“The thing is, and I’m going to be a little corny and sappy here … but I knew as I was stashing the ring and as we started the boat ride, I had absolutely no nerves at all,” Hinchcliffe, 31, told Page Six on Monday, after they announced their engagement on social media. “I felt so comfortable and I just knew that I was absolutely doing the right thing.”
Following his Toronto race on July 16, the couple drove up to his family’s cottage, where Hinchcliffe planned to pop the question on a boat in the middle of the lake.
“I had all these grand plans about going out in boat for a booze cruise after dinner and popping the question but as we were driving up the weather was terrible, it was pouring rain and I’m thinking all my plans are shot,” he told us.
Luckily, after dinner, the weather died down and the couple went out as planned. Hinchcliffe stopped the boat in the middle of the lake and the couple began to reminisce about their first date and their relationship.
“We were just having this nice moment and then he stood up and started walking to the front of the boat and I thought he was going to sit down and drive the boat and James is known to ruin really beautiful moments between the two of us,” Dalton, 29, said, laughing. “I was like, ‘Geez, can you give us a second to just enjoy this moment before we drive away?’ But he actually reached for the glove box and pulled out a ring and at that point I just kind of started sobbing and ugly crying. I honestly don’t even know what he said. I just remember he was on his knee and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ And I think I said yes.”
Hinchcliffe added, “I think through the blubbering she said yes.”
When they got back to the cottage, Hinchcliffe’s parents were waiting with Champagne and blasting “When a Man Loves a Woman.”
“Just for the record, that was not part of my plan,” Hinchcliffe said. “I was like, ‘Guys! That’s very presumptuous. What if she’d said no?’”
Dalton and Hinchcliffe first met in an acting class in high school and attended Hinchcliffe’s prom together when he needed a last-minute date. The couple would reach out on social media every now and again to catch up, but didn’t really reconnect until 12 years later.
Dalton reached out to make sure Hinchcliffe was OK after he got into a life-threatening accident in 2015. The old friends messaged each other for a few months before meeting up for their first official date in Los Angeles in February 2016.
While the happy couple don’t have every wedding detail figured out, they did tell us they want a smaller celebration in Muskoka next summer. “We’ve both been sort of raised up there in a sense,” Dalton said. “Our summers were always spent there, so I think that’s what we’d like to do.”
As for Conor Daly, one of Hinchcliffe’s closest friends in the racing world, Hinchcliffe says they haven’t worked out all the details of their wedding party, but, “he’s going to be there one way or another. That’s for sure.”