The one year anniversary of my partner and my wedding is coming up 3 weeks from today. As the date approaches, I have found myself remembering all the moments leading up to the big day last year. Some of them were touching, others were downright hilarious and all of them were perfectly timed and positioned to create the perfect day.
So….If you’ll indulge me, I’m going to share it all with you in a 3 part series. Starting today, I’ll tell you the story of my proposal to him. Next week, I’ll tell you about our engagement (and telling my parents), and finally, on our 1 year anniversary (August 4th), I’ll tell you about our wedding day.
I have always travelled a lot for work and to see my family in Edmonton so Ryan and I were accustomed to frequently being apart for short periods of time. However, in the late spring / summer of 2012, I found myself travelling for work more frequently than usual and for longer periods of time. At that time, Ryan and I had been dating for 5 years or so. With each trip, I found myself missing him much more so than usual. At first I didn’t really pay much attention to it but a conversation with my boss (who is also a very close friend) got me thinking a bit more about marriage.
We were traveling together to North Carolina and talking about shopping (as usual). I was showing her a ring that I had my eye on and she asked when I was going to buy ‘the ring’. I brushed off the idea of marriage because Ryan and I had both always said it wasn’t for us. We felt we were already committed to each other in every sense of a ‘marriage’ and didn’t think we needed some certificate on paper to validate what we already shared. My boss understood what I was saying but shared with me that something shifted when she got married to her husband. Even though they had shared the same level of commitment to each other, getting married created a definite shift in their relationship.
I took her words to heart and I guess she had planted the seed, so to speak. A few more trips and those feelings of missing Ryan became more noticeable. Coupled with what My boss had said started to build in my head. I met up with my best friend one day and told her what I was thinking. She got so excited by the idea and was fully on board! She gave me some great advice and told me to really think things through and be sure. I had done that and felt sure that this was something I wanted to pursue. And so the games began!
Ryan, like myself, is quite attuned to design and certainly knows what he likes (translation, we’re both picky). So finding the right ring was essential. Then there was the whole question of how to propose. In a heterosexual proposal, the guy typically buys a ring for the girl, gets down on one knee, etc. But what about a gay proposal?
I’ll tell you one thing, I was not down with Ryan being the only one to get some new bling! So my friend and I started Googling gay proposals and after a lot of searching, our conclusion was that there was no conclusive standard. It was basically up to the couple to do what felt right for them. Nice! We were both getting rings!
My best friend is awesome! She’s just as devious as I am! We plotted a plan together to show Ryan a few different rings to gauge his tastes. Remember that ring I wanted? Well I was sure which one I wanted but decided to have a certain change of heart and ask Ryan his opinion on some ‘alternatives’, Thankfully he didn’t question it too much and went along with it. After much back and forth, we landed on a ring. He thought he was picking it for me but little did he know he was actually picking out his own engagement ring.
Ring – check! Now the proposal. We had plans to be in California over Christmas and New Year’s with my brother’s family. There was a DJ that Ryan loved out of Santa Monica who happened to be DJ-ing at a local club for New Year’s Eve. As soon as Ryan told me, I knew that was the perfect setting for the proposal. We booked our tickets right away and also booked a hotel within cab distance of the club. I found us a great Indian restaurant that was having a New Year’s Eve special menu and booked that as well. It was all falling into place perfectly!
Fast forward to New Years Eve. We checked into the hotel and well, let’s just say it was a little ‘questionable’ in it’s decor… Everything was clean (thankfully) but the hotel was definitely old and worn down. The area it was in was a bit seedy as well so I was a little concerned. Ryan was a good spirit about it all and managed to get us both over it. We decided to drive to the restaurant and then come back to the hotel afterwards to drop off the car before heading to the club. I was starting to get a bit nervous about the proposal. What if Ryan said no? It wasn’t that far out of the realm of possibilities because anytime anyone asked us in the past, we both said that marriage wasn’t for us. Just because my mind had changed on the subject, didn’t mean that Ryan was on board. Oh well, I decided to just go with it and see what happened. I gave myself a pep talk and told myself that I would be happy no matter what his answer was.
We got in the car and headed over to the restaurant. I had the two rings wrapped in a small pouch, tucked away in my pocket out of sight. As soon as we walked into the restaurant, we were both totally impressed. It was perfectly decorated and the food smelt delicious! The server was amazing too and gave us a private booth tucked away in the corner of the restaurant. It had beautiful Indian fabrics draped all around and really gave the feel of an Eastern tent. The food was so flavorful as well and Ryan and I were having a great time!
Dinner was done by around 10pm which gave us plenty of time to drop the car off at the hotel and hop in a cab. Neither one of us thought getting a cab would be an issue on New Year’s Eve – we were wrong… We called several cab companies and they all told us there was at least an hour to two hours wait. When we bought the tickets for the club, we chose the premium option that included free drinks for both of us so driving really wasn’t in the cards. At this point, it was already 10:30pm and I wanted to propose right at midnight. Not seeing many options, I told Ryan that I would just drive. He could drink for the both of us and I would still have fun. In my head I was cursing because I really needed a bit of liquid courage to pop the question.
It wasn’t ideal but we made the most of it and hopped back in the car. Now came the task of finding parking. Once again, not an easy task on New Years Eve. We decided to drive up to the club first to see where it was and then find a spot close enough to walk. As we approached the club, I saw Ryan’s face drop. He read the marquee and the DJ he loved wasn’t listed. He looked up the event information online and his DJ was taken off the billing there as well. Not good… Ryan was so disappointed and so was I. His favorite DJ was a big part of my ‘perfect’ proposal plan and now it seemed like everything was going wrong. Then came the dreaded words from Ryan – “Maybe it’s not meant to be, let’s just go home.” My heart sank! Maybe this proposal wasn’t meant to be either and all these things going wrong were signs telling me so.
We talked it over for a bit and I convinced Ryan that we should just go. We had already paid for the tickets and were there so we might as well make the most of it. After driving around for what seemed like an eternity, we finally found a parking lot that had a few spaces left. We paid an exorbanant amount for parking and finally got into the club. By this point it was already 11:15pm! As we walked in, the emcee was just announcing the featured band for the evening. They were a bluesy-jazzy band called Vintage Trouble. They came onto the stage and as soon as they started their first song, I knew things were looking up. Both Ryan and I got into it right away and loved the music! Ryan’s mood was changing already and I could tell he was letting go of all the drama that led up to the club. I got us a couple rounds of drinks because I knew I needed him loose and agreeable for midnight (don’t worry, I held on to my one drink and nursed it all night long – safety first!)
As midnight quickly approached, my heart felt like it was in my stomach! I was nervous!!! I didn’t see another gay couple in sight and the club was packed! We had found a small space to stand and watch the band but there definitely wasn’t a lot of privacy so when the time came, I was pretty sure the people around us would know what was going on. It didn’t matter – the vibe in the club was really cool and I had a feeling homophobia wasn’t going to be an issue.
The servers all started coming around with champagne flutes and the band announced there were only 5 minutes left till midnight. They played one last song before starting the count down. It was time! As the clock struck midnight, we all toasted and cheered each other and the band played that New Year’s song (you know the one). Ryan was jumping around, all excited and I knew it was now or never. I reached into my pocket and fumbled around to get the rings out of the pouch. I held both of them in my hand and nudged Ryan in the arm. He looked at me and asked what was going on. I nudged him again and motioned with me eyes for him to look into my hand. He looked down and saw the rings, then looked back up at me. I moved closer to his ear and said “Do you want to?” to which he replied “want to what?” So I held up the rings and said “Do you want to marry me?” Instantly his eyes welled up with tears and he said “You better not be kidding!” I hate to admit it but my eyes and welled up by this point as well and he knew I wasn’t kidding. As the first tears streamed down his face, he said “yes” and “yes” again many times!
In those few moments, nothing else existed. It was like all the noise around us had been turned down by some remote control and all the people around us all moved away to give us some room. It was just Ryan and I in that moment, taking this next step in our relationship and in a way, embarking on a brand new adventure. Even though I had been nervous and shy about displaying any affection before, in that moment, we kissed and I didn’t care who was around. It was, by far, the most incredible moment of our lives. All the nerves I had been feeling, all of the planning and scheming, it all came together perfectly to create the best possible moment for us.
As if that wasn’t enough, as we were still caught up in the moment this woman came up to us. Now I’m not sure if it was the high I was on from all the adrenaline and endorphins running through my body but this woman seemed to have this glow about her. She looked to be in her mid-fifties, or early-sixties, with a fair complexion, bright eyes and almost platinum blond hair. She walked right up to us, reached out her arms and encircled both of us, leaned in and said “I’m so happy for you.” and walked away. Just like that, she seemed to float in and then within a moment, she walked away and disappeared. Both Ryan and I were stunned and were both taken aback by her. Ryan turned to me and said, “I think we just met an angel.” I looked at him and said “sure honey, have another one”. But I have to say, there was definitely something about her. Whatever the case, she walked into our lives and gave us that first bit of congratulations and affirmation at the perfect moment. We looked for throughout the night but never saw her again.
So there you have it, the story / adventure of how I proposed to Ryan. A HUGE thank you to my dear friends for all of their help along the way, and of course, to Ryan for saying yes!
Stay tuned for next week’s blog when I tell you all about our engagement, telling our parents, and planning the wedding.