Man surprises girlfriend with chalk-art wedding proposal at Piedmont Park

Atlanta resident Jesse Whalen recently got creative when his original proposal plans were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cincinnati native had initially planned to propose to girlfriend Raina Penkar during March Madness, 11Alive reported. The couple's families would have been in town during the NCAA tournament. But the coronavirus pandemic meant the competition was canceled — that effectively nixed Whalen's plans, too.

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But Whalen had another idea that could involve the family with social distancing in place. 11Alive reported he reached out to a chalk artist who illustrated flowers with a blue heart between them and a ribbon underneath. It read, “Raina, will you marry me?”

Penkar accepted the proposal in front of the couple’s family members and shared the news on her Facebook page.

“Best weekend ever! Can’t wait to spend forever together!” she wrote in the May 4 post.

Since then, the couple has been flooded with hundreds of congratulatory comments and reactions.

"Thank you everyone for your warm wishes, love, and support! We are very excited and hope to celebrate with everyone soon!" Penkar wrote in a comment.

Whalen commented, "Thank you everyone for the kind notes, they were awesome to read. We are excited for the next chapter of our lives and to start planning the big party!"

The couple, who plans to marry next year, initially met online.

“It’s somewhat unique,” Whalen told 11Alive of their dating history. “Through the traditional social media way. We met through a dating app. I think at first she wasn’t taking it seriously, but something kept me intrigued, six months later, we decided that we wanted more than a friendship.”

Sharing that three friends’ weddings got canceled this year, Whalen said he and his fiance have already discussed their wedding date: July 24, 2021.

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