For Shawn Wright, proposing to his fiancée on a beach, under a full moon, on a surprise trip to Spain, just wasn't enough of a fairy tale romance.  

The ring he gave Maylynn Stephenson a year ago in Spain was a stand-in ring, a substitute for her to wear while he saved up enough for the real one.

But once he secured the real ring, he decided he couldn't simply hand it to her. The new ring also had to have its own special flare.

"I thought it would be really unique to be able to, kind of, enchant it by putting it up 100,000 feet," Wright told CBC News.

Shawn Wright and Maylynn Stephenson

Shawn Wright and his fiancée, Maylynn Stephenson, have known each other for about two decades but have been dating for the last six years and two months. (Shawn Wright/Facebook)

The launch

So he rigged up the ring, wire-bound to a spatula, with a GoPro camera and a GPS unit, and after hours of research, he launched it all, attached to a high-altitude weather balloon.

"In the ring video, you'll see me launch the balloon. And then you'll see the sun rise, behind the ring, through the three minutes, and you'll see the sun turn from orange to white as it gets higher in the atmosphere," he said.  

The balloon took the ring into the earth's stratosphere, technically only "near space" he says, just over 30 kilometres into the sky.

Despite meticulous flight planning, Wright was briefly confronted with the possibility that the ring would land south of the border.

Luckily, a jet stream caught the payload as it fell back to earth and it landed roughly 300 kilometres from their home in Calgary, putting it just outside of Taber, Alta. 

The big reveal

Meanwhile, with the months of planning to pull the whole thing off, Stephenson was none the wiser. Wright made up a series of fictitious work engagements that kept him away from home.

In order to show her what he had done, he gave her a wooden chest with a laptop inside that showed the ring's high-flying adventure.

"She knew I was saving up for the real ring, obviously. But she never expected for me to do anything, maybe just re-propose with it, but not to do anything like that. So, it really blew her mind and she was really excited," he said. 

Stephenson was floored by the gesture but admits she is glad she didn't know about it before it happened. 

"I probably would have freaked out a bit," she said. 

"It was definitely fantastic. Mind blowing. Completely off my radar. I didn't see it coming at all," Stephenson told The Calgary Eyeopener.

Wright explained that the whole thing was worth it, even the risk of losing the ring. Wright, at the ripe age of 29, has known Stephenson for about two decades. Just over six years ago they reconnected on Facebook and started dating. 

"So when I wanted her to get the ring and wear it, I wanted her to know it's completely unique and special, like she is to me."

Shawn Wright

Shawn Wright kept the ring's travels close to his chest. The only person he told was his father, who helped him launch the high-altitude weather balloon. (Shawn Wright/Facebook)