19 Nov 2018

Wedding Diaries - Engagement

Welcome to the very first post dedicated to all things wedding! Other than giving you little snippets along the way during the planning process in my Sunday posts, I wanted to start a purely wedding-related series. I think this will be the only pre-wedding post. The others will all follow post-wedding, once the big reveals are done! I want to keep many things under wraps as to keep our guests surprised on the big day, but will reveal all in due time. Being exactly two months out from the big day, I figured the best place to start was with our engagement story! Let's begin, shall we?

I'll start by saying that my partner and I have been a couple for many years, (precisely 9 at the point of engagement) and were both on the same page when it came to marriage. The subject had come up many times and we agreed that marriage was in the cards, but that we were in no rush. We would enjoy our lives and check-off other milestones such as buying a house, which we thought was a better investment in our future than dishing out all of our savings on a lavish party. We would cross that bridge when we got to it and I was at peace with that plan. I am not the kind of girl who checked out engagement rings every chance she got nor had I dreamed up my future wedding during my childhood. I firmly believe a wedding should be representative of the couple and not just whatever fairy-tale the bride dreamed up in her mind. On that note, I want to point out that I trusted my partner entirely to pick out the right ring for me when he was good and ready. Honestly, at this point, getting legally married wouldn't change a thing in our day-to-day lives, so the timing did not matter in the slightest. Besides, I think the surprise element is the most special when it comes to engagements. I did however warn him to avoid clichés such as proposing on my birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day or any other holiday. It's been done time and again and I personally feel it lacks creativity! What comes next is all the background information my fiancé shared with me after he'd popped the question. I figured I'd present things in a chronological order to sort of tell the story through his eyes, his version of how it came to be.

I can't pinpoint the exact moment my fiancé decided he was going to propose, but he confessed to having saved up for a ring for a few years. I had no inkling of how much or how long, but those details don't matter in the grand scheme of things. I do know that in early 2016, he had saved up enough and starting ring shopping.

Actually, being the ever clever guy he is, he starting the ring recon mission years prior! Muggins here was completely oblivious to his top-secret mission. If I remember correctly, I had attended a Christmas event at my favourite jewelry store in 2013. I had a friend tag along and it was the perfect girl's night (canapés, cocktails and jewelry). This spot was a regular of mine at the time and I was there constantly because they had a Pandora counter (I was slightly obsessed.) My friend was into rings so, naturally, we gravitated towards the ring displays. Turns out my favourite attendant was working that counter that evening. We proceeded to try on a bunch of engagement rings and had a good old time. Little did I know, my fiancé called the store the next day and asked the attendant if there was a particular ring I had liked. Lucky for him, she knew me well and remembered the style I'd preferred. He took down the model number and had hung onto it ever since! All I have to say is: smooth.

Already knowing which style of ring he wanted, he started shopping for a diamond. He took this very seriously and studied all things diamonds for a while before finding the perfect one. He wanted a Maple Leaf Diamond because of what it represents. These diamonds are mined in Canada, under sustainable and ethical conditions. These are important considerations in our day and age. I even have an authenticity certificate with a tracking number that pinpoints the exact mine my diamond came from! The other reasons for this type of diamond were sentimental: my father is a miner and my fiancé is from a mining town. This connects both families. Once he bought the diamond, he found a jewelry store that sold Tacori rings and purchased the setting for the diamond.  

Now, all he had to do was propose. He hadn't gotten that far in the planning yet and was waiting for the right moment to present itself. He had already been carrying the ring around for a few months when we had the fire. I won't sugar coat the situation because it was tragic and devastating. This has by far been the most trying time in our lives. Needless to say, this wasn't the right time to propose. We had to work through this less-than happy period before moving on to other things. The saying "Life happens when you're busy making other plans" has never rung truer. Luckily, the ring was in the car, so it was not lost in the fire. My fiancé brought it back to the jewelry store and asked them to keep it in their safe while we got back on our feet. I'd like to point out that I was in the dark about all of this at the time!

During the many months we were displaced, he had dreamed of proposing to me the day we moved back into our fully redone home. Again, planning was futile! The house was barely liveable and there was still so much to be done. The timing still wasn't right. At this point, he had collected the ring from the jewelry store and started carrying it with him once again.

Fast-forward a few months to spring 2017. We were discussing summer vacation possibilities and settled on spending a week at my parents' house. They live on a farm and it's the most perfect place to spend the summer. My fiancé had never been at that time of year, so it didn't take much convincing. Besides, he was happy enough just exploring all the different lakes in the area (yes, he brings his boat wherever we go!) He decided that would be the perfect opportunity to propose. His mind was made up!

On the first day of our vacation, he made plans for early-morning fishing with my dad. I thought nothing of it. It's totally the type of thing they do. He wanted to ask my dad for my hand in marriage. Not because we are super traditional, but because my dad is a little old school and it was a sweet thing to do. My fiancé was a little nervous because it's the type of thing that would make anybody nervous. He was trying to set the scene for a good conversation and even went as far as lending my dad one of his good fishing rods. This was his biggest mistake... Anybody who knows my dad, knows you never lend him your best stuff. Upon the first cast, my dad lost grip of the rod and the whole thing flew out of his hands and sank to the bottom of the lake. Just like that, the expensive rod was gone! I am still trying to figure out how my fiancé kept his cool because I would have been upset to say the least. When I asked him about it, he said that he now had the upper hand because my dad could not possibly refuse after pulling a stunt like that! I like his reasoning! My dad was more than happy when he finally asked him. His answer is the sweetest thing though! He said: "Prends pas juste la main, prend toute l'affaire!" (Don't just take the hand, take the whole package!) Those were the exact words my grandpa had told him when he asked for my mom's hand in marriage! This just makes my heart melt. My dad is the dearest! Now that my fiancé had my dad's blessing, he just had one things left to do.

I remember when they got back from fishing and told us the story. My mom and I both exclaimed: Why on earth would you lend him your good rod? Funny how well we know my dad... After having a good laugh about the whole thing, my fiancé suggested we go for a hike that afternoon. I was down, didn't have much planned that day. He suggests a particular trail with a lookout. This should have been my first clue... We are in the country and can hike pretty much anywhere, but he wants to drive 40 minutes to go to this particular spot. He had been doing some research! Having grown up in the area, I'd heard of this trail, but never hiked it. I was getting a bit annoyed with how long it was taking us to get there and we had to ask for directions a few times. At this point we are deep in the bush and on winding dirt roads. We finally make it to the base of the trail.

It starts out ok, not too hard. After twenty minutes or so it was getting really hot and muggy and the bugs were starting to really get to me. The second you stopped moving they would swarm you, so it wasn't the best. The higher up we got, the more challenging the trail. The real kicker was the mud! It had stormed the day before and the woods were still very much mucky. It was so bad that parts of the trail were flooded. I was getting increasingly annoyed by all the little things and really didn't want to get my good running shoes all muddy. (I can be a tad particular about that kind of thing...) (I know, I know.) After 50 minutes, I had pretty much had enough and was like, forget the lookout, I got my workout in, let's head back. My fiancé was determined to get to the top (which is very outside of his character). This should have been my second clue... He wanted to get to the lookout because he thought it would be the perfect place to propose with a breathtaking view. I mean, he gets point for trying. I, however, was done! When he finally gave in and starting heading back he was fuming. He was so mad that he was walking way faster and further ahead of me. I couldn't even see him at some point. All I could think of was why on earth is he so upset over a hike? Completely clueless over here...

Once back in car, we stopped at the tourist information spot in town to see what the actual trail loop was and how long it should have taken. I had the brilliant idea of checking my Fitbit GPS tracking of the hike to compare with the map. Big mistake. The only thing it did was show how close to the top we actually were! We were just a few meters off... Way to add insult to injury. The ride home was pretty quiet. When we got there, my dad was reading on the porch and casually asked how our hike went. I start off on this rant about all the mud and bugs, etc. I think it was clear to my dad that the proposal had not taken place! He had no follow-up questions!

For my fiancé though, it was back to the drawing board! In hindsight, I feel really bad about the way that hike went. I definitely did not help in any way. There was more pressure now than ever because he wanted to do it before my dad had to go back to work in a couple days. He wanted him to be around to celebrate once it happened. Later on that afternoon, while sitting on the beach, I asked my mom if we should go out for dinner the next day, the last evening with dad. My fiancé had never been to the fancy restaurant nearby and I wanted to take him. My mom said to ask my dad because he had just had a recent, unforeseen expense (fishing rod). Knowing what he did, my dad thought it was a great idea so we made a reservation. Yeah, I unknowingly planned my own proposal celebration dinner. I did not make this easy! My poor fiancé had to work hard for this proposal!

The next day, in the early evening, my fiancé suggested we go to the beach for a quick swim before getting ready for dinner. I obliged. It was just the two of us. When we got there, the water was extremely wavy. I mean, these were massive waves! That was enough to convince me not to go in. Well, he wasn't having any of it today. He was determined to see this through! He grabbed my hand and said we'd go in together. Ok! For some reason, because of the big waves, I thought the water would be cold. That was not the case. The water was really nice. We splashed around for a bit and then walked out. I was staring out at the water while he was getting the towels from his bag (and the ring!) I wrapped myself in my towel and continued looking out at the sun starting to set. When I turned around he was on his knee with an opened blue box. It took me a few seconds to process, and there was an awkward pause, before I blurted out: Seriously? He gave me a confused look and said: Yeah, seriously. He then asked me to marry him and I said yes! Let me explain the long pause. At the time, my phone case was a  blue with seahorses, the same blue as the box. When I turned around, my initial thought was: Oh, he took the initiative to take blog photos for me! (Thinking he was holding my phone.) I was really caught off guard! He truly surprised me, so he got an off-the-cuff reaction! You can't make this stuff up! We always have a little chuckle now when we use the word "seriously".

He ended up proposing on my childhood beach with my dad's blessing and then we got to celebrate the joyous event over dinner with my parents. I couldn't have asked for a more personalized and thoughtful proposal. That is why we chose to do our engagement pictures on the beach where it all went down and by the bridge near my childhood home. Simply put, it was perfect!

This is the first time I post anything online about our engagement. We preferred announcing it to people in person and getting to see their reactions. This was important to us because we got to share in the joy of the moment with our nearest and dearest! Looking back, it was the best way of doing it because we will get to cherish those reactions for years to come. The age of the Internet has its upsides, but there is something to be said about good old face-to-face interactions!

Photos by Nishiime Photography. Used with permission. 

On her
Sweater: Banana Republic (similar) | Shirt: Banana Republic | Jeans: Gap | Cape: Dynamite (similar) | Earrings: Callura (similar) | Necklace: (gift) (similar) | Boots: Henri Ferrera (similar)

On him
Shirt: Wind River (similar) | Sweater: Filippo Novelli (similar) | Jeans: Mark's (similar) | Watch: Akribos XXIV (similar) | Shoes: Steve Madden (similar)

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