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 why he broke with convention and asked his future mother-in-law to help him pick out the engagement ring.
When Rachel and I started dating, I quickly picked up something I never thought I'd have: A second set of parents.
We all grow up surrounded by "in-law" jokes (looking at you, J. Lo and Jane Fonda), making it only natural to figure that in-laws are just a necessary evil in your life. That is of course, unless you're as lucky as me.
The first time I met Rachel's parents (Ellen and Dennis) was on her mom's birthday and they immediately made me feel like part of the family. The four of us ended up having dinner again the very next night, where Ellen and I developed a sushi-eating system that involves her picking the fish out and giving me the rice because carbs are the best.
We live outside Washington D.C., about 20 minutes from Rachel's parents, but my family is on Long Island, so we only get to see each other every couple of months. My mom is half-jokingly jealous, but my parents absolutely love them and the fact that I have extended "family" near me.
I've always done my best to show how much I appreciate Ellen and Dennis, but for all the life advice, airport pick-ups and nice dinners over the past three years, it just never feels like enough.
Which brings us to the ring.
Rachel is an only child and I'm not sure i've ever seen a parent as loving and engaging as Ellen. Seeing as Ellen has been such an important part of our relationship, I decided to ask my potential mother-in-law to come with me to pick out a ring.
(To be honest, I had been procrastinating, so this was also a bit of a ploy to have someone light a fire under me.)
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I texted her, and while she typically responds immediately, it was five very nerve-racking minutes before I finally got an answer: "Oh I love you — that is just so sweet of you. I would be honored." My face lit up knowing it made her so happy and I immediately began researching local jewelers for us to check out.
I already have my grandmother's ring, but neither of us particularly likes yellow gold, which is the ring's current setting, so I've always planned on getting the stone reset for Rachel's engagement ring.
Ellen brings the best out of me, so having her on board immediately made me to analyze the situation and figure out what I did/didn't know.
"Do you know when you want to propose?" Not quite sure. Sometime in the spring, but I like that the ambiguity is helping avoid any spoilers
"What shape is the diamond? Do you know what she wants/likes?" It's round and she wants a halo with diamonds on the band, white gold or platinum.
A few more questions from Ellen, and now I feel like I have a good grasp on how I want to proceed with getting a ring.
We'll see how shopping goes in the next couple of weeks, but for now, I can decidedly say that, if you're lucky enough to be close with your girlfriend's parents, it's a good idea to bring your future mother-in-law into the mix. You may not actually need help, but strengthening that bond with your partner's family should be worth whatever eye-rolls and exasperated sighs may be induced at the jewelry store.