When you’ve been going strong as a couple for close to four years, with a dog and a home on 200 acres already in place, it could be a bit tricky to surprise your future wife with a marriage proposal. But Zach Baum managed to pull it off.
“I literally had no idea,” says Moranda Bromberg, who was simultaneously caught off guard and swept off her feet by an unexpected ask on “a random Wednesday” in May (2021), her birthday month and preferred time of year.
“He had been planning this for months and wanted the right weather so that we could do my favorite hike to my favorite location on our property [in Napanoch], the top of a beautiful cliff in the woods,” recalls Bromberg. When they reached the spot, Baum discreetly set his phone on a rock to record the moment, got down on one knee, and presented a ring he had customized with a sparkling citrine stone from his childhood collection of gems. “I asked him to confirm he was actually proposing — multiple times,” says Bromberg.
Sixteen months later, at the edge of the Hudson River on the sweeping, pasture-like grounds of Hutton Brickyards Retreat & Spa in Kingston, the couple exchanged vows beneath a spray of Fall blooms. “It was actually more like a beautiful summer day,” the bride laughs. “82 degrees and sunny.” She says the weather was perfect all weekend long.
In the company of family and friends, and with their best friend officiating, Baum slipped another custom ring onto his bride’s hand; this time, with a deep-blue sapphire from his gem collection and diamonds from her great grandmother’s ring. “A family heirloom from both sides,” notes Bromberg, who felt “classic, yet unique and a little sexy” in a Dan Jones dress with just the right amount of sparkle and less of the bohemian flair she originally envisioned.
At the reception that followed, Uzbek food, a favorite cuisine of the couple, was served. Guests enjoyed plov (a traditional rice dish) and kebabs grilled over hot coals, which made dining “interactive and fun,” says the bride.
A cannabis corner, featuring canned drinks and other dreamy party enhancements, was also a highlight. “I was not expecting it to be as popular as it was, especially with our older family members,” Bromberg says. “It was all gone very quickly.”
The Best Part
As joyfully surprising and memorable as it all was, the best part for the bride was their first look, which the couple shared privately before the ceremony with just their photographer present. They read soulful, vow-filled letters to one another, similar to the letters they write and share annually to commemorate the anniversary of their first date. “We cried big time,” says Bromberg, admitting: “We’re both criers.”
The letter-writing ritual began a decade ago when they met and briefly dated, before splitting up for three years (prior to reconnecting and falling quickly in love). “Zach had never been in a long-term relationship before and he sent me a letter after we broke up saying that he wasn’t sure he knew how to love someone, but he’s glad he had the best teacher,” the bride says. “And that was me.”
She saved that letter and acknowledges it was what inspired her to reach out to Baum after those years apart. “I’m obviously so glad I did.”
And the rest, as they say, is history; with a promising, love-filled future that remains to be written.
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