When Ray Smith learned in June that his girlfriend, Claire Bramley, was pregnant, he set in motion a five-month labor of love during which he amassed a gallery of 148 selfies, each with a secret "Will you marry me?" message somewhere in the frame.
Although she's seen smiling in many of the photos, Bramley remained blissfully unaware of Smith's daily marriage proposals, which started on July 31 and ran through Christmas Day.
Bradley believed Smith's daily selfie routine was meant to document her pregnancy. "He told me he was taking the pictures to create memories for the baby so I just let him get on with it," Bramley told the Mirror.
The 38-year-old fish delivery driver from Grimsby, a coastal town about 200 miles north of London, turned to the Internet to learn about the best proposal ideas. He was impressed by the flash mobs, but decided on something much more personal.
"I have been planning to propose for a while and I knew I wanted to do something romantic," he told the Mirror, "so I originally thought about popping the question in a hot air balloon."
The high-flying idea was tabled after he learned the exciting news that Bramley, a 33-year-old teacher, was expecting.
That's when he came up with an original idea to take a picture every day for five months. In some photos, the proposal is subtly tucked in Smith's hand, while in other shots it's stuck to his forehead or lit up on a large-screen TV.
To maintain the ruse, Smith often took multiple shots, one with the proposal in view and a second without, just in case she wanted to see the shot.
By Christmas Day, Smith had edited his daily work into a four-minute video and he was ready to propose for real. He invited Bramley to view something very special on his laptop computer.
Set to the music of Ryan Huston, the video starts with a title frame that states, "I love you Claire Bramley and I love every second with you." The captions go on to explain that every day since July 31 he's been wondering how, where and when he should ask her the most important question in the world. And that question is... Will you marry me?
Of course, that special phrase is communicated in the video by 148 selfies, each in chronological order.
He ends the presentation with this request: "I love you and would like to ask if you could end a perfect year. And join me in 2016 planning our wedding together, Claire. Will you marry me?"
"I said yes straight away," she told the Mirror. "I didn't need to think about it. I got a bit emotional, but I am pregnant after all." The couple is preparing for a spring 2017 wedding.
Check out Smith's innovative five-month-long selfie proposal below...
Credits: Screen captures via YouTube. Facebook/Claire Bramley