http://paloaltoonline.com/print/story/print/2006/02/08/proposal-silicon-valley-style


Palo Alto Weekly

- February 8, 2006

Proposal Silicon Valley-style

Commitment-phobic bachelor makes the leap using high tech

by Rachel Hill

When conjuring up the ideal way to pop the question, many men struggle with developing the perfect romantic setting or finding the right words. But when Palo Alto native Dave Garr asked his girlfriend Elizabeth Pearson to become his life partner, he employed a Silicon Valley approach.

Garr used HTML to spell out his love, creating a 10-page Web site, DaveLovesElizabeth.com, as part of an elaborate proposal plan.

In a parody of the online dating service eharmony.com, Garr added a quirky picture of himself and whimsical quotes and rhymes to express his love for Pearson.

He created a slideshow of their relationship and developed a Google map of the significant places they've visited together; including where the couple first met and their first date. And a mock hip-hop video with Garr spoofing as "LL Cool Dave," has him dressed in funky garb and rapping.

Garr, the director of Internet marketing for PalmSource in Sunnyvale, took four months and dozens of hours to complete the site, he said. To hide his efforts, he told Pearson he was working on a birthday surprise, but after her birthday came and went, he referred to his undercover work as "the project." It took him longer than expected, causing his parents, to say "That's enough, just ask her," he said.

Garr, 44, was a commitment-phobic bachelor, according to his friends and family. But he was propelled to ask Pearson to marry him after a medical scare. The experience made him "realize that I loved her so much and didn't want to live life without her. It hit me so hard. We'd been dating for almost a year and I really didn't have any doubt throughout that year, and that had never happened to me before in a relationship," he said.

He took Pearson to lunch at Palo Alto's University Café, where they'd had their first date. Meanwhile, Pearson's 91-year-old grandfather, her parents, Scott and Sandra Pearson, and Garr's parents Rex and Ann Garr paraded down University Avenue, carrying a long oversized banner emblazoned with the proposal Web site address. The sign created "quite a stir," Sandra Pearson, former principal of Palo Alto High School said. Eventually, they created enough attention to catch Elizabeth's eyes.

"People started looking around and eventually, the stir began inside the café. Elizabeth, whose back was to the front, eventually turned around, stood up and gasped," her mother, Sandra said. "People inside began clapping. It was clear by then that this was part of an unusual proposal."

Pearson was whisked off to their church, where a computer with Internet service set up. She viewed the elaborate Web site Garr created to propose. At the end of her cyber journey, she received instructions to meet Garr in a special place in Palo Alto where he proposed to her in person.

Pearson isn't bothered by their public display of affection on the net. She loved being able to recapture the moments of the proposal. "I love that we have this thing that we can always go back to and refer to it; and it encompasses so much of our relationship and people can see," she said. The couple will marry on Feb. 18 and plan to honeymoon in Hawaii.

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