weddings

An influencer shared her extravagant 'surprise' engagement to her followers. It was all staged.

When US influencer Gabriel Grossman dropped down on one knee in front of his partner, Goop executive Marissa Fuchs, 89,600 people tuned in via an emotional, visually stunning Instagram video.

Set on the luscious green lawns of a sprawling Parisian chateau, the enviable proposal looked every bit the pinnacle of romance – like a scene from a film, complete with perfectly produced video footage.

Check out the Rich Dogs of Instagram below. Post continues after video.

But the elaborate engagement, which culminated in an intimate destination wedding, has raised eyebrows after documents were leaked online suggesting every inch of it had been meticulously planned in collaboration with multiple brands.

 

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17 years as friends. 9 years in the making of a relationship. 6 years officially dating. And on 6/21/2019 we made it official.

A post shared by MARISSA CASEY GROSSMAN (@fashionambitionist) on

The emotional engagement marked the end of a weekend of lavish short-stays planned by Grossman, Fuchs’ partner of six years, which were all well-documented on her Instagram page.

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When Grossman told his followers that he had arranged a scavenger hunt for the ring as a combined engagement/wedding surprise for Fuchs, followers were hooked from the moment the first video dropped last Tuesday.

“The problem is, we’re not really into traditional weddings. It’s not really our style,” Grossman began in the introductory footage shot in New York. “But that’s not what we’d really want anyway. If we were going to have a wedding, it would be some expensive, destination-type thing that all our friends would probably complain about anyway.”

Revealing he wanted to incorporate “everything that’s important to her – love, adventure, travel, fashion, friends and family” in his proposal, the big moment would “have to be an extraordinary adventure, unlike any proposal ever seen”.

Fuchs posted the first video on her page on Wednesday, captioning it “WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

It was the first in a series of videos related to the proposal, including videos of her packing, getting ready for dinners with friends in her hotel room, and arriving at each “surprise” destination. She also documented her style and beauty looks along the way.

 

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WHAT IS HAPPENING?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A post shared by MARISSA CASEY GROSSMAN (@fashionambitionist) on

 

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Can’t sleep in anticipation of tomorrow ???? @gabriel.grossman this is tooooo much to handle. Photo by: @Flytographer

A post shared by MARISSA CASEY GROSSMAN (@fashionambitionist) on

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While Fuchs, an Instagram influencer with 198,000 followers, seemed genuinely shocked and surprised at each destination, hotel, lavish restaurant and glamorous party along the way, a marketing deck released online suggests she was, in fact, in on the whole over-the-top arrangement and had sought brand sponsorship for the occasion herself.

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The slides, uploaded on Imgur, detailed Grossman’s plans to “simultaneously propose and marry Marissa” on the trip, complete with an itinerary and breakdown of accompanying content to be released on Fuchs’ page.

Image: Imgur.
Image: Imgur.

“We’re pleased to offer your brand the opportunity to align with his momentous occasion and the beautiful cities she will be visiting along the way,” the pitch read, adding it was to be planned “without Marissa’s knowledge”.

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“The Fashion Ambitionist team will be producing and releasing long and short-form content as well as Instagram stories and posts detailing each stage of the journey on her channels,” it continued.

It is unclear whether Fuchs or Grossman received compensation for their trip, but an advertising executive who spoke to The Atlantic was skeptical about whether Fuchs was oblivious to the arrangement.

“Either her fiance has been intimately involved in every single aspect of her business and influencer marketing career and knows every detail of her influencer partnerships, or she has had some input into that pitch deck,” Bryan Pedersen told the publication. “There’s no way a friend or potential fiance would know how to put together a pitch deck with that detail.”

Responding to the criticism, Fuchs alleged she had no idea the exotic trip – or pitch deck – existed until Wednesday.

“I still haven’t seen it and still don’t know what’s in store for the rest of the engagement,” she told The New York Post. “I know people are saying that everything was sponsored – but that couldn’t be less from the truth. Gabe has paid for every inch of this proposal.”

The couple claim the trip – which involved stops in Manhattan, the Hamptons, Miami and Paris – was coordinated in full by Grossman and a group of friends, including one close pal Elicia Blaine Evans.

Grossman, who reached out in response to The Atlantic's initial report, claimed they received no direct payment for Fuchs’ posts.

He said most brands didn’t even respond, and those that did were companies that Fuchs already had a working relationship with, such as Flywheel, which put on a free, private spin class, and the clothing designer LoveShackFancy, who sent Fuchs a selection of dresses to wear throughout the trip.

Glamsquad, an on-demand beauty service, also provided free hair and makeup styling, and Grossman received a discount on the Jade Trau jewellery he gifted Fuchs, but Trau is a friend of the couple and regularly gives Fuchs discounts on her designs.

Grossman did reveal the only major new partnership to develop from the proposal was with Flytographer, who provided three photographers for free for the proposal.

A number of social media users have weighed in on the sequence of events, labelling it "creepy" and a toxic example of fauxrealism on Instagram.

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What do you think about the couple's engagement? Let us know in the comments.

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