When Anneke Sharp and boyfriend Eric Beaulieu went down to the Christmas tree at Dock Square in Rockport on Sunday afternoon, she thought they were going to take some fun photos for a holiday card because they were dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus.
So when corpulently costumed Santa got down on one knee and pulled out a tiny green ring box, Sharp stood silent in disbelief in her upturned red footwear sporting the iconic Santa buckle.
That was a long minute for Beaulieu, 23, a Rockport and Newbury firefighter-paramedic, who waited for her reply.
“I popped the question and she was shocked and at a loss for words — and then she said yes,” he related. “In that time, I was thinking, ‘you can say yes at any minute,’ and then there was cheers from the onlookers when she did.”
Sharp, who grew up in Old Lyme, Conn., said the proposal was totally unexpected.
“Obviously I’m very excited. I don’t think it has fully sunk in yet. I think I must have looked at him like six times, wondering is this real,” she said Monday.
The couple were accompanied by two “elves,” Heather Eldridge of Rockport and Sharp’s sister, Avery Sharp of Old Lyme, Conn., and other well-wishers who suspected it may have been more than a photo shoot.
The couple love the December holiday season.
“We are both big family people, and we like the festive season and the music and the magic of Christmas,” Beaulieu said.
Today, the bride-to-be starts a new job at Swoons, a bridal boutique, in Peabody. She has been a bridal consultant for more than three years.
The couple, who live in Rowley, had dressed up for the annual holiday children’s party for the Rockport Fire Department, prior to which they spread their good cheer at nearby Den Mar Nursing and Rehabilitation.