Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So Do You Have a Wedding Date Yet?

Daydreaming about planning a wedding in Massachusetts, checking out wedding sites, and being congratulated on my recent engagement, NEVER gets old.  On the other hand, the question that has bugged me, like, from day one, is, “So do you have a wedding date yet?” 

“Well, no, we haven’t set a date.”

*Sour face*

“Well, he has to apply for a Visa before we set a date, of course.”

“So how long does that take?”

“Well, we don’t know…”

The other thing that bugs me is the fact that we can’t even start the Visa application process, due to some personal family issues.  So hearing, “Do you have a wedding date,” makes me cringe awkwardly every time.  I’m thinking and hoping and wishing and praying for a wedding date in the summer of 2011.  The issues are supposed to be worked out in a year’s time, so we can apply for the Visa, and then I can start booking vendors.  And I really want a wedding date in the summer, since I like outdoor wedding sites, plus as a teacher I have all that time off to get ready, get married, go on a honeymoon, and help Adam get settled into life in America.  Yet Adam doesn’t want me telling people at work a wedding date that in case we have to change it.  Which I totally understand. 

It’s just awkward when people bug you.  Do they think you haven’t thought about it?  Do they think I’m not DYING to set a date?  Don’t you think I’m checking out wedding sites and everything else and getting anxiety over whether things will book up?  If we didn’t want to be married, the whole engagement thing would not have happened, so do they think they’re being cute rushing us?  I feel like telling them, “You’ll be the first to know.”  Sorry mom, I’m calling the busybodies with a wedding date first. 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to Work: My Surprise Engagement

Of course I had Emailed my mom the day I got engaged.  I wanted her to see the photos of the ring.  But to everyone at work this was a surprise engagement.  And I reveled in the attention that my engagement announcements made.  All the teachers ask each other that first day back, “How was your summer,” or in my case, “How was England?”  So to be able to flash my bling and announce, “Great, I got engaged!” was awesome.  All the happy screams and hugs and congratulations.  It’s a once in a lifetime thing, announcing a surprise engagement.  I had really been looking forward to making my engagement announcements to everyone and seeing their reactions, and they did not disappoint.  And I did not get tired of it at all.  Even when someone said to me 2 months later in November, “Hey, I hear you got engaged?”  (Someone at work who I’m not all that close to, obviously) I did not get tired of saying, “I sure did.”

What was REALLY interesting to me, and ladies, pay attention to this one when your time comes to make your own engagement announcements, is when I revealed my surprise engagement to each person, which people hugged and congratulated me, and which people looked at/grabbed my hand for a good look at the ring (and if they did both, in which order).  As you can guess, the people you’re closest to hug first and gawk later.  So this ring really is a symbol of love in more ways than one.  It’s even a good friendship litmus test.

The people at work chipped in for an engagement present for Adam and I.  They got me a little plaque that says “And they lived happily ever after…” and a plate.  The plaque is just my style, cream with gold script, and it looks PERFECT above one of our engagement photos.  The plate, someone explained to me, is a cake plate.  It says “Celebrate” and has primary colored stars around the lip.  So on the thank you note I wrote I let them know where I hung the plaque that I love, and I told them that Adam is thrilled about the cake plate because now I’ll be obliged to make him cakes.  I got cards too, which was very nice.  It made me wonder though, if I want to do a scrapbook of engagement stuff or what.  I save everything, but I’m just not sure what to do with it. 

And the other thing that really made me smile was my former students did not forget about me on the first day of school.  Four of them (including my 2 favorites) came up to me and asked what my news was, so I got to make engagement announcements to them too.  One boy said “I KNEW it.”  Which surprised me.  And another boy said, “All right Miss Dawn!”  And gave me a fist bump.  Yeah.  And even my NEW crop of students noticed, which surprised me.  It took a couple weeks before they would get so personal, but a few said they thought my ring is pretty.  And one even noticed a card I had on the wall behind my desk that was partially hidden, that said “Congratulations on your engagement,” and she said, “You’re engaged!?”

Again, it never gets old.  I’m not thrilled about having to continue the long distance thing for 2 more years, but having a long engagement has its perks.  Once you’re married very few people say, “Awww, you’re married?!”  I’m sure that will have its own rewards, which I look forward to.  But for now, I’ll just enjoy the journey that is my engagement. 

Monday, August 17, 2009

Engagement Director’s Cut: Ring Sizing Chart/Jeweler Fail

This is embarrassing.  So much so that I didn’t even want to put it in my other engagement post.  That one was the happy one.  That one was about the most important parts of our engagement, which was that it was perfectly romantic, we love each other, and we’re committed to spend our lives together.  Only happy things are allowed in that post.

So here’s what I DIDN’T tell you.  And what I tried to hide from Adam (though he was sharp enough to notice, unfortunately).

The ring didn’t fit.

Not even close.

As he slid it on my finger, I immediately knew I was going to need my ring resized, but of course I didn’t care until the next day.  He knew right away too, that it went on way too easily (and this is a man who does not wear jewelry).  I knew he would be disappointed about the loose ring.  After all, he specifically waited until I could go ring shopping with him in order for the professional to determine my finger ring size.  He'd helped me find a ring sizing chart like this one but that had English sizes prior to the visit.  So of COURSE I didn’t blame Adam.  That jeweler, or his people or whatever really dropped the ball when he tried to size my ring.  I later learned it was a size and a half too large. 

I tried to down play the loose ring with Adam to make him feel better.  I just kept telling him how beautiful that it is.  And it is!  I put a Band-Aid around the underside of the band to keep it from slipping right off before I could go have my ring resized, and that helped a lot in terms of feeling like it was secure.  But it didn’t help the fact that it was very uncomfortable against my pinky and middle finger having what felt like a “spacer” there between them.  I’d try to close my hand and feel this gap.  Really hard to not think about, since I WANTED to think about all the good things the ring symbolizes, and to keep looking at it.  Again, the loose ring didn’t put a damper on the day itself, but I’m telling you now readers, stuff happens.  Not everything regarding your engagement will go perfectly because no one is perfect.  If your fiancé doesn’t get your finger ring size, it’s fixable.  You just have to smile and focus on the positive.  Lifelong love!

Attempting to remedy the loose ring problem was not so simple either.  We couldn’t go back to the jeweler to have him size my ring correctly because I was leaving in 2 days.  And even if he did rush it, I didn’t want my last day with my new fiancé to be spent on an errand.  So we’d have to pay to get my ring resized.

Adam wanted me to do it right away.  Always practical.  I on the other hand, wanted to wait until everyone at work had gawked at it for a little while, haha.  It just would not have been the same if my first day back went something like this:

“I’m engaged!”

“Congratulations, that’s awesome!” *looking down at my hand* “Uh…” 

“Oh, the ring didn’t fit.  But I have one.  Really.  I swear.”

And waiting to tell them would have been equally weird, since they know he lives in England.  Going back to work acting like nothing was new for the first week or so and then one day flashing the ring around and announcing my engagement would have been awkward too.  I didn’t want to have to deal with the question of, “What, did he mail you the ring?”

And finally, and might sound like the craziest part, but I think newly engaged women are allowed; I wanted to wait to have my ring resized until my STUDENTS saw the ring too.  Not even my current ones, because I didn’t think they’d really notice.  No, I had hinted about this with my class last year because I just liked them that much.  I told them “Every year, once my students come back in the fall as fifth graders, they don’t say hi to me.  They don’t even look me in the eye.  You guys are great and I’ll miss you so please don’t do that to me.”  They promised not to, and I told them that if they remembered, I would have some surprise news for them the day they got back to school.

So again, I wanted that ring to flash around, even though it meant waiting a week after the teachers reported back before I went and got them to size my ring better.  I didn’t care if it meant wearing a Band-Aid on my loose ring for 2 weeks.  It looked just as pretty, and it wouldn’t fall off.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Getting Engaged in England: Our Romantic Engagement

.In the summer of 2008, Adam brought me on our first date together to East Carlton Park in England.

In the summer of 2009, Adam brought me on a picnic at East Carlton Park and asked me to marry him.

It really was the best marriage proposal I could have asked for.  We’d planned for months to have a picnic at East Carlton Park.  Last year before we even met one of the first things he wanted to show me on my visit was the park where he used to go with his family.  We had such a nice time there that we wanted to return for a picnic but we just ran out of time.  But this year, we planned our menu months in advance, went food shopping, checked the weather, and secured a ride.

The weather was perfect, and it all looked just as beautiful as last year.  Adam asked me if I wanted to eat first or walk around.  I said we could wander around until we found a nice place for our spread, but he already knew right where he wanted our picnic.  Instead of going over to the busy picnic tables, he guided me to an area with open flat fields, spotted with trees, and a few distant houses.  It was much quieter there.  He let me choose a big pretty tree to sit beside, we spread out the blanket, and dug in.

We packed way too much food.  I mostly focused on the prawn salad, which Adam didn’t even want to try.  Actually, I noticed he wasn’t eating much at all.  I kept encouraging him, after all, we’d planned on the scotch eggs, pork pies and everything for months, but he said he was fine.  We finished off with little chocolate cakes and strawberries:  I fed him one and he fed one to me.  Then he read the journal I was keeping for the trip while I took a few photos.

Once we finished Adam offered to clean up, and had me stay with the blanket since he wanted to sit for a little while before we walked around.  I thought it was odd; we could easily clean up in a little while once we were ready to go.  But it was sweet of him to offer, so I let him go ahead.

As I watched him go, I leaned back, thinking what a perfect day it was with the gentle breeze and the warm sun.  It felt so nice that I just wanted to stay there and drink it all in forever.  So when he got back and sat back down with me, I gave him a hug and kiss and told him that I love him.

“I love you too,” he said, “and that is why…”

Oh my God.

This is it, I’m about to get engaged!

This could not be more a perfect proposal!

Adam pulled a little gold box from his coat from his coat for me to open.  Then he opened the little green box inside to show me the ring and asked, “Will you marry me?”  Of course I said yes and asked him, “Will you put it on me?”  So he did, and finally romantic engagement was official, and it felt amazing.  The start of a new chapter for our relationship.

If I thought it was a beautiful day prior to his perfect proposal (and it really was, I’d practically forgotten about getting engaged because we were just having such a nice time that I was living in the moment) as we walked around the park after that, I felt like a million dollars.  I wanted to tell everyone we walked past, “LOOK, ADAM PROPOSED AND I SAID YES!”  Instead I just grinned like an idiot and looked down at my ring every 30 seconds.  All glittery and sparkly in the sunshine.  I couldn’t believe that beautiful and important thing was mine, and the man I loved wanted me to have it, and him, forever.  I’m not anyone’s girlfriend anymore and I’m never going to be again.  I’m a FIANCEE.  And now everyone can see that Adam and I are promised to each other forever.

We got the same ice creams as last year before it was time to go.  I asked if he had let his mom know he was proposing today and he said he did.  So I showed her the ring after we got in the car before she started it, to let her know it was official.  Though I know in her mind the day we picked out the ring was the real start of our engagement, she was still happy for us.  When we got back his mom’s partner shook Adam’s hand and told him, “Well done.”  They let us know they had champagne for us before we head back to Adam’s house. 

We told his brother when we got back, and then went to Adam’s room to relax.  But before he even turned on the TV he was snoring.  All worn out, haha.

We ended the day with a quiet Indian take out for the two of us, to celebrate.  It was the perfect end to a perfect day.  Or maybe I should say, the perfect start to our romantic engagement.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting Engagement Fever

The last few weeks were agonizing.  I was getting engagement fever and could not stop thinking about when my engagement ring was going to be ready.  Our romantic engagement was hinging on the speed and will of craftsman instead of our love for each other, and I felt frustrated.  I was tired of waiting to get engaged and thinking about all the different romantic wedding proposals that he could be planning.  I just wanted to get engaged now.

The last two days on the other hand, the wait felt MUCH different.  It felt more like the joy I felt when Adam proposed that he propose.  This time I was waiting for Adam.  And I know and trust Adam.  I knew he wouldn’t keep me waiting too long, and the only reason he was thinking about romantic wedding proposals make me happy.

I had reminded Adam a few days ago about the picnic we planned to have this summer at East Carlton Park.  He jumped on the idea, secured a ride and checked the weather and it was on.  So last night I wondered.  Would this be where he’ll be proposing?  I hinted, “That will be romantic,” hoping he’d interpret it to mean, “Bring the ring with you.”

The more I thought about it, the more I wished that the park was where he would propose.  East Langton Park was beautiful, quiet, and since that’s where we had our first date, it would be the best marriage proposal location.  I really wanted this to be it!  But I couldn’t tell him I thought that would be the perfect proposal.  Sure I nudged him in that direction in case he was struggling or stressing for an idea.  But he deserved the opportunity to decide where, when, and how he wanted to ask me and present the engagement ring that he was so proud of.  I really had to keep telling myself that though he knows me well, he’s not a mind reader, so if his proposal wasn’t tomorrow it was okay.  I finally figured out how to live with a non-proposal at the park.  I decided that with or without the ring, the picnic would still be fun and romantic.  It could just be a precursor to the surprise engagement.  As though the proposal he set up for me was spread over multiple days.  And what I needed to do was to enjoy our picnic and just assume he would not propose there, or I’d end up wasting the day instead of having a nice time.
Ring photo courtesy of:
James Jordan


Friday, August 14, 2009

Working with the Engagement Photographer

Today was the day we picked up our engagement photographs. 

No wait, don’t press back, you didn’t miss a post.  We weren’t ACTUALLY engaged yet.  Not when first went to the engagement photographer, and not even by the time the engagement pictures were ready.  So okay, if you don’t want to think of them as actual engagement photographs then don’t, but I do.  Since Adam and I only see each other twice per year, we just have to cram a whole lot into a few weeks time.  So if it means overlapping the engagement pictures wait time and the ring wait time and going a little out of order, so be it.  After all, the engagement photographer did a great job.  And since my left hand was not visible in any of them, my lack of ring was inconspicuous. 

Like everything, we’d planned on getting these photographs done for months.  His mom and her partner got them done with an award winning engagement photographer, and Adam was so taken with them that he wanted to get some of us.  I bought a dress for the occasion (that’s a lie.  I bought 4.  Returned 2 and kept a spare).  I tried them on for Adam on webcam for help choosing, agonized over whether to go with red or purple until the day I packed for my visit, and searched high and low for a black shawl to coordinate with my shoes.  The night before we went to the engagement photographer I got ready for bed early so I would look refreshed, said goodnight to Adam and he said “I should probably figure out what I’m going to wear.”


When we went for the photo shoot Adam had warned me the engagement photographer was weird.  I didn’t think he was so bad.  He listened to what we wanted (head shots, ¾ shots, and full length shots) and added a few classic engagement photo poses we wouldn’t have thought of.  Some worked, some failed.  I was uncomfortable with the kneeling ones and it showed.  But since he took so many, when we went back a few days later and viewed them on the slide show he made for us, as we sat in front of the projection screen, we were able to narrow them down to 4 good ones. 

The tricky thing was deciding on the sizes to print our photographs.  We wanted them large enough to enjoy hanging on the wall, but small enough to fit in my suitcases.  The engagement photographer had the rectangles printed on a large sheet of paper to help us visualize them.  So the next issue was the fact that some were landscape and some were portrait.  He offered to make the matte taller on the landscape one so that all the frames were the same size but I quickly rejected that idea.  I knew that would stick out like a sore thumb, and I knew that each photo should stand on its own, not as part of a group.  He told me that’s smart, but some people just don’t see it that way.

A couple weeks later our engagement photographs were printed and we were able to pick out the frames, though this was sort of a waste of a trip.  Adam knew exactly which frames he wanted even before we took the photos.   They were pretty much my style too, so we reiterated that those were what we liked when he held them up to the photos, Adam asked for cream mattes with a gold border, and then it was just a matter of more waiting. 

It happened that we got the call that the photographs were ready within an hour of the call that the ring was ready yesterday.  So we picked them up, and they looked great.  His mom squealed in delight when she saw our engagement photographs.  I made Adam pick his favorite first, then I picked, them him, then me last.  Even though as he said, it doesn’t matter who gets what; eventually all 4 of our engagement pictures will be together.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Your Ring is Ready

.A few weeks after Adam ordered my solitaire engagement ring at the little shop in Kettering, we booked a stay in a hotel nearby to enjoy the shopping.  We walked by Totang each day, the store where he ordered my engagement ring setting, and I felt the same thrill each time, knowing very, very soon I would have my very own unique diamond engagement ring from there.  Finally our stay in Kettering ended, we packed and arrived back at his place and he went about checking his mail, taking care of some business that arose in his absence when he got a text.

The engagement ring was ready.

Later his brother told him that he knew it as soon as we did because he heard happy female screaming noises.

Adam called his mom for a ride there, and at first she said we could pick up my engagement ring tomorrow.  This was not what I wanted to hear, (brain screaming: “No!  Now!) but I kept my mouth shut.  I was too happy anyway.  And besides, it’s not like he was planning to propose this evening.  The ring was finished over a week early!  I was just so excited thinking Adam was going to have plenty of time to plan the perfect proposal that I didn’t care about anything else.  He went back to his business, and I enjoyed the romantic music that swelled in my head.

A couple hours later there was a knock on the door.  I saw it was his mom’s partner, ran downstairs, and he asked us if we wanted to go pick up my engagement ring in about 20 minutes.

More shrieking.

I went along for the ride, but I left the men to do their business and went shopping down the road.  I didn’t even want to see my engagement ring until Adam was ready to offer it to me with a proposal.  Maybe it’s not the same when you’ve discussed the engagement and picked out the ring together, but I did not want to take that experience away from him.  I am a traditional girl after all.  And I know I made the right choice, because the look on Adam’s face when he came out of that jewelry store was priceless.  I have never seen him look so proud and elated.  He had the little green bag with the gold bow, and walked so tall and when he saw me he beamed.

Later that night when I walked by the bedroom I saw him with the jewelry bag on his bed, peering into it like a kid at Christmas.  He looked up and saw that I caught him and the dimples made another appearance as he laughed.  I’ll never forget how he looked with that jewelry bag.

Readers, what is your relationship status?