reef envisioned proposing to Sam underwater surrounded by their friends and incredible marine life. But it being his first time to the location, he didn’t know which dive site to choose. In preparation, he told two close friends, and avid underwater photographers, on the trip of his plan and asked them to help capture the moment. But he still wasn’t sure which dive would be the one.

Until they reached Magic Mountain: ‘halfway through the dive, the fish cleared around Sam and me, the water was calm, no currents or drifts, and Sam looked over to me. I couldn’t alert my photographer friends, but I had to take the opportunity, it was perfect.’

‘Sam was looking at me with curiosity as I scrambled through my pockets to find the ring,’ said Reef. ‘I clasped it between my fingers and put my arm towards her. She looked at me blankly. But then she realised. Despite a regulator in her mouth and a mask over her face, I could see her light up. Then tears emerged in her mask as she nodded vigorously and embraced me.’

‘They were happy tears of course,’ said Sam. ‘The funniest thing was me trying to give Reef the ring back as I was paranoid about dropping it as it was a bit big, but also trying to explain it without speaking and him thinking I was refusing – it was a bit of a challenge. I just couldn’t wait to get above water to give him a big kiss! By the time we got back to the main boat, word had spread and all the staff and guests were waiting for us and gave a big cheer.’

Luckily, Reef’s photographer friends had realised what was happening and were able to capture the magical moment. Reef remarked, ‘We didn’t see much for the rest of the dive, apart from each other – embracing, dancing, weightless and submerged in such glorious surroundings. We were ecstatic.’

Man proposes to surprised woman while scuba diving

The Engagement Ring

Reef had definitely done his research before he decided to purchase an engagement ring from Queensmith. He already knew Sam’s ring size, that she was interested in a scallop diamond band, but that he wanted a focal point to the ring and a natural stone. ‘I read a lot about diamonds and companies that specialise in engagement rings,’ said Reef. ‘I stumbled across an article about the best places in the UK for engagement rings and within that short list was Queensmith. I looked closely at every business on that list, but Queensmith stood out to me. I read pretty much everything on their website: advice and guidance, the designers, their ethos, and I knew that's where I wanted to get my ring for Sam.’

Having spent close to a month searching for the perfect diamond – looking at the details, the clarity, all the attributes and characteristics – Reef found the one he wanted on Queensmith's website. ‘I was originally expecting to design the ring myself,’ remarked Reef, ‘but I also found the ideal setting to what I had imagined: the Velez Scallop Engagement Ring in Platinum.’

Queensmith Velez Scallop Engagement Ring in Platinum

With the engagement ring set to arrive before the couple’s trip, Reef started to worry about taking such a small, precious and special item so far across the world, all while hiding it from Sam. His under water proposal plan also added an element of danger – ‘What if something goes wrong, what if I drop it, what if Sam drops it, it's lost in the depths forever? That would be such an anticlimax and not the amazing experience I was planning.’ His solution? He would take a fake ring with him on dives. ‘If it’s dropped and lost, so be it. If Sam says yes, then the real one will go on her finger swiftly.’

When Sam did receive the real engagement ring, it was everything she had imagined: ‘It’s absolutely perfect. I sit and stare at it all the time and get so many comments on how sparkly it is. I love the shape – it’s so unique, not something I’d ever seen before. I just love it. My man did awesome!’

When asked about their experience with Queensmith, the couple were kind enough to share their thoughts:

‘Queensmith are an incredible company, extremely professional, talented and a wonderful team who go to extremes to ensure everything is perfect and give such a personal approach. I would definitely recommend everyone embarking on this journey to make contact, you'll be in good hands’, said Reef.

‘I’ve been to both shops now and everyone is so friendly. The tour was really interesting and the staff very knowledgeable. I can definitely see why Reef chose Queensmith,’ shared Sam.

As one of the most unique proposal stories we’ve had the pleasure of telling, we’re so happy to have been involved in helping Reef and Sam find their dream engagement ring. We wish the couple the best of luck with their wedding plans, and while nothing is set in stone yet, they have assured us it will not be an underwater wedding.

Couple kiss under water after proposal
Couple pose after getting engaged underwater

Create the Perfect Engagement Ring

If you’re feeling inspired to create a bespoke engagement ring, we’re here to help. Whether you’d like a little more information or know exactly what you want, just drop us a message and we'll get back to you.

At Queensmith, we create our rings from scratch, allowing you the opportunity to create the perfect setting for the diamond you choose. It’ll be tailor made to the specificities of your diamond, and with your personal design details in mind. Whether you want to create something totally original, or recreate one of our classic designs, we’ll be able to help you iron out the details, find the best diamond, and craft your unique engagement ring in 2 to 4 weeks.

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