This was so important; the pressure was really on to get it right. I knew, from our discussions and reactions to clips of other proposals what she did NOT want:
The proposal couldn’t be anything too public, anything that shone a spotlight on us and more importantly on her. So that was a proposal at the football or ice hockey out the window immediately.
Nothing involving musical instruments and a flash mob. No, just no. I’m not musical and no longer have the dance moves I did when I was 21.
Nothing that involved someone else asking the question whilst I struggled to get down to one knee. It would take away from the personal nature of such a thing.
I had lots of ideas, some flouted with the DO NOT’s listed above, but most that I came up with were genuinely what I thought were good ideas.
Now, my better half is an absolute Christmas nut-job. She loves it. So I knew it had to be a Christmas proposal. But how:
- Christmas morning as we’re opening our presents saying “oh I have this for you….”?
- Hide it as an additional present in her Christmas stocking?
- Around the table with her family as we have Christmas Dinner?
- At the end of the day when we think we’re all done with presents?
They all seemed reasonable just not romantic.
I also had the added complication that we were heading to Prague with the in-laws-to-be for a long weekend mid-December to go and see the Christmas markets and delights of the city. Could I do it here? If it snowed could I do it on Charles Bridge? Or over-looking the entire city from the views of Petrin Tower? There were several issues involved in the idea of a Prague Proposal:
- I couldn’t guarantee snow to make it magical
- I couldn’t guarantee we would find time away from her parents for me to pop the question romantically
- I had no idea if either scenario were suitable locations for something to remain personal
- I couldn’t guarantee on getting through airport security with the ring without being caught with it by my girlfriend
So that was Prague out of the running for the proposal. I’m also glad I didn’t. We didn’t really get that quality alone time and both locations I had pre-scouted were so packed with tourists it lacked any sense of romance.
Then I had it. My lightbulb moment!
Christmas decorating proposal. The plan was relatively simple – scrawl in my best handwriting “Will you marry me?” on a bauble and find a way to hand it to her to add to the tree! I believe when the idea came to me I may have finger snapped with self-approval – and if you were to know me, you would know that is utterly ridiculous!
Fine details of the plan came to me in a scattergun approach, but it was forming quickly and easily. The plan was set – Finish decorating the tree and say “oh I came up with an idea I thought you would love, hang on a sec” … I’d go off and get a set of three baubles (adhering to the strict colour scheme we had going) one already decorated with “Will you marry me?” the others blank. I would hand one to my girlfriend and keep one myself, hand out sharpies and got decorating. We would compare then hang and then I would say “I had a go at a third for practice to make sure it was ok” hand it to her then whip the ring out and say the magic words.
What a plan!
I was set. Almost nobody knew. I was fucking pleased with myself.
I then started to struggle. I struggled because I found it difficult to contain the secret. Making sure I didn’t let slip about time I’d spent (or not spent) in my quest for permission. About what the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham (or the drive there) was like. All the little details that would give me away.
But in that time, with the ring sounding like a fog-horn out my underwear drawer I would find myself tempted to ditch the plan and pop the question at times I felt soppy. Watching a great movie and having a good laugh on a duvet day would make me so happy I thought to myself “now’s a good time, do it” but I resisted. Romantic sofa snuggles – again “do it you moron, do it, do it” again I resisted.
I even contemplated carrying it on me at all times in case we suddenly found ourselves doing something that really lent itself to a proposal. But I didn’t. The chance of me losing it was too great to risk.
There was also another difficulty in the waiting period. My girlfriend loves holiday shopping. We had our eyes on going to Bali and Singapore in 2018 as a fun adventure. But after spending the majority of my money on a ring I couldn’t afford flights and she was really looking into jetting off. I needed to remain keen whilst also not committing to anything. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I was paying for a massive holiday and a ring, nor did I want to upset my girlfriend by flat-out refusing to booking anything. It was a balancing act and I just about managed it!
But the one thing no-one prepares you for or warns you about when popping the question is the reaction. This was mine:
- Look of utter shock
- “are you serious”
- Look of a severe vomiting episode was about to happen
- “oh my god”
I get the ring out … then ask the question
- A few more “oh my god”
- Another “are you serious”
- Followed by a “yes of course I will marry you”
With the whole affair being hugged out.
So that was it. The first part of my journey to wedded bliss was complete, I was engaged to be married – the rest is going to be easy, I’m sure!