Saturday, January 21, 2012

Our Engagement Story

For our "engage-iversary", I was really tempted to get copy/paste my engagement story that I wrote on my old blog last year. Then I thought it would be sort of fun to write it out here and then go read the old blog to see how they compare. I wonder what details I will remember a year out that I didn't remember days after, and what details I have forgotten now that made it into the original story.

So anyway, without further ado: Our Engagement Story

It all started in May of 2010 when I went to Asheville for a yearly conference for work. The conference was at the Doubletree Hotel (my fave because they give our warm chocolate chip cookies when you check in... and I couldn't be more thrilled that the Holiday Inn we booked for our wedding guests recently changed over to a Doubletree!). At the very end of the conference, they gave out 'door prizes'. Most of them were things like coolers, small gift cards, framed art, etc. Then they gave out the grand prize which was a two night stay at the hotel. I was, of course, on my phone during this part because guardianship emergencies stop for no one. Then I noticed people looking at me and someone told me I had won. I was thrilled because I'm just not one of those people who wins things. Like, ever.

So towards the end of 2010 we decided to use the two free nights to go to Asheville for a combined one year anniversary (1/4) and Valentine's Day. We went sort of in the middle- the weekend of the 21st. We decided to go to Biltmore because I am so, so in love with it, Steven had never been, and tickets are really cheap after Christmas. So a few weeks before this, towards the beginning of January, I went to visit my friend Jennifer. I remember telling her that weekend that I wondered if Steven was buying a ring that weekend. I didn't really have a reason to suspect, and then I immediately felt silly for even thinking it. I put it out of my head, and then later on the phone with Steven he said something about being in the mall parking garage with his friend and my radar went off again. Mall? Jewelry store? But he told me they had gone to Game Stop so then, again, I felt silly. Leading up to our trip, a few people told me they thought I would get engaged that weekend. I sort of thought we might, but I also kept telling myself that it didn't matter, that I didn't want to expect it, and that I was going to ruin the weekend if I was waiting for an engagement all weekend (especially if it didn't end up happening). The morning we left, I became completely convinced he wasn't going to do it that weekend because he was acting SO normal. I just knew he'd be jittery and on edge if he was going to propose! So, somehow, I put it out of my head and was prepared to just enjoy the weekend. I still don't know how I did it. I guess self talk is even more effective than I imagined it could be!

When we got to Biltmore, we had to go in to the gate house thing to get our tickets and we used the bathroom. Then we parked and opted to walk up to the house instead of taking the shuttle. It was really breathtaking and I'm glad we did that (I've always taken the shuttle) because you come up on the lawn from the far end when you walk, and the house and lawn are just stunning. We went up the steps and took pictures of the house from across the lawn and, besides the frigid cold, it was really romantic and beautiful. We made our way slowly up the lawn, pausing at my request (it's always my request!) for pictures. We did some in the middle of the lawn with the house behind us, and at the side of the lawn, against the rock/stone walls with the mountains behind us. So by the time we got up to the front of the house, I was soooo cold and ready to be inside. So I said something like "are you ready?" and turned to go up the few steps into the front doors. Steven grabbed my jacket sleeve and, before I turned around, I heard him say "Wait, I want to ask you something." That little scene is fresh in my mind because as soon as the question came out my heart immediately started to pitter patter. By the time I turned fully around, he was down on one knee. The box was sort of bulky, so it took him a second to get it out of his pocket. That second felt like forever! My mind was racing with "OH MY GOD HE'S GOING TO PROPOSE!!!! IS THIS FOR REAL??? I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!!!". You get the idea. He got the box out, opened it, and asked if I would marry him. It's funny, because I had to ask him later if he had said anything. It was like in a movie when the person is looking at something, but the sound stops. That totally happened. I saw what he was doing, but I didn't hear him, the people around us, birds chirping, nothing! I pulled him up to kiss me and then he put the ring on me. I believe I began talking in a really high pitch, annoying voice at that point. I didn't realize it until this couple walked up to us, and then I was really embarrassed because I hadn't even recognized that other people were around since I was so focused on what was happening. I think I had a high pitch screech of "When did you get it? Oh my gosh I can't believe we're engaged!".

So this older couple came up to us and the lady said she didn't want to interrupt but that she thought the proposal was so sweet and was so glad they saw it. The lady hugged me and the man shook Steven's hand. That is still one of my favorite moments. It was really exciting to share it with someone else- even someone we didn't know! They offered to take our picture, and I am SO glad because I love that picture. We are in front of the lion statue (which is where he kneeled) and I'm sort of teary, and we are both obviously very happy. They left us alone then and we went inside the house to a bench since it was so cold and we talked for a few minutes after we called our parents. (I called friends later on after Biltmore and a dinner together.) They have this thing inside where they force you to get your picture taken and then try to sell it to you on the way out. Those things usually annoy me to death, but I bought it and love it! It has the date on it which I love, too. We went through the house (how we were able to focus on the house, I'm not sure!) and randomly people who I guess had seen us get engaged would come by and say congratulations, giving us goosebumps all over again. I think we spent half of the walk through the house testing out the word 'fiance'. 

So after I got more details from Steven, it made the story even better. He did go ring shopping the weekend I was gone. It's so cute because he went to three different stores and learned the entire diamond system of the C's. The part I find the most endearing is that he purchased the diamond and ring separately, which I love because that means no one has ever tried my band on. But he wanted to make sure the diamond sparkled enough, so he had the security guard escort him out to the parking lot so he could see it sparkle in the sunlight! He hid the ring in his sock drawer (I think) and had decided over Christmas, while he was home talking with his mom, that he wanted to propose. The day of, he had the ring in his inside jacket pocket. He put a glasses case in the outside jacket pocket so if I bumped/brushed him and suspected something, he could pull out the glasses case. I also specifically remember being in McDonald's that morning before we drove to Asheville and he wouldn't stand beside me as we waited for our food. I remember asking him "You know I don't bite, right?" and he told me later that I kept going on the side of him where the ring box was, so he finally just stood back a little bit. How he was normal the whole ride to Biltmore (4 hours) I have no clue, and I don't think he does either, but that definitely contributed to it being a total surprise, which I love.

It's been a great year being Steven's fiance, but I am more than ready to become his wife!!!! (In 2 months and 3 weeks, but who's counting?)