Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2 perspectives on getting engaged {love story: part 3}

{If you are interested, you can read the first two parts of our love story by clicking here and here.}

For this post on how we got engaged, I thought it would be fun to share our engagement story from two perspectives: mine and Michael's. We originally wrote these reflections for our wedding website, but they've been edited a little for this blog post. Hope you enjoy!

{his perspective}

I decided on Saturday that this was going to be the week. I had the ring and had received the blessing of Elise’s parents, so the only thing left to do was to just do it. I wasn’t absolutely sure how Elise was feeling about this though. I was pretty sure she’d say yes, but just to be safe I decided to leave a few subtle (or not so subtle) hints on Saturday night. I told her that we should go on a picnic sometime during the week and that I wanted it to be a special picnic. I had decided to do it sometime in the middle of the week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday. That would give me some time to get everything I needed and prepare it just the way I wanted. As it turned out, things didn’t fall into place quite as planned.

Sunday morning came and heralded an absolutely beautiful day. I met my friend John to go disc golfing in Ypsilanti around 7:00 a.m. Throughout the round, the weather just kept getting better and better. It was the warmest, sunniest day we had seen so far that spring. I had told John about my plans for the week and he suggested I ask her that day so that I could take advantage of the great weather. At first I kind of laughed it off, not thinking that it was possible to be ready in time, but the more I thought about it the more it sounded like a pretty good idea. As soon as our round was done, I sped off into the busiest, most monumental day I’d had in a very long time.

I stopped on the way home to stock up on supplies such as food, picnic basket, flowers, etc. Along the way I had some very important phone calls to make. First to my mom to ask if I was nuts and whether she thought I should wait or just go ahead and do it that day. I also tried to call Elise’s mom, to let her know what I was thinking but also to ask her advice about a complication that might move my plans back another week. Elise had her Master’s Voice Recital at the end of the week, which was causing her a lot of stress. The last thing I wanted to do was distract her from that and end up stressing her out even more. I’d been with Elise through quite a few performances, but her Mom had been with her through every one she’d ever had, so if anyone knew what getting engaged the week before Elise’s recital might do to her it was her mom.

After initially failing to contact Elise’s mom I started to prepare our picnic in the hopes that she would call back tell me that she thought it was a good idea. I made our picnic lunch and packed a little bottle of wine with two glasses (and put the ring in my pocket). Elise’s mom called back and, after some additional consultation from Elise’s dad, I had the green light. I was so nervous, but my excitement outweighed my nerves! I finished everything just in time. Elise had been directing the noon choir at St. Mary’s and I had called earlier to confirm switching our picnic to right after she was done.

When she came over we got into my van and the first thing I did was give her some red roses. I had received some wisdom earlier, “What girl doesn’t like flowers?” 
{the beautiful roses}
From there I drove her down to Nichols’ Arboretum (“The Arb”), and we started walking towards our picnic spot. I had been hoping and praying that the spot I wanted would be open. It was a very special one: some steps by the river where we had first said, “I love you.” By the grace of God nobody was in my spot, even though the Arb was very crowded that day. I laid out a blanket that I had brought, and we had our picnic. The whole time I was eating, I was trying to get up my nerve to ask her, and trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to say. Before too long, the food ran out and there was nothing to it but to do it. I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and said,

“Elisebeth Claire, will you marry me?”
{newly engaged!}


It was an absolutely gorgeous Sunday. The sun was shining and it was very warm for April--April 10, to be exact. I was anxiously driving to Michael’s house after attending the Noon Mass at St. Mary Student Parish, where I had directed the music for the liturgy. Just calm down, I told myself. Don’t get your hopes up. It could be nothing more than a nice picnic.

Let me backtrack a little bit - Michael had mentioned a day or two earlier that we should go on a picnic sometime later in the week, with a bit of a serious sparkle in his eye. Loving picnics as I do, I certainly did not protest, and at the same time I got the feeling that this picnic, whenever it happened, might be a special one.

Michael texted me Sunday morning when it turned out to be such a beautiful day and suggested we go on the picnic that very afternoon. I said it sounded like a great idea to me – there were thunderstorms predicted Monday and Tuesday, and honestly, I was all jittery just thinking there was even a possibility he might propose – could this finally be the day I had been waiting for?! He said we would go on the picnic after I went to Mass “if he could get everything ready in time.” Really? How long could it take to get a picnic ready? My level of curiosity and excitement were escalating.

After Mass I checked my phone to see if Michael had contacted me. Sure enough, there was a text saying the picnic was a go if I was still up for it. Well, of course I was! I hopped in my car and headed towards his house, which is where I left off originally.

I parked my car and got into his, where he was waiting to drive me to our picnic spot. After a kiss hello, he reached into the backseat and handed me a dozen red roses. That was the moment I knew he was going to propose. He had never given me roses before, and this was just too much for a regular picnic. OH MY GOODNESS, I thought to myself! Just keep your cool. He hasn’t asked you yet.

We had a nice car ride over to the Arb, a beautiful park in Ann Arbor. Once we arrived he pulled out a fancy old-fashioned picnic basket, which I had never seen before. Something else special for our picnic! Hand in hand we walked down to sit by the Huron River. It’s a special spot for us – where we first told each other that we loved one another. With a blanket spread out for us to sit upon, Michael proceeded to unpack a lovely picnic, complete with fresh strawberries and grapes, salad with fresh parmesan cheese & balsamic vinaigrette, and white zinfandel (my favorite at the time). He had all new glass plates, cloth napkins, wine glasses – it really was quite impressive!
{pre-picnic...good thing I just happened to bring my camera...just in case}
Then it was time for lunch. But seriously? What girl can eat when she has a serious feeling she’s about to get engaged?! I had maybe two grapes and two bites of salad. Michael, on the other hand, wasn’t having any trouble with his meal. He was gobbling up all his food, not saying too much. Just get to the point, I was thinking. But I remained calm. Or at least tried to appear as such!
{can you guess whose salad is whose?}
{vanilla wafers with frosting and sprinkles...made with love}
After a little while longer Michael began talking to me about our relationship and the love we share. He said some very thoughtful, very romantic things and then reached into his pocket, got down on one knee in front of me, and asked me to marry him. “YES! YESYESYESYES YES!!!!” I think I said. I really can’t remember too much because I was so full of joy! He placed the most beautiful ring on my finger before getting up from his knee.

It really was the perfect proposal from the perfect man for me. Everything about it came straight from his heart, which is like no other heart I know. I am so grateful he will one day be I can now call him my husband!
{J O Y}
*     *     *

And now, I'm linking up this story of how we met & more with Grace and the other gals.


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