A Hudson Valley man dazzled his girlfriend this week with an over-the-top engagement surprise.

It's not something you usually see in the heart of the City of Poughkeepsie, but when Matthew Tatar dropped down to one knee, Andrea Steindorf immediately knew what was happening.

The Beginning of a Love Story

The couple met six years ago at a party at the Newburgh waterfront. After hitting it off, Matthew and Andrea decided to exchanged numbers. The couple kept in contact and began a relationship that Tatar said, "just fit us like a glove." The two Hudson Valley residents quickly realized that they had a lot in common, including the fact that they both have children on the autism spectrum.

Being able to bond over the experience of raising their children drew the couple closer together. Eventually, Tatar was completely taken, explaining, "I pursued her and just simply had to have her as my love. She truly is a gentle, kind and caring soul."

Matthew Tatar/MJN Center
Matthew Tatar/MJN Center
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A Plan is Hatched

When it came time to pop the big question, Tatar knew exactly how he wanted to do it. As a detective with the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department, he had become friends with the staff at the MJN Convention Center. After inquiring whether he could "borrow" their enormous electronic billboard for the afternoon, they immediately responded. That's when Matthew's plan began to come together.

Tatar says he planned the big surprise with the MJN Convention Center for "about a week or so." After taking Steindorf on a romantic trip to Woodstock he secretly sent messages to the convention center staff, alerting them to their whereabouts. At around 1pm on Thursday the couple pulled up in front of the billboard as it flashed the big question.

Matthew Tatar/MJN Center
Matthew Tatar/MJN Center
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Ladybug, Will You Marry Me?

As the couple arrived, the sign instantly changed to a message that read "Ladybug, will you marry me?" Tatar says that staff from the convention center were waiting with cameras in hand as he dropped down on one knee and presented Steindorf with a ring. As Andrea responded with an enthusiastic "yes," people on the street stopped to offer their well wishes and congratulations. Tatar calls the whole experience "surreal."

Why "Ladybug?"

When asked how Steindorf wound up with the nickname of “Ladybug,” Tatar explained that it originated from a bumper sticker that she had on her car.

Why she had it, she can't even answer. But the way she pronounced it had me mesmerized so I decided to call her Ladybug. Many of the people I work with at the City of Poughkeepsie Police Department know her through me but Im not sure that they know her name is Andrea rather than Ladybug.

Happily Ever After

After popping champagne to celebrate the engagement, all the couple has left to do is to plan the wedding, something they hope to celebrate "sooner than later." One thing's for certain, though; it's going to be tough coming up with something that compares to this over-the-top engagement surprise.

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