Our Engagement story
We are back from Paris, a trip of a lifetime, and in lieu of recent events there, I wanted to share a story of happiness and love from this city of light.
Our trip in itself was amazing. We stayed in an apartment on the Left Bank just across from Notre Dame and near Saint Germain. It’s an area I would highly recommend, known for local restaurants and boutiques.
Since I had been to Paris before and this was Matt’s first time, we did a lot of pre-brainstorming on places I’d like to go again and places for us to experience for the first time together. Based on the schedules of museums and trains we came up with a loose plan for the week.
Matt apparently had the engagement ring with him for most of the trip, waiting for the right moment, though I was none the wiser. He had originally thought about proposing on the steps of Sacre Coeur, a cathedral set on a hill which overlooks the whole city. What neither of us anticipated was how much the neighborhood had changed since I was last there. While heading toward the church, we were inundated with street vendors selling anything from roasted chestnuts and mini Eiffel towers to cans of beer and fake Gucci bags. It only got worse the closer we got to the church. Our unexpected surroundings had put me in a sour mood. Were we not on the steps of a sacred place?
We decided to head into the church for some peace and quiet. Luckily there was a mass going on and the most beautiful choral of nuns singing. I felt like I was in the abbey from the Sound of Music. It was exactly what we both needed to reset our outlook and appreciate our surroundings. But needless to say, not an ideal experience for one very important question.
The view from Sacre Coeur
On Thursday, we decided to take things a little slower. We had powered through Versailles on Tuesday and the Louvre on Wednesday. We were harried from the crowds and needed to recover.
Our daytrip to Versailles:
Lunch with deux vins rouge
We spent the morning getting lost in the acres of gardens
The Queen's Hamlet, one of my favorite places at Versailles
We walked through the actual palace at sunset, which gave everything a new glow
On Thursday, we slept in then took a quiet stroll through the neighborhood to pick up our now standard breakfast: café au lait and pain au chocolat. We ventured towards the bigger shops of Saint Germain throughout the afternoon and returned “home” in time to get ready for dinner. Every trip we take, I always want to dress up and go out for a nice dinner. Despite the best of intentions, it never happens. Something inevitably comes up.
This time I was determined and after a quiet day, Thursday night was the best opportunity to get dolled up for a night out. Matt had made reservations earlier in the day on a dinner cruise, Le Calife. It was an antique boat, much smaller and more intimate than most cruises, with a dance floor at the bottom floor, stained glass windows, and a menu to die for.
We arrived early and walked along the river’s bank, passing below the locks of love and pausing to talk about “forever love” (I am still oblivious to anything at this point.)
Dinner came and went, and I happily overfilled myself with the first three courses and lots of champagne. It was, on its own, a perfect date night. Our cruise looped to turn around and passed by the Eiffel Tower right at the top of the hour when the twinkling lights go off.
Instead of taking a picture from our vantage, I decided to take video to capture the actual “twinkle.”
I turned back around to put my phone away and return to my calories. <insert excessive patient pause from Matt> I looked down, and to my surprise saw a small Robin’s Egg blue box sitting in front of me. (The best things come in little blue boxes) I looked up at Matt who simply said, “I got you a present.”
My immediate thought was that he had bought a companion accessory to the necklace he got me last Christmas which I wear daily. I even said “ANOTHER NECKLACE?! Is it matching earrings?” I was excited at the idea of this, and felt a little bad I had not thought to bring a gift for Matt on our romantic dinner.
I eagerly untied the ribbon and opened the box, finding a black velvet box nestled inside. This… was not a sterling silver charm.
Inside was the most beautiful pear shaped solitaire ring. I’ve loved this cut for a long time. Though Matt and I never went ring shopping or even talked about what I would like in a ring, he somehow knew exactly what I wanted. I was and still am astounded at his perfect choice.
Matt proposed and I instantly began crying, overwhelmed at the excitement of it all.
My emotional relief came in the shape of our waiter who delivered our desserts at the exact awkward moment in between tears and kisses. He quickly caught on and announced to our small dining room. Insert applause, hugs from strangers, and words of congratulations. The waiter returned with a sparkler propped on top of a third dessert. Then the couple who had been dining adjacent to us, reappeared from the ballroom with a guitar. They explained that they were a band and had just wrapped up their European tour. Naturally, they happened to have their instruments with them and wanted to sing us a song. We were serenaded with the most beautiful rendition of At Last (which we instantly decided would be our wedding song).
Our only picture from the night.
The rest of the cruise was a blur. There were more hugs, more tears, and lots of questions from me.
We decided since we were so far away from everyone and on a completely different time zone, we would keep the news to ourselves for the remainder of the trip and share with family and friends upon our return home. I’m so glad we made this decision. Questions, wedding planning, and stresses could wait. This gave us three days to enjoy being engaged, just the two of us.
Matt did throw out the idea of eloping in Paris before we returned. I briefly entertained the thought (and still sometimes wonder if maybe we shouldn’t have just taken the leap). Although we didn’t go through with it, we did at least get some engagement pictures taken.
With minimal time to research and one day as a window of availability, I picked the first photographer found. Hindsight being 20/20 I definitely would have spent more time vetting portfolios, but we did end up with a couple decent pictures out of the 100 or so that were taken.
Now that the craziness of planning has begun, I find myself looking back on our trip and the engagement. Just like that night, I envision an intimate wedding in a vintage setting with great food, lots of bubbles, and a few surprises. I’ve been waiting a long time for this chapter in our lives, I’m excited to share our continued story of engagement and wedding planning through the next couple months or year (depending on when we set the date).
In the spirit of Thanksgiving week, I am thankful for so many blessings. God answered my prayers and brought me a better match than I could have ever envisioned myself. I am thankful for our story and the journey that brought us to this place. Though it was rocky for both of us before meeting, it’s made us stronger both as individuals and together. I’m thankful and excited for our upcoming celebration and wedding. But most of all, I’m thankful that Matt chose me to be the one who gets to be with him for the rest of our lives.