Poonam and Kiranjit
Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
They met in 2010 when she joined Bhangra Empire. They rest, as they say, was history.
It’s so funny how things turn out. After they met, they realized they had crossed paths several times before.
Poonam: In 2006 we were both dancing in college and I was standing behind him at a bhangra competition waiting for a photo with Malkit Singh. Kiranjit got the last photo.
We came to know that I was standing right behind him in line that night, years later! I’m the girl right behind him in his photo with Malkit Singh. Call it serendipity.
Kiranjit, how did you get the ball rolling on the proposal?
Before planning the proposal, I flew to LA to ask for Poonam’s hand from her parents. Then I started working on the ring, which I decided to buy in LA, and I picked it up the day before the proposal – so the whole time I was kinda worried, “what if the ring isn’t ready in time?”.
How did you come up with this idea?
I had several ideas about how to propose – including Disneyland. Poonam is a BIG Disney fan – she goes to Disneyland every year – so it was the best option. And since she hadn’t been yet that year yet it was perfect. I also wanted to do something original and there had never been an elaborate proposal inside Disneyland, that I could find.
Poonam thought you were out of town that day. What was the backstory?
I wanted to make it a total surprise, so I told Poonam I was going to London on business. I work for Facebook and travel often for work anyway, so it was a plausible story.
I was actually assigned to Facebook’s Vancouver office and was there a couple days before the proposal. But Poonam thought I was in London. Just to cover all my bases I Facetimed with her from my hotel room – trying to make it convincing that I was in London.
On the morning of the proposal I was at Disneyland setting up, and I had my cousin who lives in London check-in on Facebook – just to keep throwing her off. Only thing is…Poonam saw that check in when she was on her way to Disneyland and she called me wanting to chat with my cousin. Needless to say, I didn’t answer her call!
Poonam arrived to the park with her sister. She had no idea that 50 of our family and friends had arrived earlier and were setting up the whole thing.
When Poonam got to to the Castle:
Poonam’s sister: “do you trust me?” (while blindfolding Poonam)
Poonam: “no” (thinking she had some plan to sneak onto rides)
Poonam: When I took the blindfold off and saw my parents, relatives and friends from all over the world I was stunned. And of course I realized something was up. Then my sister handed me an iPad and I thought, “My god this jerk is going to propose to me over Skype?? I still had no idea Kiranjit was there!
It was not Skype on the iPad but a video that Kiranjt had made chronicling our story. The last clip was me walking into Disneyland and it said, “what will happen next?” And that’s when the dance started. And, I was blown away!
Kiranjit, how did you plan all of this?
As I mentioned, I was in Vancouver managing Facebook’s office there. The distance added some complexity to planning. I couldn’t have done it without the overwhelming support of our friends and family. Two days before the proposal I went to Disneyland with a friend to scope it out and figure out where to do the proposal. We took our speakers and played music pretty loud to see whether people would complain or not. We decided to do the flash mob in front of the Castle and looked up the timings of the parades.
Poonam: Afterwards I was like, “you went to Disneyland and you didn’t even go any rides?!”
What were the logistics of organizing this?
1. Get our 50 family and friends into the park and set up before Poonam arrived
2. Get our props into the park
3. Clear the space in front of the Castle so we could dance
4. Get Poonam to Cinderella’s Castle
Poonam’s sister picked her up and stalled their arrival to the park, as the rest of us were on our way there and needed time to get in the park and set up.
Poonam: My sister got me to wear a dress by telling me we were going to the Princess Tea Party which usually costs a small fortune, and usually requires a hook up to get tickets. I was so excited for the Princess Tea Party!
Kiranjit: Surprisingly our props were fine except the hula hoop ring. We ended up putting it in a stroller and covering it to get it through security.
Kiranjit: As for getting the space in front of the Castle, the other guests and staff were SO supportive, nice, and helpful, it wasn’t an issue. We told people what we were doing and they were happy to clear the way. The Disney staff photographer even volunteered to shoot photos for us!
As for getting Poonam to the Castle – well that was a whole other complication. She goes to Disneyland so often, she has a set itinerary! She always goes to Adventureland first so convincing her to get to the Castle was a whole other issue! Luckily she believed the Tea Party story.
How did you make all the arrangements at Disneyland?
That wasn’t easy. I contacted their corporate/park relations department and they responded mostly with rules and things we couldn’t do. Poonam’s sister and I were determined, though, and luckily (with lots of help from friends and family) we were able to organize everything.
Who were all the people in the dance?
The flashmob was choreographed and performed by Bhangra Empire, with a few special cameos. Our friends on the team drove down from the Bay Area late on Saturday night and we were up until about 3am, practicing the dance and getting everything ready. The support and help was incredible. From fine tuning counts of choreography, to building a life sized ring, to putting on GoPros to capture the memories, and capturing the “money shot”, our friends helped bring the dance to life. And, one of our friends volunteered her home in Anaheim to host the whole team. We are so blessed to have such incredible people in our lives.
What was the most challenging part about planning this?
Keeping it a secret from Poonam! Especially with people posting on Facebook, Snapchat etc.
Poonam what was going through your mind through all of this?
I was just shocked. I come from a big family and it’s really hard to get all of us together at the same time, in one place. Seeing them all there made my day. As everything started to unfold I realized how much effort effort everyone put forth for us. KJ’s brother came all the way from Detroit, and had a flight back later the same day. KJ also had family from Canada – who literally gave him the shirt off his back so that KJ had a pink shirt to wear that day. My sister and cousins spent the weekend helping KJ pull it all off. Our friends from the Bay drove over 700 miles in 24 hours, and even stayed after the proposal so we could go on all the rides together! (You really have to understand how much I love Disney to understand how special that last part is.)
My mom and massi made flower arrangements. My brother-in-law arranged lunch for everyone at Downtown Disney. And, of course, KJ planned a proposal beyond words.#Disneyland, #Disney
You might enjoy this post too. Their reception theme was
“bhangra competition, w/o the competition”