Romance blossomed over in our big red balloon at this year's International Bristol Balloon Fiesta when Stuart Cook, from Gloucester proposed to girlfriend Lesley Cutting on Friday’s sunset flight.

It was nearing the couple’s five-year anniversary and Stuart thought a hot air balloon ride was a perfect, unique way to propose.

“I wanted to make the occasion extra special and a bit different to the norm,” said Stuart.

“I've always thought that a hot air balloon ride was romantic and a memory that we could treasure for a long time.

“The peacefulness and tranquility of just floating and watching everyday life just drift by makes it such a romantic experience.”

The unique sky-high activity is something both Stuart and Lesley have always wanted to do.

“It’s a wonderful chance to see the local landscape from a rather unique perspective,” said Lesley.

“Stuart kept all his cards close to his chest and I wasn't expecting it at all when he popped the question.”

Floating Over Bristol Was Breath-Taking

The beautiful, clear day also made the romantic adventure special for the couple.

“It was a really clear day and flying over Bristol was breath-taking,” said Lesley.

“It was a surreal experience floating over all the houses and waving to people below. There were crowds of people watching the balloons pass over on our launch.

“Being in the middle of the balloon launch that day was fantastic.”

“We kept looking both in front and behind us to see all the other balloons stretched out across the horizon,” said Stuart.

“It was amazing.”

Getting Down on One Knee in a Hot Air Balloon Basket

A very nervous Stuart eagerly awaited for the right time to start his speech.

“I’d planned to propose about halfway through our flight. As I was getting prepared and concentrating on not dropping the ring, I started my small speech but didn't realise that our pilot Nobby was already talking to everyone about the landing, so I paused for a moment.

“I think Lesley caught on with what I was trying to do but once I had a clear chance, I got down on one knee and proposed.

“Lesley was shaking and initially the only thing she could say was ‘no’ – as in ‘no, I can’t believe it!’ Luckily she eventually said yes.”

Lesley and Stuart were actually supposed to fly from Bath the day before, but the flight had been cancelled due to poor weather conditions. The couple believe this was meant to be, as flying at the Fiesta is such an incredible experience.

“It must have been fate for us,” said Stuart.

“It made a perfect occasion even more special to be able to fly with all the other balloons.”

Stuart even managed to keep the proposal private and no other passengers noticed until afterwards when our pilot Nobby caught on.

“It got a little emotional at that point and a few people started crying and everyone was cheering.”

Celebrate Afterwards with a Glass of Bubbly

The couple were able to celebrate their engagement after landing with some extra bubbly.

“We were all in stitches of laughter as the basket tipped over after we landed,” says Lesley.

“Nobby and his crew started to poor the glasses of Champagne for the toast – he gave us extra to calm our nerves.”

The couple are planning on celebrating their engagement by holding a BBQ for family and friends in the next few weeks and have said they don’t have any wedding plans just yet.

“Stuart is still getting over the stress of planning this surprise,” said Lesley.

“All our family and friends have commented on how romantic a hot air balloon proposal is and how they wished it had happened to them.

“It was certainly a unique life moment.”