There was email forging involved
Finally, I shared my own idea for a segment called “Love Your Pet on Valentine’s Day” in which Today would have pet owners talking about why they love their pets.
Either because my plan was so genius or because we were completely running out of time, the Today team was on board. I had the producer write a fake email about us getting selected and I told Mal that this was my Valentine’s Day gift. I thought she’d be thrilled, but instead she was like, “I’m not doing that. I don’t want to be on TV. That’s so weird!”
After that, I definitely had a few moments of, "Am I sure I want to go through with this on TV?" It wasn't cold feet per se, but I wanted to be considerate of her feelings. The night before the proposal, one of her best childhood friends even tried to talk me out of it. She was more nervous for Mallory than she was for me. Eventually, I sold Mal on the fake pet segment, convincing her how much fun it would be.
To make it all seem legit, I showed her another fake email with the “Love Your Pet” segment details. That ended up being super nerve-wracking when she asked why I was just showing her the email on my phone and not forwarding it to her. That night, she kept asking if this was a hoax, so I had to continue to sell our appearance pretty much until they sent us a car early the next morning.
Al Roker was pretty awkward
When we arrived on set the morning of the proposal, the Today staff quickly shuffled us into a room to make sure Mal didn’t notice there were no other pets there, and so that she couldn’t see the screens, which were alluding to a proposal pretty much the entire morning. Our friends and family were also on the plaza (the show put our parents and siblings in a hotel the night before).
The last thing I had to do was separate from Mallory right before the segment started. At 7:55, we were standing there ready to go out, and I was waiting for the producers to give me some type of signal, which never came. I was getting really nervous, and finally just said, “Hey, can I run to the bathroom real quick? Do I have time?”
Mallory turned to me and kind of screamed, “You can’t hold it?!” in front of the producers and cameraman. I said, “No, I’m so nervous. I’ve gotta go.” But before we could even argue about it, one of the producers pulled me out of the room.
Outside, the Plaza was decorated with a pink carpet, flowers, and balloons. The producer hid me behind our families, so that when Mallory walked out, I would emerge from our families and greet her at the carpet.
As this was going on, a separate cameraman was with her and our puppy, filming what they called the “keystone segment,” with Al Roker chatting with Mallory about the Valentine’s Day pets segment. He is not good at small talk, by the way, and was buying time in a terrible way -- I guess he was just as nervous as we were. Meanwhile, a segment about the upcoming proposal was actually airing on TV.