I popped question ... and ring popped into Venetian canal
It was an unbelievable split-second disaster during the most important moment in his life that Belfast man Daniel Hendry has said he will never forget.
The 24-year-old said his heart almost stopped and time slowed to a crawl as he watched the glistening engagement ring he had proposed to his girlfriend with only moments earlier bounce and ping across Venetian cobble stones before ending up in one of the Italian city's famous canals.
Only hours earlier, the young Ladbrokes employee was preparing to pop the question to girlfriend Kathryn Tully (24) in one of the world's most romantic cities – the pair's first holiday abroad together.
It was the perfect set-up.
Only days before Valentine's Day, with a few cocktails for "much-needed Dutch courage", and childcare assistant Kathryn's "dream ring" in his pocket, Daniel was ready to pop the big question.
"We were so excited about our trip to Venice, but what Kathryn didn't know was that I had a surprise up my sleeve," he said.
"It was late at night and the streets were empty.
"I figured it would be less embarrassing if she said no and there was no one about.
"We were near our hotel and I thought it's now or never, so as we passed an empty square in a corner of the city I plucked up the courage."
After getting down on one knee, he popped the question – "will you marry me?" – to which his overwhelmed other half responded with a resounding "yes".
But only moments later the pair's joy and happiness turned to tears as they took a romantic stroll along one of Venice's canals to "let it all sink in".
"Just after the glorious moment, as we walked along, the ring slipped off her finger," said Daniel.
"I will never forget that sound. It was total disbelief, my heart almost stopped.
"It then bounced on to a stone step and into the canal."
Despite his valiant attempt to make a dive for the ring, it quickly and unceremoniously disappeared deep into the murky water.
"Kathryn was hysterical, crying and sobbing. I couldn't believe it," he said
"I went to grab it but it was dark and there was no way I was going after it."
After consoling themselves following their dream moment turning to disaster, Daniel bought a cheap, temporary replacement for his wife-to-be.
On their return to Belfast, Daniel forked out hundreds for an identical replacement ring – but he got a discount after telling his heart-breaking tale to staff in the jeweller's.
Despite the calamity the pair have set a date for the big day, and are to tie the knot in July next year.