The 19th of March 2023 was an extremely important day for me as after being almost 4 1/2 years together I decided to pop THE question to Vladi, something that was already in my mind for a long time. As I wanted it to be extremely special it took quite some preparation. With both Vladi and myself being Marillion fans, and as one song in particular (Waiting To Happen) played a significant role during our first date, it was clear to me the proposal should take place at the bi-annual Marillion weekend in Port Zelande, Netherlands. 

My first step was to ask Lucy Jordache, the manager from Marillion, for permission to propose to Vladi on stage, in front of 3.000 people from over 40 different nationalities. It did not take long before I received a big fat ‘Yes’ from her, she even mentioned we could use the big projection screens for the proposal so then I started to think how to make the event extremely special for both Vladi and myself, something we would never forget (As if the location of the proposal itself was not special enough…)

A friend of mine, Marjo Klingenberg, also a Marillion fan, makes fantasic fan-art. She is a brilliant photoshop designer so the right person to ask. She came up with a brilliant design based on the last album cover from Marillion.

The original cover from An Hour Before It’s Dark was edited in the colors of the Dutch and Italian flag. Waiting to Happen, the song title which was crucial to this proposal, and date were added, and as a background the album artwork from Holidays in Eded was used (Waiting To Happen Is on this album). Then the two famous Michelangelo hands (from the Sistene chapel) were included and another reference to a Marillion song was added between the fingers pointing to each other (Trap The Spark), symbolising the spark between the two of us. The design was completed with a subtle rainbow ring. Simply perfect! Not only was this design used at the backdrop projection during the proposal but I also had a pair of T-shirts created with it. I wanted to wear it during the proposal and give one to Vladi after it.

Next were the rings… I knew what I wanted and once again it was another Marillion fan, Karin Hengeveld who also is a goldsmith (carigold), who helped me to create two perfect rings for the occasion. Once again Waiting To Happen appeared on the outside with the date and our names on the inside.

Most difficult was the proposal text, it had to be short but I wanted it to include everything I felt for Vladi. That was done in the first part of the proposal which was in English so everybody in the audience could understand. It had however always been clear to me that the official question would have to be in Vladi’s mother tongue, Italian. I was extremely thankful to Jef Thys, my Italian teacher, to correct my initial proposal so I would not make a fool of myself. I don’t know how often I repeated this sentence in my mind must it must have been hundreds of times at least (I just wanted to be sure not to forget it on the moment itself because of my nerves)…

And then the weekend started. We met so many friends again, enjoyed a great dress party organised by Lucy on Thursday Night followed by two completely different concerts on Friday and Saturday Night. Sunday was the final day of the convention and also the most important day for me (By now Vladi started to guess something). Before the final concert Lucy organized An Audience with Marillion and close to the end of it we were invited on stage. I never doubted a no from Vladi when I would pop the question but I was not 100% sure he would join me on stage, luckily he did. As by then he realised what was going on I asked him to put on the T-shirt backstage instead of after the proposal. Although I was extremely nervous by now all went fine and I received the only answer I wanted to hear. Si, Yes!

(C) Marillion 2023

Next a group picture with Marillion was made, we said our goodbyes to the band and Lucy and we were guided of stage, ready for the final concert, but now as an engaged couple. I could not have been happier! The welcome by our friends and the many congratulations from people in the audience were simply amazing, both of us were in heaven, it was all so surreal. No wonder that somehow I could not fully focus on the concert that followed, my thoughts kept on returning to those magical moments on stage…

I really want to thank everybody involved in this plan to make it the most beautiful day of my life. Lucy (Without whose permission this would not have been possible), Marjo for the background design, Karin for the rings and Jef for correcting my lousy Italian. Everybody who worked backstage to make it happen, Stephanie Bradley, Mark Kennedy. The band for giving us such a heartfelt reaction, Rob Bakelaar for the fantastic collage and pictures. Everybody in the audience for their enthusiasm, tears, pictures and movies sent by so many of you. And last but definitely not least Vladi, for being in my life, being who you are, and for your heartfelt “Si”. I love you!

(For sure I have forgotten some people but you know who you are.)

It was magic, simply magic…