When New York groom Danny Rios learned that his girlfriend, Nicole, had developed lupus, he knew wedding planning would be tough for her. Lupus, an inflammatory immune system condition, is intensified by stress—aka not good for someone planning a wedding. So instead of putting any further stress on his love, Danny surprised his wife-to-be with a surprise engagement and wedding—all in one night.
The groom spent over five months planning in order to both propose to Nicole and marry her in a two-hour timespan, as well as keep it a surprise for the bride-to-be. “I give women so much credit for all the planning they do for weddings,” the groom told ABC News. “I kind of turned into a ‘bridezilla’ during it.”
He added, “Nicole kept on saying how she wanted to have people over for an engagement party and then surprise them with a wedding, so I knew she was okay with a wedding in the backyard. I know it’s a battle with her illness already and when anything comes up she gets stressed out about it.”
And he delivered: Danny picked out the engagement rings and wedding bands on his own and had the bride's mother help him pick out her wedding dress. To be safe, the sneaky duo bought the chosen dress in two different sizes and had both altered to fit Nicole's mother, who is the same height.
As the big day approached, Danny went into overdrive to prepare for the celebration. He planned a trip for himself and his bride just before the wedding, asking his parents to come stay at his house and prep for the ceremony and reception. He kept everything top secret, storing all of the details and paperwork in a safe in the house.
“I wrote down what had to be done and I said, ‘I don’t care what anyone says, what’s on this paper is what has to be done. It’s gold,’” Danny said.
On the big day, December 8, Danny and Nicole arrived at their New York home, where Nicole was shocked to see all of her closest family and friends waiting for her in their backyard—which was perfectly decorated for a wedding.
“I didn’t think we’d even be getting engaged for at least a year,” Nicole said. “I was ready to get in my pajamas... I didn’t think this was going to happen.”
She recalled, “Danny said, 'You know how much I love you and if you want we can do this tonight. All of our closest friends and family are here.' He told me to turn around and a dress and tux were hanging there.”
The bride and groom were married within two hours of their engagement, with no toll on the bride's health. In fact, judging by that bridal glow, we'd say weddings might just be the best medicine.