ROCKPORT, Mass. — When Anneke Sharp and boyfriend Eric Beaulieu visited this small coastal community's downtown Christmas tree display, she thought they were going to take fun photos for a holiday card, dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
So when corpulently costumed Santa got down on one knee and pulled out a tiny green ring box, Sharp stood silent for about a minute in disbelief in her upturned red footwear sporting the iconic Santa buckle.
That was a long time for Beaulieu, 23, a firefighter-paramedic, who waited nervously for her reply after secretly planning to surprise her this Christmas season.
“I popped the question and she was shocked and at a loss for words — and then she said, 'Yes,'” he related. “In that time, I was thinking, ‘you can say yes at any minute,’ and then there was cheers from the onlookers when she did.”
Sharp said the Sunday evening proposal was totally unexpected. The couple had dressed up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the annual fire department's holiday children’s party, which got Beaulieu thinking about the perfect setting to propose.
“We’re both big Christmas people and I thought what better way to do it than dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus,” said Beaulieu.
Sharp said she was "very excited" once she realized her boyfriend's intentions. "I don't think it has fully sunk in yet," she added. "I must have looked at him like six times, wondering is this real."
Having worked in the bridal industry for years, Sharp said it’s exciting for this phase to happen to her, especially since the Christmas season is her favorite time of the year.
So is there a Yuletide wedding in the future?
“It definitely would make sense for us,” Beaulieu said. “But at this time we are just new to the idea and we’ll see how it all plays out.”
Gail McCarthy is a writer with the Gloucester, Mass., Daily News.