Thursday, March 7, 2013

On Being Blindsided: Our Engagement Story

Hello readers!
Yesterday, March 6th, marked 2 years since Hubs proposed to me. I've decided to share our engagement story - AKA, Hub's ultimate surprise.  He totally blindsided me. I've decided to share an entry from our wedding website so you can hear it from a his-and-her perspective. Enjoy!

TJ's story

I was becoming antsy about a proposal, but I didn't want Hubs to feel pressured or coerced. I tried to remain cool, but every once in a while I'd give him the side eye or make a smart remark about getting engaged. Little did I know he already had a plan in the works. He had one of his friends, Erin, pump me for information about engagement rings. I thought we were having girl talk, but she was collecting data! 

In March 2011, we were SICK and TIRED of the cold weather. Hubs suggested we go to California to get away. We planned to hang out in San Francisco and go to Napa for wine tasting.  It was romantic, fun, and a great getaway from the winter weather in the East. On the last day of our trip, Hubs arranged for us to take some photos. I was excited because I had been telling Hubs that we needed some nice pictures. It was a rainy San Francisco afternoon, but we didn't let that deter us. We met our photographer at San Francisco City Hall and managed to even work our umbrellas into the shoot. Hubs asked me if I could think of anything that would make our trip any better. In the back of my mind I was thinking "a proposal," but I wouldn't allow myself to say it. We finished the photo shoot with no proposal, and I was glad that I hadn't mentioned it. A couple of my favorite pre-proposal shots: 

The photo shoot was over, but as we were leaving the building, the photographer asked us to take one last photo to take advantage of the great lighting. I removed my raincoat and sat on a bench for a few quick shots. As I was posing, Hubs came over and presented me with a photo album that captured some of our great times together. The last page of the album had a poem that mentioned something like, "And when I see you at the aisle..." and that's when I really thought something was up. As I stood to hug him and tell him thanks, he dropped to his knee. I almost joined him. I was near fainting from shock.

Somebody asked me where these pictures staged. Look at that face. Does that look staged to you?
The proposal felt like an out-of-body experience. A perfect ending to a perfect weekend. Not only was I shocked by the engagement, I was shocked by the beauty of the ring. It was what I wanted and more than I ever would have asked for. We'd never tried on rings, but he got it right, y'all! 
Thank goodness for the seat!
Hub's story:
The ending of The Sixth Sense, Darth Vader’s revelation at the end of Empire Strikes Back, and finding out the identity of Keyser Soze had nothing on the surprise proposal I planned for TJ one March afternoon in San Francisco.  I had known for a long time that TJ was "the one," and I wanted to plan a proposal that showed her how special she was to me.

The plan was put in motion back in May 2010 during a dinner with some of my friends I used to teach with, Dana and Erin.  During dinner I had them talk to TJ about whether I had started any wedding talk (which I hadn’t). During that conversation, they discussed what kind of ring TJ wanted as Erin took detailed mental notes.  After a debriefing with Erin it was time for the first part of the plan, which was buying her engagement ring. Erin was very instrumental during this time going with me to jewelry shops and helping me navigate the 4C’s. I felt the ring I purchased had everything TJ had envisioned as the perfect ring (and a little extra by yours truly).
This pic does the ring no justice. Hubs showed out!!! Had I known I was gonna meet this little beauty,
I would have gotten my nails done :-/. He asked me if I wanted to, but I missed the cue! 

Next, I asked myself how I would pull off the proposal. Those that know me would say I have a thing for the theatrics. Some of the ideas included renting a theater to show our favorite movie, Up (Damn you, Pixar, and your strict copyright laws!), and doing it during a concert (Since we both love music so much). These plans posed two problems; first, while I wanted to do something big, I know TJ doesn’t like to be the center of attention. Second, how would I record this event for our family and friends?  During the attempt at renting a movie theater, I thought of having someone take photos of the event to catch everything. I decided to plan a whole engagement photo shoot that TJ didn’t know was an engagement photo shoot. TJ & I had both talked about doing a photo shoot, so the idea was already in place. I decided to do it in San Francisco since it was known for being such a beautiful city. Prior to flying out there, I contacted a number of photographers before settling with Jean Philippe (JP) Dobrin. We decided to take the photographs on the last day of our trip outside of City Hall.

The trip was wonderful including massages at the spa, wine tasting in Napa, and a trip to the Museum of Modern Art. We concluded the trip with our photo shoot. The surprise was almost ruined by an early gift of Champagne from hotel staff. Luckily I answered the door and shooed them away. I can tell you that I’ve never been more nervous than I was that afternoon.  Towards the end of the shoot, I gave JP the signal, and everything goes pretty blank for me after that. The next thing I remember was seeing the look of joy in TJ’s eyes and celebrating with a toast.

I am so grateful to be with someone who thinks so much of me to plan something this amazing. I'm also so thankful to have these pictures so that I can go back and relive the day over and over and over. Time flies; this feels miles away. Since these pictures, we've moved, married, supported each other through illness and family woes.  We've argued, made up, and laughed and laughed some more. If I could bottle how I feel for my husband and give it to those who want love, I would. It's funny how marriage found me. I wanted to go on a couple dates to break up the monotony of grad school, and ended up with a husband, y'all. God's plans are always bigger than what we plan for ourselves. I believe this and live in expectation and anticipation of what's to come.

Until next time . . . I'll be over here reminiscing. 

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