A woman could hardly believe her eyes when her girlfriend proposed to her at the Grand Canyon in the USA.

Elaine McCrory was shocked as girlfriend Nikki got down on one knee during their Las Vegas holiday, because back in the safe at the couple's hotel, was the surprise engagement ring Nikki had secretly brought with her to propose to Elaine.

And the only other person who'd known both girls were gearing up to pop the big question to each other was Elaine’s mum Mary who took the secret to her grave.

Elaine told Belfast Live: “It turned out in the end we’d both separately told my mum what we were planning.

"Mum passed away in October and she took our secrets with her and neither of us knew the other had had the conversation with her but we both believe she was happy knowing we were happy.

The question was asked at the Grand Canyon

“I bought Nikki an engagement ring at Lunn’s in Belfast on November 15 and we travelled out to Las Vegas with my brother Michael and his husband Daithi and my dad Michael.

“I was excited about proposing to Nikki on January 14 and when we got up the Grand Canyon I popped the question and I was delighted and relieved when she said yes.

“But of course I’d no idea she’d also brought an engagement ring to Las Vegas and had planned to propose to me in the Strat Restaurant on January 15.

She said yes

“So she went down on one knee and surprised me. It was brilliant. I keep thinking mum must have been really smiling knowing this lovely time was ahead of us.

"I’m just sorry she couldn’t be here with us to enjoy the moment but she was the first to know our plans.

"And after I proposed to Nikki she contacted her mum and dad Karen and Paul in Ballymena and told them what she was planning. So we have had the support and love of both our families."

Elaine's mum Mary knew the secret

Nikki, 30, a Post Office manager, and Elaine, met almost three years ago after being introduced by a mutual friend Emma.

And although they had talked about marriage, no firm plans were put in place.

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Elaine, a team leader for an accountancy firm, said: “Now the law has changed in Northern Ireland, we can actually get married in our own country and our friends and family can be with us.

“I felt mum was with me on the day I proposed to Nikki and when Nikki told me she’d told mum about her plans, it seemed to cement everything we already knew - we were meant to be together.”