He had been trying to pop the question since March, keeping the ring a secret as well as his special plans to take Carla up into the skies for a Virgin Balloon ride.
A couple of balloon rides were cancelled due to bad weather, but on a beautiful clear evening on May 25, he told Carla, 27, a teaching assistant in Newport, they were going for a drive.
“She had no idea about the balloon ride or the proposal,” Thomas, 29, said.
“The plan had been to do it in March so I have been psyching myself up for a while but she had no idea.
“The pilot poured out some champagne and then I asked her.
“I said ‘There’s another reason why I’ve brought you up here.’
“First of all she would not let me speak because she saw me pull a box out and then she gave me a big hug and kiss and said yes.”
The couple, who live in Cwmbran and have a seven-month-old daughter called Isla Hard, couldn’t keep the exciting news secret for very long.
“Mark the pilot noticed first and said “I think we have an engagement over here” and everybody congratulated us and wanted to see the ring.”
Mr Hard, a sales engineer with Mabey Bridge, said he couldn’t have picked a more romantic backdrop for popping the question than a balloon ride in south Wales.
“It was a beautiful day with completely clear skies. Neither of us had been up in a balloon before so we were a bit nervous but once we were up there, it was breathtaking. “We saw a cider festival going on in Abergavenny and we could hear the music while we were up there because the air was so still.”
The couple, who plan to tie the knot next summer, hopefully at Caerphilly Castle, said
they still felt high in the clouds when they returned to earth.
“We landed in a field and the pilot took pictures of us and everyone congratulated us,” Thomas said.
“We then went round to see lots of family and friends.
“I just want to thank the pilot for an amazing experience and making it so special. Carla was really surprised and did not have a clue at all.”