As with my previous Wedding Wednesday post, I’m resurrecting a post (with a few changes/updates) from my last blogging attempt. It’s a little long, but hopefully you’ll find it worth reading. This is all about the event that set this whole wedding thing in motion: the proposal.
I’ll start this story with an anecdote from last summer. Eric and I became an “official” couple on June 2, 2007. For those who don’t feel like doing the math (hey, math is hard!), we celebrated 6 years together this year … Meaning last summer was our fifth year together. Until now, my longest relationship lasted a little over 4 years so celebrating 5 years in 2012 was kind of a big deal for me. It was also a big deal for Eric (his longest relationship prior to this lasted about a year and a half).
When I talked to friends, coworkers, my mom, etc. about our upcoming five year anniversary (remember, this was 2012!), the majority said the same thing: “I bet he’s going to propose!”
At first I was like, “Oh no … I don’t think he’s ready for that just yet.” Yes, we had been together for a considerable amount of time. Yes, we had discussed a future together (buying a house, having children, etc.). But I just didn’t feel like he was ready to take the plunge at that time.
Then a funny thing happened. So many people told me I should probably be expecting a proposal that I started expecting a proposal. I started getting really anxious about it. I kept thinking about the fact that I hadn’t gotten my left ring finger sized at a jewelry store. Since I don’t really wear rings, he would have absolutely no way of knowing what size I wore. I started worrying that I hadn’t given him any overly explicit descriptions of rings I liked. I’d mentioned Tacori to him a few times in the past and showed him a picture of a ring I liked:
I think I pulled this image from Tacori’s website a while ago. This setting is no longer available on the website (unless I’m just missing something).
Above is the original ring I fell in love with when looking online. It’s not the one I ended up with, though. I’ll share pictures of the actual ring and how it was chosen in my next Wedding Wednesday post!
But you know what? I showed him a picture of that ring in December. December 2010. How the hell was he supposed to remember something like that?
So yeah. I was anxious.
(And yes, I do realize that a proposal is about more than just a ring … It’s about much more than that. My point here is that I was worrying over silly things, which obviously means I wasn’t really ready to be engaged at that time. I will also explain my personal feelings about the ring in the next paragraph.)
During our five year anniversary weekend (yes, we spent an entire weekend together celebrating … Don’t judge!), he told me he had a surprise planned. Oh. My. God. I started panicking inside. I wondered how he’d propose. I started thinking about what kind of ring he’d come up with. I was wondering (and this is horrible but I still thought about it) if I would like what he chose. I know that sounds extremely superficial, but here’s how I look at it: An engagement ring is something that you’re (ideally) going to be wearing for the rest of your life. Sure, people upgrade all the time. But I’m not one of those people. I want the ring I’m wearing at age 75 to be the same ring I was wearing when he proposed. I don’t care if someone else upgrades … It’s a personal choice. I just have no desire to do so.
So anyway … Back to the surprise.
The morning he told me he was going to take me out for a surprise I was a ball of nerves. He did tell me we’d be outside (and it was hot, so I dressed appropriately in shorts and a t-shirt), but nothing else. We ended up driving to a park/lake in the area. When we parked, he got out a blanket and supplies for a picnic. It was incredibly romantic (despite the heat). He’d packed a bunch of our favorite foods, white wine for me, beer for him … He even packed a slice of red velvet cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory (need I explain how amazingly delicious this is?). It seemed like the perfect setup for a proposal.
I kid you not, every time he reached into his pocket (for his keys, his phone, whatever), my heart stopped. I felt this weird combination of excitement and nausea. (As I mentioned before, I honesty don’t think I was quite ready at this point either!)
But you know what? He never asked me to marry him. He never pulled out a ring. He took me to an open field in another area of the park to fly kites (something I’d recently mentioned in passing that I’d always wanted to do), but still no proposal.
It was a perfect day (with the exception of the awful sunburn I got that covered a huge portion of my body). Unfortunately, I let other people get into my head. Deep down I knew it wasn’t the right time for us to get engaged … But I was a little disappointed (and also a little relieved) when it didn’t happen.
This incident caused me to really evaluate how I felt about things. I felt like I must be a horrible person because I felt some odd sense of relief that he didn’t ask. I wondered if I was second guessing our relationship or my feelings for him.
Over time I realized that wasn’t the case at all … It just didn’t feel right at the time. I wish I could explain it better than that, but I really can’t. I just knew that on that particular weekend in June, neither of us was really ready to take that step. And that was okay.
Fast forward a few months to November 2012.
I really think things started to change a little between us in the 5 months between our five year anniversary and the time of the proposal. It was very subtle, but it was there. We started talking more seriously and openly about a lot of things, including finances (something he was very private about in the past). We started actively discussing the future instead of just saying things like, “Well, one day it would be nice to buy a house with 3 or 4 bedrooms …” in a very noncommittal way.
I knew the proposal was coming in the near future (I’ll explain a bit more in my next Wedding Wednesday post), but I had no idea when. I kept wondering if he would do it over the holidays. Though, to be honest, he’s not the kind of guy who would choose a holiday proposal … So maybe not. I then wondered if he’d wait until the new year to do it. But then again … Maybe he wouldn’t want to wait a long time (I know I didn’t at that point!).
I started getting anxious, but it was much different than the feeling I had back in June. I wasn’t scared or nervous or worried … I was excited.
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, I got my proposal. It went a little something like this:
About a week or so before, I found out that an Indian restaurant in town was having a special for Diwali on that date. Eric and I both love Indian food (and we hadn’t been to this particular restaurant before), so I told him about it and asked if he’d be interested in going. Since he’s generally up for trying new restaurants (and eating delicious Indian food!), it was no surprise that he was in.
When the actual evening arrived, I came home from work to find him already home watching TV (not unusual since our schedules are slightly different). I don’t know what was wrong with me that day, but I told him I was extremely stressed out. He asked me what was wrong, and I suddenly burst into tears. I was inconsolable! I felt like such an idiot (and even said so to him!) because I was saying things like, “I’m so stressed about having a wedding! I know it’s stupid because we’re not even engaged yet, but we’ve been talking about it so much lately so I’m forced to think about all of these decisions!”
I cried over my fear that none of my friends or family that live far away could come. I cried over friends I’ve drifted apart from over the years (one in particular) that I would love to invite but didn’t really know if I should (or even if I actually wanted to). I cried because I felt I was being selfish by wanting to have the wedding in Nebraska instead of in my hometown. I cried because my grandfather won’t be able to come (it just isn’t realistic considering his health). I cried over my grandmother’s absence (she passed away several years ago).
That hit me the hardest. She and I were very close, and I still get a little choked up when I talk about her sometimes. She really liked Eric a lot and I think she would have enjoyed seeing us get married. I cried so much and so hard that I couldn’t even get any words out. I was sobbing hysterically. (And no, that’s not an exaggeration. I could barely even breathe by this point.)
Poor Eric was trying to comfort me, but he mostly just held me while I cried. And cried. And cried.
After I finally calmed down, I told him I was going to take a shower and get ready for dinner. He asked if I was sure that I still wanted to go, but I told him I was. After all, I was getting all worked up over nothing … We weren’t even engaged!
During dinner, we talked a lot but managed to avoid the marriage/engagement topic (fine by me!). He was acting a little strange, but I thought I might be reading too much into it. (And by strange, I mean he would start talking then kind of drift off like his mind was elsewhere … Then when I’d try to bring him back to the conversation he acted all confused and took a minute or so to get back into his story.)
It was during dinner that he brought up playing Scrabble. If there’s one thing you should know about us, it’s that we’re huge nerds. We both love playing Scrabble and can get very competitive. He even created an Excel spreadsheet (I wasn’t kidding about the nerd thing!) that details our wins and losses. Unfortunately, he kicks my ass a lot.
Anyway, he mentioned that we hadn’t played in a while and asked if I wanted to play when we got home. I agreed to this. (Later I told him that since I knew he might be proposing soon, I was planning to just agree to do whatever he wanted so I wouldn’t ruin it. Haha.)
When we got home, he asked if I would set up the board. He retrieved the game from one of our bookshelves and brought it over to the coffee table. I cleared off a space for the board (our coffee table gets cluttered often) and then sat back on the couch. Once again he prompted me, “So … Are you going to set up the board?” I was like, “Oh! Okay!” (I’m pretty sure my mind was still a little frazzled from the emotional outburst I had earlier.)
Our Scrabble set is encased in a wooden box with a sliding lid (as opposed to a more traditional box where you’d lift the lid up to remove it). As I’m sliding the lid back, I see the letters W-I … Oh. My. God.
I continued pulling it back to reveal the entire thing: “Will you marry me?” (complete with a question mark drawn in on one of the blank tiles!). Surrounding the Scrabble letters were a few Dove dark chocolates (something we both love) and a dark blue ring box. A dark blue Tacori ring box, to be exact.
My response? “Is this for real?!?!?!” Haha. I told him I felt like I had an inappropriate response, but I think I was just in shock. I knew it was coming, but man … I just wasn’t expecting it that night!
I opened the ring box, put the ring on my finger, and gave him a kiss. I was sure I’d cry, but I didn’t. (Perhaps I was all cried out?)
It didn’t matter, though. The proposal was perfect for us. He took something we enjoy as a couple and made it into something romantic. It was private (I told him before that I’d really hate it if he proposed in some crazy public way), and it was wonderful. Even now (8 months later!), I can’t bear to take apart the Scrabble proposal (though he’s pointed out several times that we’re going to have to eventually). I look at those letters all the time and think about what they mean for us as a couple.
I’m so excited to spend the rest of my life with the man I was lucky enough to meet and fall in love with!
And, what the hell, here’s a picture from the proposal (and a sneak peek at the ring!):
I’m kind of covering the question mark with my finger, but it’s there! Personal photo.