Photo: Courtesy of Ashlan Gorse
What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent wedding cake tastings. Over the next few weeks, entertainment journalist Ashlan Gorse, our newest guest blogger, will share her romantic engagement story, planning a wedding without a wedding planner, and how she decided to have a destination wedding.
Before my boyfriend of two and a half years and I left for a two-week vacation to Paris, my sister gave me some sage advice: She said even though Philippe was taking me to France, I shouldn't expect a proposal and should just have fun.
I tried to keep her words in mind on our first night in Paris. Philippe mentioned that he had a special dinner planned to kick off our trip, and our taxi pulled deposited us at the base of the Eiffel Tower. We took a quick stroll before dinner—despite my four and a half inch heels—and then we were whisked away onto a private elevator that raced up the Tower. Halfway up, we stopped and the doors opened to a gorgeous dining room, where we were greeted, "Bonne soir´e Monsieur Cousteau and welcome to Jules Verne." Wow! I hadn't even known there was a restaurant up there!
We were seated at a beautiful window table overlooking the City of Light, and it was overwhelming in its beauty and romance. My heart raced and I thought, "Oh my gosh, is this it? Is he going to propose?"
When dessert came, I couldn't help but keep glancing in the bottom of my champagne glass just in case a ring might magically appear. Alas, there was no ring in the champagne and no ring in the dessert. It all tasted incredible, but I'll admit: I was bummed!
Still, it was a perfect night with a perfect man, and I reminded myself to relax and stop thinking about the "E" word. And, it really worked. I felt at ease and just happy to be in the most romantic city in the world with my best friend.
Photo: Courtesy of Ashlan Gorse
When we arrived back at the George V Hotel, I felt awestruck by the pure beauty of the French landmark. But Philippe had another surprise in store: A trip up to the top floor of the hotel to meet our friend Jeff, who does the hotel's flowers.
I opened the door to a fire escape and went out onto the roof. As I stepped over a giant vent and turned a corner, I discovered that the whole roof was covered in flower petals and candles. "Philippe! What is going on?!" I demanded. He said that he didn't know, and that Jeff must be hiding up here. Jeff, of course, was nowhere to be found—but I did find (and open!) a bottle of champagne. Standing there together, we admired the incredible view of the city. "Wow, I owe Jeff big for this one, how sweet is he to do all of this for us," I said.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a twinkle. It was 10:00 pm, and the Eiffel Tower was sparkling, as it does every hour on the hour. I just stood there taking it all in; it was truly breathtaking, and I started to cry—moved by the beauty and the love I felt for Philippe.
"I have a confession to make. Jeff didn't do this for us, I did it for you. And I have something very important to ask you."
I turned around and saw Philippe down on one knee. "Ashlan McKain Gorse, will you marry me?" It was perfect, and I was stunned.
Now, every time I look at my ring, I see a glint of the Eiffel Tower sparkling back at me.