On April 2nd, on the beach outside Hotel Del in Coronado during sunset, I got engaged to the most wonderful man on earth. Since I’m sure a lot of you have questions, and I’m going to want to look back on it time and time again, here is our story.
Planning and Prep:
Dave: I knew I wanted to marry Jess from the very beginning of our relationship. It was just a matter of time to go through the courtship process so that people didn’t think I was crazy for asking her to marry me after one week.
The thought of getting a ring was constantly in my mind from the beginning, I just didn’t know how I was going to do it since my budget was pretty much nothing. One day, I got an email from my mom out of the blue, asking if I wanted my grandmas ring since she knew I was in a relationship.
So just like that I had a ring.
Now it was just a matter of finding the Lords right timing.
Jess: I knew from the start that this was a different kind of relationship. It wasn’t dating, it was a courtship. I went into it assuming marriage was on the horizon, even though some of my friends thought I crazy.
People would ask me all the time when we were getting engaged, which was a little frustrating. Explain to me how I would know that. I’m the girl. Not. My. Department.
D: We planned a trip to California, to meet family, and because Jess had never been. So I decided to make that the engagement trip. Because it just makes good sense.
I told the boys my plans ahead of time because it has a big effect on their lives. I was amazed at how happy they were for me, which was terrific confirmation that I picked the perfect girl.
They had a whole month of needing to keep their mouths shut, and they did pretty good considering the circumstances. I however, almost slipped many, many times. Plus when I finally got the ring it was burning a hole in my pocket. I couldn’t wait to give it to her.
In addition I had thoughts of asking before the trip so we could go to California as an engaged couple, but I wanted our engagement to be special and unique to us. Plus I know how hard she is to surprise so I had to think of something more special.
J: I had my suspicions because I’m too damn observant for my own good. I didn’t WANT to notice things, but I did. I justified everything I thought I heard or saw, but the thought was always in the back of my mind: We’re getting engaged in California.
J: We spent the second day of vacation being total tourists. We went to museums and drove around San Diego. One of the places on our list was Coronado, since Dave did some training there, so we decided to make our way to Hotel Del for dinner.
I have to say, he was acting completely normal this entire time. If he was anxious, he didn’t show it.
So we had dinner outside along the beach and then made our way to the sand for sunset.
D: I knew I wanted to propose at sunset and I figured the Hotel Del would be a beautiful setting. I sure turned out to be right. We made dinner reservations early enough so we could finish before sunset.
I snuck the ring into my pocket (that was hidden in a prescription bottle, because I figured she wouldn’t look there), and we left for dinner.
J: I noticed him checking his pocket a bunch of times, and even saw him reach into it at the end of dinner for something, but no ring appeared. Again: justified.
D: I was nervous, and it didn’t help any when the waiter kept calling us Mr. & Mrs. Connell. I didn’t know if that was prophetic or pathetic…I figured it was prophetic.
J: I played along, because it was more fun that way.
D: After dinner we walked to the beach and I figured she’d pick up that I was insisting that we get down there because I rarely insist on anything with her.
J: I did not pick up on that.
D: Like I said, the ring was burning an hole in my pocket and I just wanted to do it! I was so excited about asking her. I wanted to say something short, but something that said everything my heart had in it to say. So I thought the words I chose, accurately reflected how I felt, and I knew I could elaborate later on:
“Would you do me a favor, and make me the happiest man in the world?”
In hindsight, as I look back, I think 25 years of training to be smooth in nervous situations really helped!
J: He had his arms around me and the ring on his finger. I looked down, looked back at him and said “really?!”
D: The look on her face was exactly what I wanted to see. It was a look of joy that I can’t describe…
J: and I can’t recreate…
D: so I knew she was happy with my request and was confident the answer would be yes.
J: …I don’t think I ever technically said yes haha
D: Of course now I had to wait for her brain to catch up and process what was happening. I had the advantage because I was already in the moment. I enjoyed watching her catch up.
J: Even when you think it might be happening, you still don’t think it’s happening.
D: So the next thing was that I got to tell her some of the funny things she didn’t know, but suspected. Like that her parents, my family, my kids, and a couple special people already knew. Everyone was waiting to hear the news, some were even texting me asking if it happened yet.
J: Once I processed as best I could, I of course called my mom first.
He wanted to go and get a celebratory drink but I had to stop him. I still had more calls and texts to send out. I couldn’t move on yet.
We eventually made our way to the bar where we continued to be “those people” who sat on their phones the whole time and didn’t talk to each other too much, although there was plenty of smiles and laughter shared. We enjoyed a drink (chocolate martini with a chocolate straw for me – the absolute perfect was to cap off the evening) and live music, while we did our best to wake up the east coast.
I couldn’t stop smiling for at least 24 hours and kept asking “is this real life?!”
It is. It is real life.
J: The ring belonged to his grandma Connell.
D: If you want to picture them, think of the conservative Christian couple who came to Texas in a covered wagon.
J: It’s a very modest ring, so he added bands on the sides to dress it up a little.
I absolutely love it! I’ve always said, if I can’t have a stone straight from heaven, I want an heirloom. It’s all about the sentimental value to me. Plus, vintage rings are so beautiful. They don’t make jewelry like that anymore.
I have my grandmothers ring as well so I’d like to find a way to incorporate that stone in there too. That’s what wedding bands are for, right?
We’ve had nothing but love and support from all angles, and that means so much to us.
Let the planning begin!!
PS: Before you ask, we’re thinking late September 2015