On becoming a wife {The Engagement}

Sorry about the weird half posting that’s been going on all day ladies – here is the final version…

Ok ladies….I am in a bit of a quandry, because whilst I desperately want to tell you more about The Day, I don’t yet have the photographs from the photographer. And I’m pretty sure that a recap of The Day, without actually showing you any pictures, is not going to be that great is it…? So whilst we wait for them, posting will carry on as normal, and I promise *as soon* as I have them – they’ll be up on here.

In the meantime, now seemed like an opportune moment to tell you about how it all began. Not how we met, because that was fairly mundane (not for me, obviously) (or him, I hope), (although actually, it did involve a ridiculous shirt, some bed linen and an incredibly cheesy chat up line…no wait… still not going to fill a whole post is it…). No, today I’m going to tell you about our engagement….
So…picture the scene….We’re on holiday, trousers rolled up, walking along the golden beach under the stars, having just had the most incredible meal, the waves lapping at our feet, watching a group of people launch chinese lanterns into the night sky, when Andy turned to me, and asked me to marry him. I say yes, we hug and kiss and laugh and hug lots more. We walk back to the hotel on a huge high, still clinging on to one another, and have champagne cocktails to celebrate.
Romantic yes?
And that really did happen. And that’s the story we tell when anyone asks us about it.
But it doesn’t tell the whole story. What it doesn’t tell, is the fact that at dinner half an hour earlier, Andy had said something about me being his future wife, and I made some snidey childish comment along the lines of that ‘I most certainly WASN’T his future wife as he hadn’t asked me to be his wife HAD HE?’
Which I’m well aware if taken at face value, makes me sound like a spoilt demanding little girl who stamps her feet and gets what she wants. But again, this isn’t telling the whole story.
The whole story is this.
For the past three or four months we’d been discussing marriage. We’d had serious talks about it, and between us decided that it was right for us. That it was something that we wanted for us and for our future. We both said that there was no huge rush, and that we would take our time. And honestly, I wasn’t in a rush. We’d already made huge commitments to one another. I’d moved to another country and given up my career for him (and that in itself is a whole other post). He’d supported me, financially and emotionally during the move and afterwards. We didn’t need to prove to each other that we were committed to one another. Marriage just felt like the right next step for us. At some point.
The thing was…once we’d decided that we were going to get married, and that Andy would propose when the ‘time was right’, something happened to me. Whereas before I’d always felt like an equal in our relationship, I suddenly felt like I had no control over this part of our relationship. That I was just waiting for HIM to decide that HE was ready, and that the time was right for HIM. Every time we went out somewhere nice, or for a romantic walk, or even a not that romantic walk, I thought ‘hey, this could be it, he might ask now, oh god, he might ask now, what if he asks now, am I ready, is this it?‘. And then he didn’t. So then I’d think ‘why didn’t he do it then, it was a nice time, why didn’t he choose to do it then, I would have done it then, perhaps he he doesn’t like me any more‘. Which I can tell you, is not good for your mental health.
You can probably guess that being on holiday in one of the most beautiful places on the earth, with a plentiful supply of romantic moments, whilst feeling like this, I became a jibbering wreck. We were taken to a beautiful tropical island, and left with the whole island to ourselves for the day, and it didn’t happen. We watched the sun go down over the horizon, whilst drinking cocktails in the infinity pool, and it didn’t happen. Romantic meal on the beach? Nothing. Sun rise walk along the beach? Nothing, nada, nilch (is that a word?).
The crazy thing was, before we’d agreed to agree to get married, I’d never felt like this. I am known for being calm and chilled out and relaxed (often, TOO relaxed). And yet this one thing had the ability to turn me into the stereotype that the media so love to portray. The ring hungry woman who can’t wait for her boyfriend to propose. Realising this doesn’t exactly boost your confidence I can tell you.
What I didn’t know that night, when Andy made the ‘future wife’ comment, and I made my pathetic remark, was that Andy already had a ring on order. That he’d already spoken to my dad about it. That he was planning on proposing the following week, when we got home so that a) he’d have the ring, and b) it could be in a place that meant something to us and that we could go back to as often as we liked.
But after my silly snidey remark, he decided that he should just ask me then,. That very night. So fifteen minutes later, he asked me to go for a walk with him, along the beach, and then he turned to me, and asked me to marry him. And it was truly truly lovely. It really was. And part of me wouldn’t change it for the world. But a little tiny part of me wishes I’d been a lttle more patient. If I could have been more patient, and not snapped every time it was mentioned, and just maybe relinquished control for a little while, it could have been done the way he wanted it. I’m still a litle bit sad about that. It took the shine off it a bit. For him, and for me.
Ok, so now I have that off my chest, please tell me all of your actual fairytale engagement stories to brighten up this grey drizzly day.
Please. Thanksverymuch.
Categories: Engagement, Wedding Reports
14 interesting thoughts on this

13 Comments

  1. Posted December 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    So this is long….
    Firstly this post has made me remember my feelings of waiting for Warmth to propose and a realisation of how frequently we get what we want when we want it and how it feels not to be in control. I decided that it was good for me to experience not being in control for once.
    You've also reminded me of my New Year's Eve strop. We, or rather I decided that I wanted to be engaged before we lived together. Having spent another evening travelling across London I was tired and weary and blurted something out, not quite sure what, but I do remember Warmth saying he'd booked a weekend away. I remember thinking "should have kept my mouth shut so it really was a surprise…"
    Now the actual proposal….
    So it was our anniversary weekend and Warmth said he'd hired a cottage from a friend of a friend. Like you since we'd discussed marriage I'd kept wondering "ooh is this the occasion?" I decided to put it all to the back of my mind. How wonderful that he'd organised this weekend and I'd just be disappointed if he didn't propose and anyway our actual anniversary date was Sunday so how could I spend all weekend thinking 'when?' We arrived at this 'cottage' only to discover a huge porch. I did think we don't have friends who have country cottages like this. He'd hired a Landmark Trust property The Bath House. Queue "push proposal to the back of your mind Rachel" thought. After supper I opened our travel scrabble and there in scrabble letters 'Will you marry me'…
    I loved that he'd planned this for a while, and the thought that went into it.
    I love that the immediate timing was a complete surprise.
    I love the silver Dinny Hall ring he had for me, knowing that I'd want to choose the engagement ring.
    I love that we then had the evening and night with it as our secret before sharing it with family the next day.

    Great post and thank you for indulging me in this ramble. Next comment on this blog will be shorter, much shorter. And yes we want photogrpahs of your wedding with your story.

  2. Anna K
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    (Sorry Aisling. I'm telling it again.)

    I'd gone for coffee with a friend in the morning. Back at lunchtime for an autumnal picnic in the park – except when I walked through the door, Mr K had packed 5 rucksacks off stuff and was hopping about a lot, like he needed to go to the loo. I'd asked him if we could bring some friends along, he'd snapped that no we could not, he'd been a bit odd all week.

    So I grabbed the nearest bag, Mr K goes white and literally snatches it from my back. I'LL be taking that one. Er…ok then. We trap off up to the park – which has pulled a gorgeous one out of the bag – all deep red leaves and late afternoon sunlight. He faffs around for ages, choosing the right spot. I am starving, and make my feelings clear. He whips out a portable barbecue and we have steak and salad and a squirrel comes and we feed it and it's beautiful and we're content, and afterwards we hug on the blanket and he says he has a surprise for me. I go into meltdown because what did I forget? Birthday? Anniversary? I figure I'll wing it. He pulls out this turquoise bow with a white ribbon and I don't recognise it and tell him he shouldn't have bought me earrings, he tells me to open it and I go and when I get to the blue velvet box my heart starts pounding and half my brain is thinking ohmygodohholycrapwhatifitis, and the other half is telling me not to be ridiculous, I'm not the sort of girl people want to marry, I'm very flawed. And there it is, this ring, and I burst into tears and the rest is history that we are making.

    But seriously. We have like half a second to say "er you what? er….yes". Men get months and months to figure out if they're ready. My dearest wish would be for it to be as accepted for women to ask men to marry them as it is the other way around.

  3. Posted December 14, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Well… I have a similar backpack (Australian for rucksack!) situation to Anna… how funny!

    We had breezily discussed being married "in the future" a few times. We booked a month long holiday to Japan, somewhere we had planned for a long time. I suspected, but wasn't sure.

    Anyway, the backpack. J wanted to buy a special walking backpack to have for our daily adventures in Japan. You can just use my old one, I said. No. A new one. Can I put some of my books in it to carry on the plane? Yes, but leave them on the bed, I want to pack it myself. Oh, but it's right here, I'll just put th… NO! I'll pack it later! Etc etc. Whilst in Japan, I wasn't allowed to carry the bag. On the train, we didn't have a seat and so weren't near the bags. We went back to get them and they had been moved. I have never seen J's face so white and stricken. I thought it was an overreaction. Hee hee! Little did I know.

    One day we hired bikes in Kyoto and were exploring the area. It was cherry blossom season so we bought food for a picnic and chose a tree full of blossoms to sit under. Again, like Anna, I was cross and hungry and my bike gears weren't working, and this park is FURTHER than it said in the guide, can we just EAT please. J was patience itself, settled us under a beautiful tree, fed us both sushi and french bread with cheese, and pickled radishes. We lay down on our coats to see the blue sky through the blossoms. Ems… Yes? Will you marry me? I turn over to see a box with a diamond produced from his pocket (it was transferred from bag to pocket whilst I stopped to inspect and whinge about bike gears). Ummm… yes? I'm serious, he says. I know! I say. Tears.

  4. Posted December 15, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Right, second attempt to do this and fingers crossed that Blogger won't eat it this time…

    Matthew and I had discussed marriage for quite a while before we got engaged, and I was much the same as you Clare in terms of getting rather impatient and finding the whole being out of my hands thing really difficult.

    Anyway….we were in Paris for our fifth anniversary and I was pretty sure it was going to happen then, though he'd bought me actual anniversary presents to through me off the scent. He spent the whole day being very distracted and nervy, so in an attempt to help, I kept trying to direct us to more romantic places in the hope that he'd agree and then just get it over and done with! But he picked up on none of my "ooh, how about we go to the beautiful and romantic Luxembourg Gardens", so I think we were both feeling a little frustrated by the time we got back to our hotel in the late afternoon.

    Our first stop that evening was champagne at our local bar, which was lovely, but probably would've been nicer if M hadn't been absolutely distracted. Then we headed for Laduree for cake – only to find that as they were still serving dinner they could only seat us on the Champs Elysee – which neither of us were too keen on (the interior of the building is so much nicer!), so we then marched (well, as much as my heels would let me) to the other branch, which was closed. Hmmm. By this point, Matthew was getting increasingly tense and concerned, and I was trying my hardest not to let on that I knew why, but also to emphasise that hey, we were in Paris, so everything was romantic…

    Eventually, we stumbled past an ice cream shop, which did the job of calming M down (chocolate always does the trick for him!), and from there we strolled through the grounds of the Louvre (always rather nice lit up at night) and along the Seine. When we reached Pont Neuf M noticed that there were little alcoves built into the bridge, so we went and sat down in one – a perfect little private corner for us. And within minutes, M said "well, this might make the evening a bit better" and put a ring box into my hands, containing the ring we'd both picked out a few months before. Cue tears (me), relief (him), and sparkles (the Eiffel Tower lit up as if he'd planned it all along).

    By this point it was about midnight, so after about half an hour of being deleriously happy and excited, we headed back to our hotel, picking up a bottle of Champagne on the way, which we then proceeded to drink on our balcony until about 4am.

    It was imperfectly perfect, and I really wouldn't have it any other way. On hindsight, I do wonder if I should have let on that I knew what he was trying to do, to help put him out of his misery, but I think that would've made it worse – as much as it made him really worried, I think he would've been upset to have had the "surprise" ruined.

    He actually posted about it on my site if you fancy a man's POV: http://www.thehoneymoonproject.com/2010/09/24/a-parisian-proposal/

    Phew, that's a long one. Even after over two years, I still haven't figured out a concise way to tell our engagement story!

  5. Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Ok here goes, I got kicked out of my parents house at 17 and moved in with the boyfriend and his Mum. I didn't have any friends where I now lived and had no space to go that was just mine or just mine and the boyfriends so the park behind our house that has a swing that you can lay on and we would go there and watch the stars when I felt alone or it all got to much the boyfriend would take me to the park in the middle of the night I would lay on the swing showing him all the stars a he would push me on the swing. There was never anyone else around. It became our place.

    One night in when i was 18 he suggested we go for a walk it was freezing cold I was on the swing he was pushing me and he started playing our songs on his phone after a couple of songs the music stopped and I hadn't realised I was watching the stars, he turned me around on the swing he was down on one knee he gave a speech which I won't go into I cried he asked and gave me the most beautiful ring and I said yes, I was perfect and the best thing is I can see that place everyday out of the window.

    I have only layed down and watched the stars with 3 people, my grandad the person I was closest to as a child who is no longer here, my best friend who was like a brother throughout my teens who is no longer with us and the boyfriend now the most important person in my life. It felt like these important people where all apart of the start of my new life even though they couldn't be there!

    Sorry if that was too mushy. I love all these stories
    Love Simone
    xxxx

  6. Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh Emma getting engaged in Paris how wonderful!

    I feel so sorry for the guys the pressure is really on them we get romance and ring and they get stress hardly fair is it lol
    xxxx

  7. Posted December 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Ah what better way to cheer up a miserable grey day than with these stories – more please!!

    @ JHD scrabble letters?! I LOVE this. Totally.

    @ anna and @ anotherringcoming – I love the protectiveness over the rucsacs – step AWAY from the rucsacs….

    @ Emma – I totally get this – I also 'engineered' romantic moments, and when we were in the pool looking out at the sunset, I vividly remember saying 'isn't this SO romantic – I'm not sure there could be a more romantic moment'. Oh the shame.

    @ takemyhand – so lovely that you can go and see your place whenever you like – that is one of my real regrets – by 'pushing' him to propose, he didn't do it in a place that was special to the both of us.

    I am loving hearing these stories – the good and the bad – keep them coming please!

  8. Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    "Whereas before I'd always felt like an equal in our relationship, I suddenly felt like I had no control over this part of our relationship."
    < - THIS!!!

    You have totally summed up how I feel. Me and my boy have been together over 8 years, known each other much longer, and had many grown up conversations about marriage. We've even decided on a vague date, visited the venue we want and taken photos for our (slightly random) invites/wedsite. But he hasn't asked me yet and it's driving me mad because until we're actually engaged I'm not allowed to book or buy anything and I feel like I'm totally and utterly just sat like a pathetic needy character in a crap smoochy film waiting for him to propose. The problem now is that it totally clouds every nice or big moment as a small annoying part of me is thinking 'maybe he's going to propse' and when he doesn't I get upset and then I get mad at myself for being stupid and pathetic.
    GAH!

    So thank you for writing that and making me feel a bit less like a total loser/muppet.

  9. Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    @ amy – you are TOTALLY engaged. You have agreed to get married. You are planning your wedding. You may not have a ring to flash at people, but I didn't have mine for nearly a month after we were engaged, and it didn't stop me. And who says you're 'not allowed' to book or buy anything until that ring is on your finger? You go out there girl and do what you want to do.

    AND…I totally understand the feeling of waiting for him to ask, but it will happen, and I promise, it will be so much nicer if you aren't thinking about it so much. But also, feel free to totally ignore me, because I know I wouldn't have been able to accept this advice when I was in your shoes!

  10. Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi beautiful ladies here's our story,

    Vince and I had been dating for 3 years and living in Paris when he proposed. I am a Canadian girl and he is a French guy who met in a bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. We feel hard straight away and after a year together in Canada we moved to India for Vince's job. We have been moving around the world since then and on Nov 27, 2009 we were in Paris France. It was our last weekend together before I went back to Canada for Christmas and we decided to try out a new restaurant in the 11th arrondissement. I was out getting my hair done and was due to meet Vince at a bar for a drink before our reservation. He was 1hour late! I tried not to be pissed and happily drank my drink until he arrived. After a wonderful meal of oysters and lobster and 2 too many bottles of wine we headed home on the metro. Vince gave me the keys to open the door to our apartment. The first thing I noticed was rose petals on the floor and second thing was the music. Our song was softly playing on repeat. I looked in the bedroom/lving room and there was champagne and a soft light and roses and I thought "'Oh man my boyfriend is so romantic! I am so lucky!" When I turned around to tell him he was down on his knee with the ring and asked me to be his wife!
    I screamed and cried and laughed and cried and cried and laughed! We danced and drank champagne and kissed and…………well the rest is private and just between us!

    P.S. He was actually at the workshop of Korloff (the makers of my ring) while I was calling him from the bar. They were putting the finishing touches on my ring until the very last moment and Vince had the humongous box in his coat pocket all through dinner and I didn't even know!

    P.S.S. Vince is my true best friend and silly soulmate and I can't wait to be his wife! Our wedding date is July 6th, 2011 in Malta!

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to share our story!

    Love and Hugs!

    Samantha
    http://thesentimentalsuitcase.blogspot.com/

  11. Posted December 15, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Hi beautiful ladies here's our story,

    Vince and I had been dating for 3 years and living in Paris when he proposed. I am a Canadian girl and he is a French guy who met in a bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. We feel hard straight away and after a year together in Canada we moved to India for Vince's job. We have been moving around the world since then and on Nov 27, 2009 we were in Paris France. It was our last weekend together before I went back to Canada for Christmas and we decided to try out a new restaurant in the 11th arrondissement. I was out getting my hair done and was due to meet Vince at a bar for a drink before our reservation. He was 1hour late! I tried not to be pissed and happily drank my drink until he arrived. After a wonderful meal of oysters and lobster and 2 too many bottles of wine we headed home on the metro. Vince gave me the keys to open the door to our apartment. The first thing I noticed was rose petals on the floor and second thing was the music. Our song was softly playing on repeat. I looked in the bedroom/lving room and there was champagne and a soft light and roses and I thought "'Oh man my boyfriend is so romantic! I am so lucky!" When I turned around to tell him he was down on his knee with the ring and asked me to be his wife!
    I screamed and cried and laughed and cried and cried and laughed! We danced and drank champagne and kissed and…………well the rest is private and just between us!

    P.S. He was actually at the workshop of Korloff (the makers of my ring) while I was calling him from the bar. They were putting the finishing touches on my ring until the very last moment and Vince had the humongous box in his coat pocket all through dinner and I didn't even know!

    P.S.S. Vince is my true best friend and silly soulmate and I can't wait to be his wife! Our wedding date is July 6th, 2011 in Malta!

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to share our story!

    Love and Hugs!

    Samantha

  12. Posted December 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh ladies! I love a good story. And an engagement. These are the perfect antedote to my busy busy festive period at work!

    Anna-you can tell that story over and over again as far as I'm concerned! The fact that you didn't know what the TURQUOISE BOX WITH THE WHITE RIBBON was just makes me love you all the more!

    And I'm loving the rucksack stress too-my brother-in-law had to take an engagement ring on holiday fo his best friend and his bag was searched at the airport…cue chaos and sweaty nervous boys in customs!

    Emma, Phil and I did that exact moonlit stroll on our honeymoon and I can't imagine anywhere more stunning and breathtakingly romantic to become engaged-you lucky lucky lady!

    Everyone's engagement stories are beautiful and we're all so lucky in our own ways.

    Amy-I run the risk of crashing the blog wth what I'm about to write! We took 'pre-engaged' to a whole new level. I think it was May that we decided to get married, but we knew we wanted a June wedding and that we were going to pay for it ourselves so we made the decision to not be officially enagaged 'til later in the year. Much the same as you. 'Cept I went out and bought wedding magazines, I started my scrapbook, chatt about it with my Mum and applied for our marriage licence. We were getting married, end of story. So as Clare says, you ARE engaged. For definite.

    That said, despite it being MY idea to not have a ring right away and not to be asked the question until 'later in the year' I totally succumbed to the 'pre-engagement madness'. A couple of friends got engaged over the summer with their weddings planned for the year (or years!) after us and boy oh boy, was I jealous! So I nit-picked and made snide comments and was generally a rat-bag. By the time I'd come to my senses and realised that he loved me and would ask me in his own time it was October and I was firmly expecting a Christmas morning proposal.

    Imagine my actual genuine surprise (I'd been telling everyone who'd listen how Phil would never be able to surprise me!) when one rainy Thursday night in October whilst we were eating Chinese takeaway, drinking wine and watching TV (in my jammies!) he pulled the ring we'd designed together from his pocket and asked me to be his wife. I had never loved him more than in that moment.

    Yay for engagements, official or unofficial! And yay for being able to recognise that sometimes we are a bit snide, a bit whingy and a lot impatient. It doesn't mean we're nasty or selfish. Just human.

    x

  13. Becca
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    Right.

    We'd been together for eight years. Through university. It wasn't like it was 10-18 ten years. We met at aged 20. It's more serious then in my opinion.

    I was a NUTTER. Seriously. We almost broke up I was so derranged. I was a bridesmaid and my friend wasn't bothered and asked me to check out florists and photographers. It went from that to planning mine. With a scrapbook.

    I wasn't even engaged. We'd obviously said 'we will get married' but he wasn't of the opinion marriage would change anything. He said we'd be together until we died so did it matter? I am firmly of the belief you should be married to have children (my opinion-am not judging anyone) so we knew it would happen

    (seriously amy having a date and a venue make you more engaged than me)

    Anyway. We went on holidays, weekends, dinners. Birthdays and Christmasses came and went and I used to cry myself to sleep thinking 'GOD what is WRONG with me'.

    Honestly. It CONSUMED me.

    People would ask 'will it be you' and I'd laugh and say 'one day' and then go home and cry.

    It was horrid.

    Then he went away.

    When he got back I was just so glad he was back and to be honest, I was bored of planning a fake wedding that was probably never going to happen.

    So we're sitting on the sofa. Watching QI and he's made me a cup of tea and he hands me it and sits down which makes me spill it. As I'm making fishwife noises he has his eyes on the TV and says 'let's go ring shopping shall we' and we did and it took SIX weeks for him to come back and for us to pick it up from the guy that made it and then I just didn't take it off.

    From the girl that dreamt of hearing 'will.you.marry.me' from the day I was FOUR I can categorically say that the proposal was so him and so us I wouldn't change it for a million sunsets and one knee jobs or breakfasts at sunset.

    Ooohhh gosh I got all teary reading that.

    If you act engaged and look engaged then you ARE engaged. It doesn't matter that you don't have a ring (hell I don't have a date or a venue) if you KNOW you're going to get married does it?

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  • By A Perfect Proposal? on February 29, 2012 at 9:28 am

    [...] to her engagement, and how that had an impact on the engagement itself. It’s something that I wrote about myself, way back at the beginning of last year, so it’s good to know that I’m not the only one [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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