Every bride remembers the moment the love of her life got down on one knee and proposed — she might not recall exactly what he said or what she was wearing, but that second in time will stay with her forever. But what she doesn't know about are the weeks, months, or even years leading up to that proposal from the other side: her groom's perspective. Here, in a new BRIDES series, our very own groom-to-be, Aaron (name change for obvious reasons), is sharing his story about the (real life!) proposal he is planning very soon for his fiancé-to-be. This week, Aaron tells us how he finally popped the question to his girlfriend, Rachel.
It was just a normal mid-week off-work day for me, sleeping until 11 before diving into errands. The day's big task was buying a suit for an upcoming wedding, a shopping experience that always takes forever and causes me a great deal of stress. What I didn't know when I left the apartment, was that buying a two-piece would end up being the easiest part of my day.
Hours later, I got home and plopped down on the couch, ready for hours of television, video games and dinner on my own, since Rachel had plans. I hadn't even been sitting for 10 minutes when I saw an e-mail from the jeweler. He had the ring. (You know, the ring I picked out with my future mother-in-law.)
I was completely stunned, considering we had spoken two days earlier and he had thought it would be ready in about a week. While gawking at the pictures he attached, I typed out a hurried response that I would come to pick it up as soon as possible. Thankfully, the jeweler is absurdly close to our apartment, and I was in his office about 10 minutes later, holding an absolutely stunning engagement ring. Even in my wildest dreams, I don't think I expected the ring to be so perfect (and enormous!).
It wasn't easy to refrain from hugging him, so I settled for a multitude of "thank yous" and a couple of firm handshakes. Very manly stuff.
Sitting in my car (with another celebratory Frappuccino), I had an ill-lit photoshoot with the ring, sending pictures to both my mom, Rachel's mom and my two best friends. Everyone responded with exclamation points and of course, asking when I was going to do it.
That was a great question. We had the same off day the next week, but considering just how impatient I am, there was absolutely zero chance that I could wait six days. It was at that moment, in a Starbucks parking lot, that I realized I would be proposing that night.
It was always going to be low-key, but I quickly had to pivot from breakfast-in-bed (or something along those lines) to a more evening-friendly plan. Instead of coffee and a bagel, it would be ice cream and flowers. The Starbucks was across the street from a supermarket, so I ran over to get a pint of Chubby Hubby and a bright bouquet.
Once I got home, I frantically cleaned the apartment and got down to fine-tuning the proposal. Flowers in a vase on a serving tray on the dining room table, flanked by candles, eventually joined by the ice cream. To put it over the top, I'd go across the street and get a plain (gross) frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles and chocolate chips, her favorite thing of all time.
See more: Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings
Rachel said her ETA was "no later than 8:30," so I figured I would play it totally safe and have everything set by then. Nobody is ever at the frozen yogurt place, so I figured the trip would last no longer than five minutes round-trip. Naturally on this night, the line was out the door when I arrived.
Panic started setting in, realizing how long it was going to take to get the yogurt. I texted Rachel asking what time she thought she'd be home, but the iMessage went through as an SMS, which led me to believe her phone was dead. I reached out to her mom, asking her to call Rachel just to see if her phone was in fact dead. Her mom told me it went straight to voicemail. So here I am in a 20-person line at a frozen yogurt store, five minutes before I thought my girlfriend would be getting home, with no way of knowing when she would actually be home.
On top of that, I had lit candles in the apartment before I left. If Rachel somehow beat me home, not only would my proposal plan be ruined, but I would be getting a much-deserved earful for being so irresponsible with fire.
I bit the bullet and waited in line, sprinting back to the apartment at the cost of a few chocolate chips whose sacrifice will not soon be forgotten. Fortunately, she was not home yet. Still, I had no way of knowing when she would be getting back and there were frozen desserts in play. They went in the freezer and I deadbolted the door, thinking it would buy me a few extra seconds to full-on parkour when I heard her keys.
For about 30 minutes I sat on the couch, getting progressively more nervous and out fear that she could be home any second, unable to calm my nerves by playing Xbox (yes, that is a thing).
Finally, I got a text from Rachel. Dinner had just wrapped up, she had her phone on airplane mode because it was almost dead and she was on her way home. That gave me about 20 minutes. On her way home, Rachel called her mom, who began texting me location updates. After a few minutes, one read "she's walking into the building."
I put the ring box in my back pocket, took the ice cream and frozen yogurt out of the freezer and got into position. Then, Rachel knocked on the door. I had to laugh out loud at the fact that she was too lazy to dig for her keys.
She came into the dimmed apartment with a bag full of leftovers and began listing off what kind of food she had brought home for me. No comment yet on the candles, flowers or desserts.
"I need a glass of water," said Rachel as she went for the cabinet and fridge, still seemingly unaware of her surroundings.
Finally, she stopped and noticed the tray, as well as the fact that I was in a button-down shirt rather than sweatpants. "What's all this?," she asked between sips of water. Incredibly amused by this situation unfolding in front of me, I grinned wide and grabbed Rachel — by the hand, pulling her away from the kitchen.
I got down on one knee in the middle of the living room.
"Oh hello," she said, her voice cracking, as she began to realize what was happening.
I hadn't really thought about if I should be holding the ring out while talking, so it remained in my back pocket as I held Rachel's hand and showered her with reasons that I love her.
Finally, I took out the ring and popped the question: "Will you marry me?"
Tears were streaming down her face as she said "yes" and I slipped it on her finger.
I popped up, we shared a long kiss and then a huge hug. In the middle of heavy breathing, she loudly dropped an F-bomb and I don't think anyone will ever be happier to hear profanity than I was in that moment.
"Can I look at the ring?"
It never occurred to me that she hadn't actually checked out the bling. Rachel looked down, dropped another loud expletive and asked me if I was crazy.
We moved to the couch, where the ogling continued for a few more minutes before deciding it was time to share the news. FaceTime calls with our parents resulted in tears on the other end, as well as more expletives when she held her hand up to the camera on my laptop.
My mom reminded me of a fact that I had totally forgotten — the diamond belonged to my great-grandmother before my grandmother.
Texts were sent to friends, which meant our phones were blowing up for a while, as we fielded congratulatory calls. After a while, we put our phones down and retired to the couch so that we could absorb this monumental event. It was an hour later, and we still hadn't caught our collective breath.
Neither of us could stop smiling, and getting words out was a challenge as we sat there.
"Well, I was going to come home and tell you how much my day sucked," Rachel said.
It was about 12:30 when we finally went to bed, pillow-talking for another two hours because there was no way either of us was would be able to sleep.
The engagement became "Facebook official" in the morning and we each spent the day rolling our eyes and texting each other as countless people asked if we had set a date yet.
Our wedding is no longer a hypothetical and after a week of bliss, we're just starting to dive into the hard part: planning for October 2017.