I'll admit it: I'm one of those girls who had dreamed about every detail of my eventual proposal ever since I was a kid. I couldn't contain my excitement any time I happened to catch a real live proposal (Pro Tip: Disneyland is prime proposal spotting territory!), and I thought for sure I'd be able to see the signs of my own coming. When Anthony and I had been dating for a few years, and when it seemed like every other day a friend of ours was getting engaged, I started to expect that our own time was coming. We had had "the talk" and knew for sure we wanted to spend our lives together, but it's one of those things you don't want to talk about too much with your boyfriend when you're 25 and worried about coming off as "that girl". Anyway, we've all been there.
That's why when Anthony did actually get down on one knee, it was a total surprise, and much to my own shock, I did not see it coming. At. All. I'll start from the beginning.
Anthony's birthday is in January, and that year for his gift I had promised him a trip to Cooperstown, NY to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame when the weather warmed up. He's a huge baseball fan and had never been, so I couldn't wait to take him. May came around and we planned our weekend away. On the long drive up I remember talking about all sorts of things, and at one point I said something along the lines of, "When we get married..." to which Anthony replied, "You mean IF we get married." I swear we had talked about it hundreds of times before and he was just giving me a hard time, but I definitely thought to myself, "Whelp. Guess he's not ready." It didn't matter anyway, because of all of the times I had been wondering if he'd propose soon (you better believe I'd envision coming home from work almost every day, opening the door, and finding him down on one knee. Yeah. You could say I'd had it on my mind.), I had completely ruled it out on this particular weekend. It was his birthday present, after all, and I wanted it to be all about him!
When we got to Cooperstown, we both fell in love with the gorgeous landscapes, sweet homes downtown, and no shortage of wandering to do. We spent our entire first morning at the Baseball Hall of Fame and it was so fun to see Anthony soaking it all in (though admittedly I might have gotten a bit bored a little more quickly than he had). We stopped for lunch afterwards, which we followed up with a short walk to discover what Cooperstown had to offer. A few back streets later, we found ourselves stumbling upon the most gorgeous view from a park overlooking Otsego Lake. With the mountains in the background, everything was picture perfect. As a constant daydreamer and lover of weddings, I wistfully proclaimed that this would be the perfect spot to get married one day. Anthony brushed it off. Once again, I groaned under my breath... or something like that.
Just a couple of minutes later, Anthony sweetly grabbed my hand and said, "Can you believe we've been together for [insert number that I can't remember but it's so thoughtful that he took the time to count out] days?" Confused, I asked how he even knew that, and as the words came out of my mouth, I watched him get down on one knee.
I literally hyperventilated you guys.
After all of those years of dreaming of the perfect proposal and my flawlessly emotional, and charmingly surprised reaction went out the window. There I stood practically dry heaving as the love of my life asked me to marry him. For the life of me, I couldn't tell you what words came out of his mouth after I saw him lowering to one knee (to be fair I don't think he remembers either), but I finally pulled myself together to say "Yes!" and pulled him into the tightest and sincerest hug I've ever given anyone in my whole life.
After a couple of minutes of just holding each other, he asked, "So do you want to see the ring, or what?" which is when I finally remembered that oh yes, there was a ring. It was (and still is!) perfect. I could not believe that my barely emotional boyfriend who up until that point pretty regularly shrugged off my starry-eyed romance-y, daydreamy tendencies had pulled off the most perfect surprise proposal. It was especially impressive knowing that he had kept it a secret from me, the hardest person ever to keep secrets from, for a couple of months. Nice work, Anthony!
The pure joy and love and excitement and emotion didn't wear off for hours, and we were sure to take our time basking in the glory of newly-engaged bliss. If you know anything about me, it will come as no surprise that I instantaneously started planning our entire wedding in my head, but I did my best to resist the urge and just soak in the moment and my love for my new fiance. That brings me to my unsolicited but very sincere advice.
WHAT TO DO NOW THAT YOU'RE ENGAGED
1. Soak it all in! It's going to be very tempting to call everyone you know (See: #2) and share the good news right away. Resist that urge. I highly recommend taking some time to let it be your special secret with your new fiance, even if only for a few hours. You only get this moment once, and I personally think that it is so, so important to let it all sink in so that you can fully feel all of the emotions you are sure to be feeling.
2. Call everyone you know! Okay, maybe not everyone you know, but definitely start by making a list of the people who should find out before your social media network does. This usually includes immediate family, close friends, and some extended family. Depending on how long your list gets, don't be afraid to recruit Mom & Dad or a trusted sibling to make some calls on your behalf. And as you're calling everyone, don't forget that it is perfectly acceptable to not have a date in mind yet. You're definitely going to get that question within hours of the proposal, and you should definitely ignore that question at all costs for at least another few weeks.
3. Insure that sparkler! Your new fiance likely put a lot of thought, time, and money into handpicking the perfect ring for you, so I highly recommend getting it insured. This might sound intimidating, but it's as simple as calling your insurance company (we added it to our renters' insurance) and asking them to add it on. Don't forget to call prepared with the appraised value of the ring (keep in mind that this usually isn't the price that was actually paid for the ring). With this important step taken care of, you can rest easy knowing that you'll be carrying an actual diamond around on your finger for the rest of your life. This definitely takes some getting used to.
4. Follow all the blogs! There are so many resources out there for engaged couples that it can be overwhelming to know where to start or which decisions to make. Choose two or three and subscribe to them to be kept up to date with wedding trends, etiquette, and general advice. Some favorites of mine are Style Me Pretty and Green Wedding Shoes, but there are literally hundreds to choose from. Either way, it's helpful to start getting inspired early on!
5. Create a wedding-specific email address! This is one that a lot of people might not think of, but it's one of my favorite pro-tips for new brides-to-be. You and your fiance are going to be sending and receiving so many wedding-related emails to venues, vendors, relatives, etc. that you're going to want a separate space that you can both access, but also that you can both ignore when you need a break from wedding planning.
So there you have it! My 100% unsolicited but 100% genuine advice on what to do right after you get engaged. There are of course lots and lots of other steps to take, but for now, soak it all in and enjoy getting used to calling someone your "fiance". Congratulations!
Authentically Wed is a weekly series of wedding-related blog posts by Kelly of Kelly Golia Events intended to provide you with an honest approach to planning your own wedding by highlighting stories of real brides, wedding professionals, and experiences from Kelly herself in her roles as a bride and as a wedding planner. For real, customized advice on a wedding-related topic of your choice, contact Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form here and let us know what you want to read about!