Love is a beautiful thing.
Now isn’t that an unconventional way of starting a blog post on The Misanthrope?
And because I have been so in love with my best friend for well over 5 years, I decided I had no choice but to ‘pop the question’.
It was a lovely moment. In St. James Park, London, which is a special place for the two of us. Then, once she finally got off her bloody phone, I gave her a kiss and there was a ring waiting for her when she opened her eyes.
1, 2, 3… AWWWW.
And thankfully, she said yes.
But when I say I never want to get engaged again, I don’t just mean because she’s the one and blah, blah, blah.
(Aaaand, back to normal now.)
The process of preparing for an engagement is bloody stressful. And I’m a pretty organised person.
What is a joyous moment for the person getting asked the question, is months of stress-related headaches, cold sweats in the middle of the night, and a period of constant doubt.
Picking The Ring
I like to think I know her better than anyone else; even herself. Lucky old me.
So that makes the process of picking a ring, easy? Right?
Firstly, a decision needs making on how much money you can set aside for the project of finger branding. And in my opinion, it needs to be somewhere between a ring from Argos that looks like a child’s plaything, and not being able to eat and drink for the next six months.
So I spent many-a-breaktimes at work scouring jewellery websites, either laughing at the prices or choking on my Alpen breakfast bar.
Did I want a solitaire cut? (I’m still not even sure what that means).
Just a single diamond on a ring? Three? Or multiple ones of different sizes?
Should it have twists in it, and how big should the actual rock be?
In the end, my final decision was what I liked the looks of. A twisty thing with a diamond, with smaller diamond things decorating the top of the ring. Apparently, it symbolises the joining together of two lives…
So once the final decision is made, it’s then a case of figuring out the size. And I couldn’t have even blatantly asked her because she wouldn’t even know what size her finger was.
This is when my sleuthing skills were put to the test. By which I mean I put one of her rings on my pinkie finger, which it fit nicely, and then measured my finger. O.
So then once all the information is gathered, and enough courage is plucked up to spend THAT amount of money, it was time to actually purchase it.
Just over a week before the day, I ordered the ring from Goldsmiths. 2-3 working days they said. Brilliant, I thought. That even gives them time to lose it in the post.
2 to 3 working days ticked around and no parcel was received. Turned out, Goldsmiths didn’t have the ring in stock, like they had said, and it took them a number of days to actually figure that out.
However, they might be able to get it to me a week later, if I crossed my fingers. And that morning at work became an absolute blur.
But then I remembered my final decision had been between two rings. Slightly more expensive, but it looked quite familiar to my final choice. A quick check showed that not only was it in stock but had guaranteed next day delivery.
So with that, I forked out more money for another ring and cancelled the Goldsmiths order. And the next morning, a shiny ring arrived from Ernest Jones.
Picking A Location
Everyone goes to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the London Eye and pops the, with a glass of Prosecco in hand. And everyone else around you claps and looks happy, despite you overshadowing their own special moments.
Or they take their partner out for a slap up meal dressed in a suit, and with food stuck between their teeth, gets down on bended knee. And everyone else claps and looks happy, despite you overshadowing their own special moments.
Well, I was never going to do anything like that where everyone is looking at me. And undoubtedly, at least one person would be hoping it blew up in my face so they have a good story to tell. I couldn’t be dealing with that.
And luckily for me, I’m a big believer that the engagement should match the couple. And besides, if I’d done anything too flashy, she’d have worked out something was going to happen.
That’s when I suggested we should have a weekend break in London and booked a hotel for a few nights. Of course, I allowed her to pay for the train fare so she didn’t suspect anything.
The ultimate location I had chosen was St. James Park. And as she now gleefully tells anyone who will listen, it was our special place when we were at university in London. When we wanted to just chill out, we’d go and spend an afternoon there feeding the squirrels, ducks, and geese.
Then I discovered a few days before, that the area would be closed for the weekend thanks to Mark Cavendish deciding he wanted to win another medal. But luckily, they would only be in the setting up phase when I wanted to do it. Phew!
Picking The Moment
With the ring hidden in my camera bag and a destination in mind, we had to get there. Luckily, she needed no convincing that we should repay the Queen, and her park full of animals, a visit.
So we purchased a modest picnic from Marks & Spencer’s (after all, it wasn’t just a picnic, it was an M&S… Oh, never mind) and we set off to find a tree to sit under to eat it. Luckily, we found a spot where the ground wasn’t too wet from the morning showers.
And it wasn’t long before we started to eat our lunch that a goose came over to start pressurising us into giving it some food. After giving chase, it finally got the hint and moved onto the next victim.
Food all gone, she went on her phone. And she was one her phone for quite some time looking up the BFG dream jars. All the time, I’m sat trying to discreetly keep a large ring box out of sight with growing nerves.
Finally, phone down. We kissed. And when her eyes opened, and there was a ring presented to her…
Lovely? I thought so.
Sharing The News
I had good intentions. I had it all planned, prepped and ready to execute.
Of course, there were certain people she wanted to tell straight away, and she did. Albeit not always receiving the reactions she was looking for.
But anyway, I had devised a plan. Wouldn’t it be great to send everyone a personalised postcard, with a picture of us and the ring, to tell them the good news?
Of course, it would. Better than having people find out from Facebook or down the grapevine.
And Funky Pigeon does just the thing. All it took was an age of fiddling, and they were all processed and ready to be sent that day via first class post. So, with the next day being a Saturday, people would receive them in the morning.
Except, out of the nearly 20 we sent out, only 2 actually arrived the next day. A couple more received them on Monday, with most people getting them on Tuesday or Wednesday. One arrived over two weeks later.
But, y’know, that’s first class post for you.
In the end, she ran out of patience and put it on Facebook anyway.
After all, there’s only so many times you can ask people whether or not they received the postcard before you actually have to tell them why the postcard is so important anyway.
The Deed Is Done
For the evening, I had booked a table at All Bar One near Euston station, only to find they hadn’t actually reserved a table:
“If you can find a table, you’re welcome to sit at it.”
But luckily, the Prezzo down the road was quieter, and we had a lovely meal to celebrate. And the rest of the weekend went swimmingly well.
So anyway, that’s why I’m never getting engaged again.
Although I got the result I wanted, it was just so full of difficulties. At every stage of the process.
How could I possibly want to go through all that again?
So what advice would I have for people planning an engagement?
Do it spontaneously.
By overthinking it and planning every detail, you’re only allowing it more opportunities to go wrong.
Of course, if you ask my fiancée, she couldn’t be happier. She’s proud of the story she gets to tell everyone and proud of her ring. After all, she doesn’t see all the things that went wrong.
Now, the next stage is actually getting married. And I’ll soon get dragged to wedding fairs and made to make decisions about things I don’t know about.
But you know what? I’ve done my part. So I think I’ll leave it up to her to arrange, and I’ll just turn up on the day. Sounds fair, doesn’t it?
So the answer is no, we will not be signing up for Don’t Tell The Bride.
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