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How a Lot of Talking and a Little Perspective Slew the Pre-engagement Beast


The thing about weddings (and engagements, and hell, marriage) is that our cultural narrative about them is so strong that even those of us used to bucking the trend and doing things our own way can get pulled down into its vortex. Stacey’s post about waiting for her partner to propose is powerful because she talks about untangling that cultural narrative, freeing herself from it, and then figuring out what’s right for them both. Sometimes I think that learning how to do this during the engagement and wedding planning process is half the point of a wedding… because we need to do it over and over again as we build our families and our marriages.How a Lot of Talking and a Little Perspective Slew the Pre engagement Beast | A Practical Wedding

Dear Team Practical members, who like me, are patiently (or not so patiently) waiting on a ring, or an engagement puppy, or for some ducks to line the heck up, I have some news for you!

Last weekend, my wonderful-beyond-measure boyfriend mentioned on a lazy Saturday morning that he’d been thinking about engagement rings. Now, before you get all “omgamazeballsdiamonds” let me say that this isn’t the first time this has happened.

The conversation went like this:

Him: I was thinking about engagement rings.
Me: (With forced nonchalance) What about them?
Him: What kind of ring you’d like, I guess.
Me: Well, I can find some examples of things I like, if you want.*
Him: Okay, sure.

*No, I didn’t have a secret file of engagement ring pictures on my computer somewhere.

Now. This exchange is remarkable for two reasons. Reason one: when the subject of engagement rings was first ever broached between us, he made it very clear that this was his thing, and that under no circumstances did he want my input, or for me to mention that this was a thing that was actually, maybe, happening at some point. That was six months ago.

But I, I, probably like many of you Practical People, am a do-er. If I want something to happen, I make it happen; if I don’t like how something in my life is going, or I’m unhappy, I think about what’s actually not working, and I change it. I’m that girl who in middle school, and high school, and… college rolled her eyes and sighed heavily at her group project members and then made all the pie charts and Powerpoints on her own. I would rather do all the work myself and secure a positive outcome than leave anything up to my team members and thus, chance.

So, when my boyfriend told me to stay out of his engagement tree house, I freaked out. I called my mom frantically because “I only wear one pair of earrings, and one necklace! HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHAT I WANT IN A RING?” but really I was frantic because I couldn’t relinquish that control. So, for several months I quietly freaked out. Reading APW helped. A lot. But still those romantic comedy clichés and societal expectations were hard to weed out of my mind—they set down roots ages ago, and those roots have grown deep and strong.

Finally, one summer morning, on the way home from a funeral, I burst. “There are things I need to talk about,” I said, “and I need you to not treat me like a crazy person.” So I talked. I cited APW articles like Ang’s, which had helped me to understand the craziness I was feeling and realize that it wasn’t just me. And then he talked. And I talked some more. And that opened the floodgates for a lot of conversations.

When we got home he asked me to send him the articles I had been talking about. So I did, and he read them, and we talked about them. We talked about why we wanted to get married. He asked me to send him some more articles.

And then one day, over actual Italian cappuccinos on the patio of an Italian market, we started talking about our wedding, about the wedding we’d like to have. We talked long after the cappuccino foam had turned into lukewarm swill at the bottom of my mug.

How a Lot of Talking and a Little Perspective Slew the Pre engagement Beast | A Practical Wedding

We kept talking—not that day, but other days after that. Every time we talked about weddings, I felt the roots of expectation recede a little bit. The more we talked, the more he realized it was okay to ask for my help in this big scary thing that he wanted to do for me. The more we talked the more I was able to relinquish control. I realized that the roots weren’t just in me, that they were in him too. He admitted he was scared that whatever he did would fall short of what I deserved. I let him know that would never happen, as long as he didn’t tie a ring to his penis. (Yes. This is a thing that actually happens.)

Taking the leap of actually talking about engagements and marriage did something I didn’t expect—it made our relationship even better than it already was. It made us even more of a team than we already were. Instead of Him and Me entering the scary forest (this is a metaphor) at separate points and hoping to eventually bushwhack our way to the middle and meet there, we’re doing it holding hands. Because after all, aren’t two machetes better than one?

Now, to come back to the present.

After our lazy Saturday morning conversation, I couldn’t wait to find a million examples of beautiful engagement rings that spoke to me. I grabbed my laptop and brought it in bed and we looked at some together. He got up and made breakfast, and I kept looking at rings. But it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. By Saturday evening, I had a single example of a ring I loved. I revised my initial goal from a million rings that I loved to ten rings that I liked. I kept looking on Sunday, finding maybe two more examples of acceptable rings. And then, Sunday evening I shut my laptop in disgust.

Ugh,” I said, “looking for rings is giving me a headache. It’s impossible, I’m sick of it.” And then I looked at him. “Lordy, I can’t even imagine what this is like for you.”

Suddenly I didn’t care whether he proposed tomorrow or ten years from now.

You know the saying about walking in other people’s shoes before you judge them? It’s about perspective, and I think in waiting for our shouted from the rooftops at sunset proposals it’s something that’s too easy to lose sight of.

When I get particularly engagement crazy, when our anniversary, or Valentine’s or some other usual proposal date is coming up, I try to think about it from his perspective, because it’s really, really hard not to get engagement crazy and expect things on days like that.

I think about all the bills he just paid, and how he’s taking me out to a very nice restaurant and how special that is in and of itself. I think about how he would never propose at a restaurant or on Valentine’s Day because that’s what I’d expect, and he wants to catch me as off guard as possible. I focus on the sushi, and how much we love sharing sushi, because sushi is delicious, and so is he.

Now I think about what a pain trying to find the perfect ring is, because I know he won’t settle for anything less than perfect, because he thinks I’m perfect (even though I’m not). So I take a couple of deep breaths and smile as I watch the roots pull back a little bit more.

Photo Credit: From the author’s personal collection

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  • http://smittenimmigrant.wordpress.com Pluis

    Powerful post, Stacey.

    I think you’re spot on when you say that talking, actual real talking slays the pre-engagement beast. I think it slays all kinds of beasts, particularly those of the Expectations species. Am I right in thinking that they look a bit like an octopus? All wriggly arms that dig themselves deep into your business and that unearth themselves to whack you when you least expect it?

    Anyway. I’m very happy for you that you found this calm space to be in. May you have a very happy and expectation-free engagement when the time comes.

  • http://elissabraun.com/blog/ elissa :: ebb & flow

    love this topic and am totally digging your book right now. keep up the great work, as always!

  • KW

    Articles like this help me so much. This one is now added to my own file to show my SO at some point!

    Whenever I think about my pre-engaged state, I just feel whiney. But reading others’ accounts helps me feel better.

    • Jenni

      This, exactly. I think “well if this girl is being so mature about it, I guess I can be, too …”

  • http://justneedthisspace.wordpress.com d-day

    Stacey I think I’m in love with you a little bit, I hope that’s not too weird for you.

    • http://www.seriffim.net Stacey

      It’s okay, I’m a little bit in love with you too. :)

  • Pingback: Hello There! |()

  • Hillori

    “Ugh,” I said, “looking for rings is giving me a headache. It’s impossible, I’m sick of it.” And then I looked at him. “Lordy, I can’t even imagine what this is like for you.”

    As a pre-engaged girl whose boy has been talking about engagement rings for 15 months… I understand. I thought I wanted something different! something vintage! something fabulous! (but not over-the-top). After seeing every-freaking-ring-on-the-planet TWICE, I’ve given up. I don’t care. I am just ready for the official engagement moment whatever ring, puppy, shoes, or charitable donation it brings.

    • http://lizziesayssparkysays.tumblr.com Liz

      Yes to this. I can find a million and one rings I think are stunningly beautiful but when I think about them as MY ring, they just don’t cut the mustard.

    • clampers

      Just an unsolicited piece of wisdom that I acquired having been through the million-and-one engagement ring options…usually your first idea is your best idea. I went through so many rings and then decided to go with my first idea, which made it so much easier.

      • Josephine

        I thought I wanted a princess cut with channels… and I have a round cut with pave. Because it was more sparkly and when I saw it, I knew it had to be mine! (We shopped together since I proposed and there was no way I could tell what she’d like. It took four Saturdays of ring shopping but it was totally worth it. And I loved doing it together)

        My dream ring, which I thought was out of my price range and disregarded turned out to be totally wrong for me when it was on my finger – it looked too tacky, even though it looked perfect on a colleague.

        So… for some people you “just know” what ring you should get, but it’s worth trying them on to make sure because reality doesn’t match imagination. And, does he *have* to buy you the ring before the proposal?

        Good luck, I hope you’ll be very happy whatever you decide.

      • J

        I thought I wanted a thin, eternity-ring-style-thing…. Went into an antique ring shop because it was raining… Chose a big stonking aquamarine dress ring… You just never know what’s going to sink onto your hand like it was made for you!
        (ps I LOVE it :)

    • JESSICA

      Looking for rings can be a total befuzzlement, especially if you’re looking for something unique (aren’t we all in our own way?). I would encourage you to perhaps consider the design-it-together option, if the “romantic comedy clichés and societal expectations” roots have receded sufficiently in your relationship to allow that :) This is the path we took and I’m so glad. There’s not a ring in the world like mine and, more importantly, we both love it.

      There are so many ways to go about it: you choose the stone(s) and he chooses the setting and/or pattern, vice versa, or you just simply design it together. There are phenomenal designers out there who can design and guide as little or as much as works for the two of you. For us, this was a great path to take, and much more accessible and affordable than we might have thought. So, just a suggestion, if you haven’t already considered it.

  • Anon for now

    I agree about the ring. I used to think that I wanted my (future) engagement ring to be a reflection of myself at some deep and meaningful level, and that it would mean a lot if my SO found such a ring – like he would really ‘know me’. Bullshit. Let’s be real here, only I could ever find such a ring for myself, and in truth I’d probably have to design it and make it myself.

    So I don’t really care about the ring anymore. I don’t need him to express his love to me through jewelery. He does it in so many other ways. If I want jewelery I’ll go and buy some myself. I don’t even wear rings on a daily basis, so my other concern is that I’ll get a wonderful engagement ring, and end up not wanting to wear it after 6 months. I like my hands to be free!

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      And realistically, the ring will be meaningful no matter what it looks like, if there’s a ring. The engagement / proposal / rest of your life together is the Real Thing.

      (My ring, for the record, is in no way what I would have chosen, being far splashier than I would have gone for. But it belonged to my husband’s beloved godmother, who died a few years before we started dating. And therefore the ring is pretty much perfect.)

      • Anon for now

        Sounds like it came from the heart :)

  • mimi

    thanks for being in my head apw :) just shared this with the man, as we’ve had some similar conversations lately. i sent him a link to turtle love co, but otherwise, staying out of it, and being as patient as possible.

  • melissa

    “…because sushi is delicious, and so is he.”

    :)

    • melissa

      I started asking for an engagement Volvo. So, we picked a ring together and I got it a few months later. Maybe I should have stuck with the Volvo. :)

  • Rachael

    Last night we were reading in bed, and I started my awesome new copy of APW’s book, which my man gave me for Christmas. I received it not because we are engaged, but because I am a new wedding planning consultant, and like most of you, Obsessed (so Obsessed it must start with a capital letter). When I opened it, I did perhaps think it came with a diamond ring, but it didn’t. And that was okay (sort of). So last night I got as far as page 2 where Meg writes, “I assume that if you are reading this, you are probably engaged”. Ouch. So I read the line out-loud and put (read dropped) (okay maybe slapped) the book on the nightstand, and said, “I think I’m done reading this book for the night”. You can imagine the bewildered look I received.

    I woke up this morning still feeling salty, got onto APW’s site, and read your post Stacey. And that made me feel a little bit better and a little less crazy. He paid our bills last night, and he bought me the APW book because this is something I love and am passionate about and he wants to support me. And frankly he’s quite brave, because how many men would purchase a wedding planning book for their lady in the pre-engaged state (and be cool with 2 Ikea bookshelves full of wedding magazines)?? And like you said, can’t I see the magic in those things, and see how special that is in itself?

    Feeling slightly better, I went into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee, there was a note in front of it – “Press Start!” He had gotten it all ready for me this morning before he left for work.

    There go those roots :-)

  • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

    I started to tear up a little, reading this. I am engaged, but remember vividly the sting of unmet expectations that buzzed continously throughout my pre-engaged state. We did have on-going talks like this, and they did help. I find that we’re continuing these types of talks in our engagement, talks about having children, and hopes and expectations for our future, our careers, our little house of dreams. But man. It is so hard sometimes.

    “I need you to not treat me like a crazy person.”

    THIS. A thousand times this. As amazing as my fiancé is, he doesn’t process things emotionally, the way that I do. I have to remind him sometimes that emotion is not weakness, that it does not preclude rational thought, that it is not a tool of manipulation. That having an emotional reaction to these discussions is ok, and for me, incredibly productive. It’s how I PROCESS. My guy processes things very, very cerebrally. Logically and methodically. It’s not that he’s emotion-less, not at all. We just work through things differently. Sometimes it’s hard for both of us to realize we’re actually on the same page. (Me: You don’t CARE! Him: You’re not being RATIONAL!).

    Truthfully, I know that he does care, and he knows that I am thinking clearly. We just need to remember not to treat each other like crazy people, sometimes.

    • kathleen

      yes yes YES to this. I might have had this exact conversation last night. And for me at least, when I get to this space, that conversation, I back even further into my emotions, into the unknown hazy emotion place…and well, it’s not helpful. It makes me feel lonely, and yeah, a little crazy.

      I would like to tape what you said “I know that he does care, and he knows that I am thinking clearly. We just need to remember not to treat each other like crazy people” above my bed, because, YES.

    • Denzi

      Oh, man, I need to start introducing this sentence into fights/Important Discussions with spouse-person. Because he is exactly like that, and I am exactly like you, and figuring out how to understand each other’s totally foreign reactions is HARD.

    • Maggie

      Kelly, I may be your life twin. Or, relationship twin. THIS! Creepy? Either way, thank you for your comment- as I’ve felt countless times in reading APW, one of the most comforting and amazing things about this community is the ‘OMG EXACTLY- I KNOW’ moments.

      My boyfriend and I have been talking about rings and weddings and babies for over a year, and sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the present waiting for the future to happen. Perspective for me means reminding myself not to lose sight of our baby family we’re already building. Daydreaming about burlap table runners and a whiskey tasting table when we do decide to get married is fun, but the present is more important.

      • kathleen

        After the conversation I mentioned above last night, and reading all these (SO HELPFUL) comments today, I sent my on-the-road boyfriend an email today that said, in part, “I’ll work to be more in the moment, in the good here and now- grateful and aware of this sweet thing we’ve got, and maybe you can work to communicate more with me around the big, future stuff.”

        It’s hard, balancing the grateful for the here and the excitement/anxiety about the future. Especially when I spin into emotion and he goes immediately to logistics and rational. But Maggie, you’re right- the here is the most important.

        • Ashley

          Oh I love all of you. Yes Kathleen to that email you sent. This is something we talk about on a regular basis. When i’m not in that emotional space it so logical to be able to be happy in the here and now and not so anxious/excited about the future. But it seems like once I switch into the emotional me, I loose all sense of reality and the next thing i’m bawling because WE”RE NEVER GOING TO GET MARRIED and he’s loosing his mind because I’m crying again and we both left wondering how we got here again, because in reality we’re so happy together. In short, this is HARD but we’re working on it and I can honestly say the meltdowns like I just discribed are fewer and further apart and that I know that this lesson we’re learning together is only making us a stronger couple in the long run.

          (sorry for all the run-on sentences)

      • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

        Not creepy at all! It is such a relief to know that other people experience the complicated feelings we often we feel must navigate alone!

  • Katie

    “Taking the leap of actually talking about engagements and marriage did something I didn’t expect—it made our relationship even better than it already was. It made us even more of a team than we already were.”

    This is exactly how I felt in my pre-engaged state too. Once we started having really REAL conversations about getting engaged, having a wedding (or not), and being married, we were better. And even now, just 6 weeks after getting engaged, it definitely feels like it is US against the world. Which is exactly how I always want it to feel.

    I didn’t want a ring either, at least not a fancy ring. That money could be better spent on a multitude of things! But he gave me his 92-year-old grandmother’s very fancy, very sparkly engagement ring. Her message to us both was “I hope this ring brings you as much happiness as it brought me.” So now I proudly wear a very fancy, very sparkly ring.

    • Alyssa

      I’ve learned not to underestimate the power of talking! When the FH and I started talking about getting engaged, we had some anxieties we wanted to get past together to the point of feeling comfortable and excited in the engaged/married state (mostly stemming from watching our parents’ marriages struggle). I was a little nervous about bringing a third party in to facilitate conversations, but he convinced me it was worth trying for the sake of bettering our relationship. We found a fantastic couples therapist that we’re seeing FOR FREE though the FH’s employee assistance program at work. (Many companies have programs like that, you can get info from your HR department) It’s getting us to talk about issues that might have been dormant for years until they became problems and you know what – it feels good to start talking about things. We like to think we’re building a communication toolbox that we can use for times ahead.

      And as a tip, he found my ring on Etsy.com. It’s aquamarine with two small diamonds on the sides and I absolutely love it and it’s fun to know it was crafted individually for us. :)

  • Amy

    I love how you learned to keep things in perspective.. something we all need to remind ourselves to do. We can get so caught up in all the future stuff and forget to enjoy all the present stuff which involves the simple act of indulging in being in love.

    Thanks for your wonderful post Stacey!

    • Krista

      I want to Exactly this 1000x!!!
      PERSPECTIVE!!

  • http://oddlyappropriate.com Kelsey

    Good one :-) I loved this post.

  • http://www.accidentallyyours.com Novice Wife

    Huzzah!!!!

    I think all of this is *so* true after marriage as well. When I find myself totally fed up with the hubster and just wanting to throw things, the absolute best thing I can do is back up and try my darndest to see it from his perspective. Because no matter how batsh*t crazy the things he’s saying may sound at the time to me, I know and trust at the end of the day that they must be coming from somewhere sincere and sane because he is, darn him all to heck sometimes, actually sincere and sane. And if I can get there, and see his perspective, it is *such* a relief because then it’s not about fighting, it’s just about us working together to find a solution to the perspective-differences.

  • Kate W.

    “when my boyfriend told me to stay out of his engagement tree house”

    This made me giggle so hard.

    Also, great post. I think talking to each other ends up being the solution for a lot of things, but you only recognize it after the fact. Yaaaaay communication.

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com/ KA

    “The thing about weddings (and engagements, and hell, marriage) is that our cultural narrative about them is so strong that even those of us used to bucking the trend and doing things our own way can get pulled down into its vortex.”‘

    YEP.

    So glad these conversations are taking place.—what I would give to have had APW during pre-engagement hell myself!

  • http://lizziesayssparkysays.tumblr.com Liz

    Stacey, I am so so so there with you. The last many, many months of waiting, planning, talking, waiting more, planning more, talking more has been hard (mothereffing hard) but so incredibly worth it. And there is only more waiting, planning and talking ahead.

    We’re focusing on building up our baby family. Everything we go through makes us stronger. And, god damn, we’re going to have a super rocking marriage.

  • http://twinstyled.blogspot.com LaurenF

    I am definitely *that* group member! I totally buy into the notion that if you want something done right, you need to do it yourself (even though this isn’t always the case). Of course, my now-husband was well aware of that part of my personality when he proposed to me without a ring and with plans to let me pick my own ring out the next day. I so agree that we and our partners need to have frank discussions about the big, life-changing things prior to getting engaged and that we and our partners need to really listen to each other (without treating each other like crazy people!).

  • Jess

    This was EXACTLY my fiancee’s stance before he proposed. He wanted to make it really super special because that is what I deserved, and he wanted to save up and get the perfect ring and he was putting all kinds of pressure on himself, where I didn’t care about all the pageantry, I just wanted to marry him! We talked a lot about marriage, and we knew we were heading in that direction, but the waiting killed me because I also always need to feel in control, and I wasn’t, and I had to accept that, which was hard! But I did manage to chill out and accepted that he was thinking about it as much or MORE than I was, trying to plan the proposal and save for the ring. And when he did propose, it made it all the more special, it really did. And I can remember how anxious and impatient I was, and think about how much time I wasted being upset, it feels so much better to let go! If I could go back a few months I would tell myself, ‘stop, you know and he knows this is going to happen, just enjoy this stage right now, you’ll have time to enjoy the next stage when it comes, so just be present – stop planning! Stop pinning, stop scouring blogs, just stop. That time will come, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun doing the planning together and sharing then secretly drooling over dresses and venues and what theme and what time of year, he’ll have an opinion too and those discussions are fun! don’t try to plan before there’s a ring on it, honestly!’ and I would have told myself to ‘get a hobby!’

  • Janet

    My guy asked me the same thing while walking past an engagment ring display at an antique show, “What kind of ring would you like?” We’ve talked about getting engaged and marriage seriously for the last few months, so the question wasn’t completely out of right field but it certainly took me by surpise. How am I suppose to pick when there are so many rings out there?! Do I pick a natural, conflict free diamond or a man-made one? Do I go with platinum or recycled precious metals? What kind of cut and style?! The list goes on and on…secretly I love art deco/vintage rings but all of the antique rings I’ve found have been woefully much too small for my ring finger.

    As for the boyfriend, I couldn’t have come up with a better line to suit the situation, “He told me to stay out of his engagement tree house.” My guy has told me as such. Yes, he will propose but it will be his decision as to when, where, and how. However, he did sneak my best friend’s phone number out of my cell to get her help with the ring choosing.

    Admittedly the pre-engagement beast still rears its head with all of this going on around me. There are times I just want to throw my arms in the air and yell “ENOUGH!” and just ask him to marry me ring or no ring. But then I come back and read these posts and I can coax the beast back in its cage and give myself a pep talk that the wait will be well worth it.

  • Jenni

    I really, really appreciate this post and your perspective. What you wrote about control really resonated with me. For me, I worry about things (future job, travel plans, wedding plans …) if I can’t control them. It makes me feel helpless. I think part of my wishing that he would just hurry up and propose already is because I feel like I can’t resolve any of these uncertain things until he does. I definitely got the “I want to surprise you, so don’t ruin it, this is my thing” speech and that makes me feel like I can’t talk about our wedding, at all. Which drives the future-planning part of me nuts.

    It’s completely hard not to get expectations during the “typical proposal moments”. I’m trying really, really hard not to for our next meeting in March, because the last thing I want is for that emotional letdown to cloud up a beautiful week. I need to remember that I am taking the steps to end the long-distance and have us be together, which is what I REALLY want. But I think it would help me a lot to have a discussion like you and your boyfriend have done, talking about what we want our wedding and our marriage to look like, instead of feeling like I’m dreaming about this on my own.

  • Katie

    This topic makes me squirmy. I agree with so many things brought up here: talk to your partner! Feelings n’ stuff! Coming to mutual decisions on what works best for everyone! YA! I can find absolutely no fault with any of that, but the whole perpetuating of the cultural myth that proposals must be man + ring + cool, calm, collected lady waiting ever so patiently is rubbing me the wrong way right now. I know that wasn’t the intent, but I would have liked to see the “get out of his engagement tree house” idea discussed a lot more. If your partner just really wants to do a Proposal (capital P, y’all) then that is of course really sweet. It’s just not very clear if that is important to this particular guy and why. The idea that we are supposed to be okay with waiting around while our bumbling menfolk try to find their way down to the sparkly stuff store and take a crack at finding the PERFECT ring (because remember ladies, it has to be as perfect as you are!)… Oh, my! I’m just not sure what to do with that. I’m probably reading it all wrong, but I’ve been thinking about this off and on all day and had to say something!

    • Steph

      I want to exactly this a thousand times.

  • L

    Thank you for the beautiful post, Stacey! I can relate to that feeling of not wanting to relinquish control very well (I’m the duck lady, haha). I just got my proposal after what seemed like the longest wait ever! We’d been talking about getting married for over a year and when I brought up a timeframe, he told me to let him propose in his own time. I was pretty freaked out because I thought I wouldn’t be able to stand waiting with no idea of how long I’d be in limbo. He said he wanted to get some stuff sorted out before we got married (money, job, etc) and I argued that we could sort our stuff out together.

    After getting a good pep talk from APW, I dove in and had a long, frank talk with him. I told him that waiting was making me feel crazy and he looked at me and said, “would it make you feel better if I tell you it will happen before July?” I said that yes, it would and he told me that he loved me and that I was going to laugh when it really DID happen and wouldn’t tell me why. That conversation totally relaxed me and I was able to happily wait until this past Friday the 13th when he proposed with an elaborately edited version of my favorite romantic comedy, Love Actually. It had taken over 14 hours to accomplish and he had been working on it for 6 months with a good friend of ours who is a professional film editor.

    When I saw the scene that contained the proposal I was confused, then elated and then, finally, after he told me the story of trying to get this ambitious project completed and how he had thought of the idea a year ago (right after we started talking about marriage)… I laughed. It was pretty nuts. I had been going crazy and all along he was working like mad to pull off a perfect proposal for me. I cant help but feel a little silly for freaking out, but I am SO glad we had that talk a few months ago. It was good for me to give up some control and trust my partner. Thank goodness for APW!

    • kathleen

      this is such a lovely story L. Big congrats to both of you.

      • L

        Thank you! =)

    • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

      You are the “wiley ducks” L?!?! CONGRATULATIONS! I’m so glad your ducks and his are combined!

      • L

        Haha, yep! That’s me! We did indeed combine ducks (whoa, weird mental picture) and so far it is AMAZING. Thanks for remembering my silly metaphor and for the congratulations. <3

  • http://eemusings.wordpress.com eemusings

    Oooh, ooh! Great post.

    I don’t wear ANY jewellery at all (unless you count glasses….) so I was very wary about the whole ring thing. Not to mention that the boy has no money to speak of. And I don’t really like diamonds and would have preferred a ruby.

    I ended up with his grandmother’s ring. It’s gold. It’s got diamonds. Three of them. Nothing to like from my point of view, on the surface. But it has meaning, and it actually grew on me because of its funky old design (I especially like it in profile, looking straight down the length of my hand). And it didn’t cost anything (I always told him I’d be super pissed if he spent more than a few hundred bucks on a ring that I am likely to accidentally wash down the drain or something one day).

    I will get my ruby, eventually. It’s going to be my wedding ring. Like I said, I don’t wear jewellery, so the pieces I do wear had better bloody earn their place on my body.

  • Michaela

    I made my now-fiance (spoiler!) a 2-page dossier of what I wanted in a ring, emailed it to him, and then nothing happened for a year. (We had a tricky year. That’s OK.) He had the ring made in December and says the saleswoman at the jeweler’s shop told him he was so lucky to have that document.

    And that’s how I was completely surprised by a Christmas Eve proposal with a ring that I picked out myself. (He chose the stone. It’s purty.)

  • Lisa

    Yes! I remember actually crying and throwing a fit when I couldn’t find any rings I liked because in my head I was thinking “if I don’t find a ring, we can’t get engaged, and if we don’t get engaged, we can’t get married, and oh no we’re never going to get married!” Which of course sounds more than a little irrational now that we’re happily engaged, but it made perfect sense to me at the time.

  • http://upupcreative.com julie green

    The next in a series of favorite APW quotes: “Because after all, aren’t two machetes better than one?”

  • Simply MEM

    I had this exact same engagement experience. I brought things up with my BF that I felt it was important to know, and then he yelled at me fort telling him what to do. I didn’t bring up anything marriage/wedding related for the next year. I waited for him to bring anything up again, and he did, eventually. I remember the waiting process being really hard at first. While I had expressed my expectations and worries, he hadn’t expressed any of his. Amd then, I felt the same calmness. I knew I was going to marry this wonderful man, and the engagement and timing of it all wouldn’t matter. It was awesome to finally find this peace. We ended up picking out the rings together (I gave him a ring as well). He proposed on a crazy weekend where we had attended two weddings the day before. This was the reason that we we together and was the only weekend we would be together for the next two months he proposed over coffee and chocolate croissants while sitting in a mountain meadow. We had about two hours left together before we got on separate planes back to our respective places. It was not a Hollywood proposal. We had three hours together to live our engagement experience. We have been engaged for a year and a half and plan to marry in June.

  • http://thelittlefella.tumblr.com Jessica

    I’ve never really thought about getting engaged from my partner’s perspective. If I had to pick a piece of jewelery someone else is supposed to love and wear FOREVER I would probably freak out and give up. I always thought the he had it easy, because I gave him some general guidelines and he knew I would say yes. But would I like it? And its not something easily replaced or returned. I don’t wear my engagement ring during the week (just my band), but I do feel like going home now and putting it on every night so that he knows how much I really do love it.

    I also love this post, because the initial exchange is similar to our proposal story. After a much too large brunch, he brings up what kind of wedding we’d want (which we’d discussed multiple times) and what kind of ring I’d like and as I started to describe it, he pulls out the ring and says, “How about this one?”. But now in hindsight, I remember being really bummed out when our anniversary would come and go with no proposal. It was sure hard to keep my mouth shut and focus on the present. And it was even more strange to get engaged on a random rainy Saturday 10 days after our 4 year anniversary.

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  • Sharon

    Good. I’m not the only one.

  • Veeka

    “I think about how he would never propose at a restaurant or on Valentine’s Day because that’s what I’d expect, and he wants to catch me as off guard as possible”
    He did a wonderful job of that tonight! I won’t give away the details but he managed to catch a theater full of people off guard! Congratulations!