Hot Air Balloon Proposal Sets Hearts Aglow Across SoCal

Hot Air Balloon Proposal Sets Hearts Aglow Across SoCal

On the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival weekend, a determined Newport Beach man and balloon company made his plans take ?ight.

Ashley Ludwig, Patch Staff

Posted Fri, May 24, 2024 at 2:25 pm PTUpdated Fri, May 24, 2024 at 7:45 pm PT

She said yes! A happy couple from Newport Beach celebrate their engagement after landing a hot air balloon proposal from above Temecula Valley Wine Country. (Photo: Uncorked Tours)

TEMECULA, CA—A hot air balloon proposal kicked off the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival weekend for a pair of Orange County lovebirds. After a handful of flight cancellations, Uncorked Tours had to be creative to ensure the couple finally took flight for the proposal of a lifetime.


For weeks, Newport Beach resident Nassif Uribe had planned the perfect proposal for his true love, Nicole Galkin. He booked a proposal package from Temecula's Uncorked Tours and worked with a balloon concierge who would assist with the moment, recording the aloft proposal live and through photographs that the couple could keep forever.

There was just one problem: the May gray weather would not cooperate for a hot air balloon launch

The newest balloon of the Uncorked Balloon Tours in Temecula. (Photo: Scott Padgett for Patch).

"I had scheduled the balloon flight and the proposal but had gotten canceled

due to weather," Uribe told Patch. He had the reservation at the romantic Ponte Vineyard Inn in Temecula, the ring, and a plan.

"I had a special rose with a ring box inside, hidden inside a dozen red roses, but with the marine layer, a flight was impossible," Uribe said.

With seemingly no break in the heavy fog mornings, the balloon pilot had an idea, according to reservation specialist Shaylynn Stucker.

With the company planning to launch its largest balloon tethered on May 17, the day before the Balloon and Wine Festival, perhaps they could do something special for the couple. Due to the weather, all flights were canceled. The pilot and company offered Uribe the maiden voyage for his proposal from the tethered balloon on that day.

"It would be just about as good as the real thing," she told Patch.

She said, "Yes." (Photo: Uncorked Tours)

That day was the couple's anniversary, much to everyone's surprise. "It was meant to be," according to Uribe.

When Uncorked Tours does a proposal package for a couple, they go all out.

A team on the ground unfurls a large banner after the balloon takes flight, and the bride-to-be is distracted in another direction until all systems are go.

The Marry Me? Banner unfurled, and the rest was history. (Photo: Scott Padgett for Patch)

"Due to the day, it was a little different," Stuckert said. "We pulled out the 'Marry Me' banner, and he proposed while the balloon was launching. We added the in-flight photography and recorded the proposal as the balloon went up."

Uribe handed his love her flower bouquet and pulled the stem with the hidden ring from the bunch.

Temecula, CA

The happy couple. (Photo: Uncorked Tours)

"It was gorgeous," she said. "He held out the long-stem roses, got down on his knee, and asked her to marry him."

She said "yes" in every language.

"She's Russian, and I'm Latino," he said. "Her first answer was 'da!' Everyone heard, but they weren't sure. Then, she said 'si!' and then 'yes!'"

By the end of the proposal, everyone was crying, according to Uribe.

"You could see and feel the love," she said. "We couldn't stop smiling. The way he talked with her, calling her 'Mi amor,' it was bliss."

Balloon pilot, Megan, loves to see couples express their love while aloft, and it was even more memorable in the new balloon. Of the proposal, she told Patch that "it was a beautiful and memorable occasion to commemorate the maiden voyage of our new hot air balloon, marked by an extraordinary expression of love."

Even tethered balloon rides are exhilarating. Especially when there's a wedding proposal in the mix. (Uncorked Tours Photo).

Will the happy couple return to Temecula for their wedding? There are many plans to iron out with family across the globe, Uribe said, but he has fallen in

love with Southern California wine country as so many visitors do.

(Photo Credit: Scott Padgett for Patch)

"It's magic what happened there," Uribe said. "We come from a different world in Newport... out in Temecula, it was so peaceful, drinking wine and all the harmony at the Ponte Vineyard Inn. The rooms and grounds were beautiful, and the food was fantastic at Europa Village's Bolero Restaurant. We can't wait to return for a hot air balloon ride on a clear day."

Visit their website to book your hot air balloon tour with Uncorked Tours.