Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Obligatory Proposal Story

This started as a post about wedding planning, and then I realized I couldn't tell the story of my present without telling the story of how we embarked on this whole "wedding" jaunt. So, I started writing the proposal story, planning to fit thoughts about wedding planning around the edges.  They didn't fit.  Apparently, you have to start at the beginning sometimes.

K proposed to me in December 2010.  I had spent the previous six months in Missouri, and he'd flown out to visit, help me pack, and drive back to the Northeast with me.  He kept texting someone while I was driving* and, when I asked what was up, he told me he was asking his dad about the weather.  Reasonable enough-- it was December, and I hate trying to page through radio stations looking for the local forecast.

We had planned to spend a few days with my family, a few days with his, and then I'd go home in time for us to spend the holidays with our respective families.  In particular, we hoped to participate in his family's tree-trimming tradition: they make margaritas and everyone takes turns hanging ornaments.  (A brilliant tradition, in my opinion.)

Trouble struck, though: his father, who works in a different state, got held up at work and couldn't make it back as soon as he had hoped.  Meanwhile, a nasty snowstorm was brewing, and, while I love my little '97 Honda Civic, no one wanted me to test its ability to drive in a blizzard.  So, I checked the weather and made the decision to head out early, missing the tree-trimming party.  I said my good-byes and opened the door to leave.

"WAIT!" said K's mother.  One does not trifle with K's mother.  I stepped back inside, closed the door, and waited as she began to rummage in her sewing room.  She emerged, beckoning to K, with a cylinder wrapped in paper featuring brightly-colored cartoon cats.  "Here," she said, plunking it into his hands.

brightly-colored wrapping paper with cartoon cats and dogs.
This isn't the same wrapping paper, but it's similar enough.
Uh-oh, I thought. The thing in K's hands was a bit larger than a baseball-- not the size of a ring box at all-- I had a bad feeling about it.  He handed it to me, and I opened it slowly, trying to delay the inevitable.

I was right. "Koala Marsupial Mammal,"** he said, using my full name, "Will you marry me?"

Speechless, I noticed that there was a piece of onion peel on the floor.  Oh no, I thought. I am going to remember this forever, and K proposed to me with a piece of onion peel on the floor. 

I think I needed some prompting. I don't quite remember, though: I was focused on the onion peel.  "Yes?" I said, trying to be happy.  The ring, according to his mother, it had belonged to her great-aunt.
picture of my engagement ring
Delicate; not flashy. Doesn't look out of place on my hand.
Hugs ensued all around, and the K and I went out for pizza to celebrate at a charming local shop where entertainment consisted of two gentlemen discussing the hours they could give a third gentleman while continuing to pay him under-the-table. K explained that he'd meant to give me the ring, disguised as an ornament, as part of the tree-trimming party that never happened. I tried not to wish he had waited or that he had found an excuse to keep me there, so I could have the prettier story.  After we ate, I called and told my mom, dropped him off, and ended up catching part of the blizzard on the drive home after all.

I then proceeded to tell as few people as possible. First off, I didn't want to call attention to myself-- it seemed rude to call people and talk about myself. Secondly, though, I wasn't quite ready to be engaged, thought I didn't tell K that.  I said "yes" because the answer wasn't "no" and I thought it would be "yes" if I just gave it some time (and I was right about that, too).  Then people started asking if we'd set a date for the wedding, and I really didn't want to tell anyone, because I got sick of saying "no, we don't know, sometime after we both graduate and have a little money set aside".  I had never thought about weddings before. Why was the wedding important? We had simply agreed to be a family together-- wasn't that the important part?

It turns out that that while agreeing to join together into a family unit is indeed the important part, it is not the only important part. These "wedding" things are pretty important, too: they mark a transition, and they bring the community of awesome people who are going to support you through the transition together for a celebration.

So, we've been engaged for nearly eighteen months, and I think we have a pretty decent idea of how we'd like the wedding to go.  We've mostly figured out what's important to us: avoiding debt, including our families, having a child-friendly event, taking enough time to actually see our guests, and avoiding a sit-down reception because we hate being rooted to a table.

We still haven't quite set a date.

Quick note of disclaimer for wedding-related posts: I would love to invite positively the entire world to my wedding. Sadly, we do not have infinity money, and K would probably be overwhelmed if the entire world showed up. So, if you don't make the guest list (if we even have a guest list) it is not because we don't love you. We just have a giant family, and that's going to impact how many other awesome people we can invite.
*We are still working on getting him his license, so his job was to keep me awake and make sure I didn't do anything stupid while merging.
**Note: not actually my full name

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