NIU graduate student is contestant in Ultimate Wedding Contest

By Danny Ciamprone

DeKALB | Draped in his Superman t-shirt, surrounded by thousands of tourists and so nervous he forgot everything he planned to say, Theo Plothe took out the wedding ring he had been carrying in his pocket for days and asked his girlfriend, Amber Buck, to marry him.

“At the end of the day, this is all the guy really has because the wedding is all her,” Plothe said. “No one is going to ask me how the wedding was, but they want to know the proposal and I knew I wanted to do it at the Taj Mahal.”

Plothe said there was no other place he could imagine proposing other than in front of the famed Indian mausoleum.

“I’m sure I could’ve done it in the states…but the Taj Mahal is the icon,” Plothe said.

Plothe and Buck met at Ball State University in February 2004. Shortly afterwards, Plothe moved to Japan for two years as a graduate student to do research pertaining to media issues.

“It was hard in the sense that we hadn’t been dating for that long,” Buck said. “We managed though to stay in touch through a cheap phone plan and Skype so we still communicated everyday.”

The couple still lives apart, with Buck attending graduate school for writing at the University of Illinois and Plothe attending graduate school at NIU for communications. Plothe said the couple has never been closer than 180 miles, besides for a period of about six months when they lived together.

“We hear people say ‘well my boyfriend lives in Chicago and I’m in DeKalb,’ and I’m always like ‘you don’t even know what a long-distance relationship is,’” Plothe said.

In 2009, a friend was getting married in India, which the couple attended. During then, Plothe carried the ring around with him the entire time in his pocket out of fear of losing it.

“While we were at this hotel in Delhi I took my khakis off and the ring flew across the floor with her standing right there,” Plothe said. “I whipped my pants onto the ring hoping she didn’t see it and she didn’t even notice so she had no idea it was coming.”

Buck said she was extremely surprised and learned Plothe had been planning the proposal for months.

To assist with wedding expenses, the couple has now entered the Crate and Barrel Ultimate Wedding Contest. The winners get $100,000 dollars and have celebrity wedding designer Yifat Oren plan the wedding. The couple had to fill out an application which asked about their love story, give three details about what their ultimate wedding will be like and describe their dream home.

“We want to have a vintage, modern feel the wedding with enough space for our favorite Indie rock band to entertain everybody,” Buck said. “We’re also going to have an international theme by using vintage post cards as escort cards. We’re also both vegan so there will be vegan food, but with an international flavor to highlight the different places we visited.”

Buck said the couple has been to about 25 countries. In addition they post news of their travels on Facebook , Twitter and on their blog . A video of their proposal is also on Youtube. Voting has ended, but Crate and Barrel will announce finalists in June 2011.