Engagement Story

Company Girl Coffee is a fun weekly link-up at Home Sanctuary

Lately I've been thinking about those days, so long ago, when Brian and I got together, got engaged, and got married. (All in the span of about 10 months. Yes, we are one of those couples.)

The year was 2007. I know. So long ago.

It's August. We'd been dating since the end of January or first of February (depending on your definition of dating) and I'd moved up to Richmond, where he was in school, that June. 

Brian's sister Kelley had been planning to attend UNC-Chapel Hill (GO HEELS!) and we'd planned to help her with moving into her dorm over the weekend of the 18th. But at some point beforehand, she'd decided to attend a nursing program in (well, near) Charlotte instead. Incidentally, I'd signed a lease on the house I was renting, and my move-in date was August 15. So of course, since we didn't need to move Kelley in, I wanted us to move ME in. Makes sense, right?

Brian protested. He'd made plans for us to go to a Japanese steakhouse with his college roommate, Barnes, (we call him Barnes) and he didn't want to bail on that since they don't get many chances to see each other. Ok, whatever. I wanted to hang out with my dog anyway, since he hadn't been able to make the move to Richmond yet. So we went to Chapel Hill that Friday. 

So it's Saturday now. We're going to hang out with Barnes. We had fun. Barnes is a funny guy. And who doesn't love hibachi chicken? I don't really remember what else we did that day. We had dinner plans with my (former) pastor Dave and his wife Angie, so we went back to my mom's place to get ready for that. At some point we stopped at a grocery store and picked up a chocolate peanut butter cake thingie to take. Somewhere along the way, I misplaced my cell phone - which is such a frequent occurrence that nobody bats an eye.

Brian insisted on wearing a suit for dinner. Here's the thing: when I'm over at Dave and Angie's, I usually end up rolling around on the carpet playing with their beagle. Ours is not really a 'dress up' kind of relationship. So I thought this was weird. Brian said that he had planned to talk to Dave about maybe doing our wedding (because we were planning to get married at some nebulous point in the future) and since that was a serious conversation, he wanted to wear a suit. Or something weird like that. By then I'd already learned not to ask questions because the answers tended to be odd. (Not much has changed.)

So he's in his suit, and I'm in some 'Sunday clothes' and only a little irritated by that. We're on the road. Brian's phone rings. He doesn't recognize the number and takes the call. It's Angie. Her son Taylor, who I think was 9 at the time, had injured himself on the trampoline and they needed to bail on dinner. So sorry. Hope you guys can have fun, maybe go to campus or something.

So we go to campus to scrounge up some fun. (In our dress clothes.)

We decide to park on Franklin Street, the north border of campus. We walk onto the upper quad, aka McCorkle place. It's an August afternoon in North Carolina, which can be translated in one word: muggy. Kids are milling around. Freshmen and their helicopter parents are overdressed and a little panicky. Folks are sitting on the grass, playing frisbee, shouting at friends they haven't seen in months. Not a bad place to be. I thought about how much I love that place and how much I miss it. (For those of you who don't know, the upper quad is the oldest part of campus. It's a big, sprawling quad with green grass, brick walkways, ancient oak trees and the occasional monument, all bordered by beautiful classroom buildings. They don't make campuses like they used to, that's for sure. The south edge of the upper quad is home to the Old Well, which might be the most well-known spot on campus. The north end is where Silent Sam stands, a monument erected in honor of students who left their studies to go fight in the Civil War. We had drumline practice by Silent Sam most days. Happy memories.)

We get approached by what apparently is a student journalist. She says she's writing a story about campus landmarks, and would we mind posing for a picture? Ok, sure, makes sense. I worked for the school magazine and I'm pretty sure I edited that story once or twice. She takes us over to the Davie Poplar bench. (Rabbit trail: the Davie Poplar is named after one of the founders of the University, William Richardson Davie. The legend is that Mr. Davie stated that as long as this tree stands, the University will stand, but when the tree falls, the University will crumble. The Class of...52? put a cement bench under the poplar, and the bench's legend is that a couple who kisses on the bench will be together forever.)

You see where this is headed. Sorta.

So the student (her name is Anna) asks us some questions and writes some stuff in her notepad, and then she asks if she can take our picture sitting on the bench. (I might have been suspicious by now.) She walks off, and I stand up, ready to go. Brian has stalled out on the bench, still holding my hand. He's fidgety. Lingering AND fidgety.

I sit back down and ask him if something is on his mind. (VERY SUSPICIOUS!)

He proposes. It was very sweet and heartfelt and made me love him so much more, and I don't remember a word of it. He wraps up by kneeling in front of me and offering an engagement ring while asking me if I would marry him.

I say yes. (Duh.)

We are...hugging? standing? sitting? I don't remember. And those students who were playing frisbee end their game, start humming, an assemble in a semi-circle in front of us, do-wopping and bee-bopping and whatever else it is that a capella groups do. I recognize some of them. Then, from behind us, out pops BARNES! Because, you see, Barnes was in an a capella group in college! And he'd been in on the whole thing.

So they sing our song and everybody is staring, and we're SO happy and it's glorious.

So there are hugs all around, phone calls, and then it's time to get dinner. Except we're too excited to eat. And then Brian calls Dave and says everything went off without a hitch, and we're on the way over with dessert. They were in on the whole thing. Which means, Taylor did not actually injure himself at all. And, the phone call from 'Angie' was actually from Kelley. She had a script. Brian wrote her a script. He had also taken my phone, so that it would make sense that 'Angie' would be calling him and not me. Over dessert, Brian said to me, 'and you even got your chocolate.' Because at some point, I had mentioned to him that maybe chocolate should be involved in our engagement. I was probably kidding. He did it anyway. He's a smart boy.

Aside: I had one of those moments - SO excited and happy, thoughts racing about what to do or say, wanting to make sure I actually say yes, wanting to make sure I look at him and not the bling, etc. etc. Actually, I didn't really even look at my ring until we'd finished our phone calls and everything. He'd designed it with a local jeweler. I love it.

Do you have a fun engagement story? What was going through your mind when your husband proposed to you?


  1. Cute story! I love hearing people's engagement stories. My husband proposed to me at the Opryland Hotel. Near the waterfall. He presented the ring attached to a little Precious Moments figurine (I collected them at the time) It was lovely. I did, however suspect something because he was SO nervous. He had to visite the Boys' room about three times before we actually ever got to start our "walk".

  2. okay Ashley, this story is ADORABLE! I LOVE IT! And I must say, I am jealous. Your story is a LOT more interesting than mine, haha

  3. What a perfect, perfect story! Thank you for sharing it...I have one, too, but it is too long to share here, perhaps I will post it on my blog...btw...so swamped here, I have work for you, but won't be able to write it all down to explain until after Easter...es ok?

  4. I love engagement stories. What a great way for us all to get to know each other better over coffee.

    My dh proposed to me in front of the Home and Garden Building at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The site of our first date. So sweet.

    Enjoy your weekend!

  5. What a great story (and what a thoughtful guy!)

    My husband never actually proposed LOL. But here we are!

  6. what a sweet story! thanks for sharing with us. your hubby is very thoughtful. sounds like you got a keeper there.

  7. My husband proposed to my in his bedroom. We were going to meet up with his dad and brother that day to see a concert and I was sitting on his couch watching a movie. He called to me but I didn't know where he was, so I started looking and noticed a funny glow coming from the bedroom. I walked in and there were candles lit and the bed was made (which told me right off that something was up!!). And he told me that he believed that it's the everyday stuff that matters, and that's why he picked an everyday moment to surprise me. Of course it wasn't a huge surprise - I knew he'd picked up the ring the night before. He managed to wait a whole 16 hours to give it to me!!!

    When he took it out of the box he dropped it and it rolled under the dresser, so the first few moments as an engaged woman consisted of me watching him desperately try to get it! Typical!

    He HAD intended on waiting until we went to the beach (which we'd been planning on doing for my birthday) and proposing at the top of the ferris wheel, but the pier owner told him they might not be able to make that happen for us. GOOD THING because when we rode it, we were on with two screaming kids in our tub who kept asking us questions and telling us we were all going to die. He looked at me and said, "I'm really glad I didn't wait til now!"

  8. What a lovely story. I enjoyed it thanks for sharing.

  9. Let's not forget that in addition to my script, I also had to deactivate 3 facebook profiles and type in a code to keep my phone number from appearing on the caller ID--all while Dad was yelling to me and wondering why I wouldn't answer. Brian loves his drama! (But yes, he's also sweet.)

    I think I'll hold off on my proposal story and maybe tell our whole story at once sometime.

  10. Oh my..what a wonderful proposal...I've always kidded my hubby that I kind of got a back handed proposal, so when it was our 30th he got me an anniversary ring and he got down on one knee and proposed all over again!

  11. Oh, Ashley, that story just gave me the "warm fuzzies" all over. Thanks for sharing and thanks for dropping by my post. Blessings to you and I do hope spring will find it's way to Colorado shortly!

  12. I laughed my head off throughout my entire proposal. Long story, but I'll share it someday on my blog! :)

  13. Loved the engagement story! How sweet and fun!

    My future-husband made BIG plans, then asked my Dad if he could ask me and got a NO! (We hadn't been dating long and there were some other issues.) Anyway, my guy ended up telling me that he had called and asked my Dad and got the negative response. He said we'd have to wait. Little did I know that he called my Dad back and talked him into a Yes!

    We were going on a double date with our best friends and I remember telling my girlfriend while we were getting ready that I wasn't painting my nails because I wasn't getting a ring on my finger that night. She was smart enough to not tell me to do otherwise.

    We ended up going to an arboretum and the other couple scurried away...a little weird. Then my guy took me to the desert room??? Who knows why. We sat under some beautiful flowers and he got out some paperwork and asked me to hang on to it. It was the insurance papers for my ring.

    I knew that he had gotten the ring made, so the paperwork didn't surprise me, but I thought it was very inconsiderate that he gave it to me on a date...the date when we couldn't get engaged. I was a little steamed and asked why he was giving me the papers. Could I have set him up any better?

    He said, "Well, you know I always lose things so I wanted you to have it right away." Errr. I was even more steamed. Then he said, "Plus, you'll need the paperwork since you'll be wearing this." He then dropped to one knee and proposed with ring in hand. I didn't even see it coming!

    A little while later we called my parents. My Dad answered and I said, "Guess what, Dad? I'm engaged." He answered angrily, "What?? Put that boy on the phone!" I sheepishly gave the phone to my guy and he burst out laughing and said, "Yeah, she was worried!" Gotten again!

    We've been married 21 years and those two are still pulling pranks on me! :)

    Thanks for asking us to share our stories too.

  14. I don't have a fun engagement story of my own, as I'm still single. But I did once see someone use a pumpkin patch to propose to someone. They literally spelled the words "Will You Marry Me?" out in pumpkins! So adorable!! :)

  15. Hi Ashley, thank you for visiting my blog. I loved your engagement story. My husband and I have been married for 40 years. We met on his 18th birthday. I took my first motorcycle ride in my life with him. We got into an accident. I visited him while he was in the hospital and I was released the same day. We seen each other every day after that for 6 months. He asked me to marry him and we ran off and got married in another state because back in the day you had to be 21 years to say 'I do'. We have 3 kids and 2 wonderful grand-daughters 4 and 8. That's my story.
    We have had our ups and downs like any marriage but still very much in love. :)

  16. What a cute story, thank you for sharing. You were one of those couples (as you put it.) My husband and I were engaged for 18 months. The joke, at the beginning of our engagement, was that some couples still had time to meet and marry before we did, and several of our friends did. Thanks for stopping by.

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  18. Thanks for sharing your fun engagement story. I smiled at the misplaced cell phone moment (as I do the same thing). Boy, your man thought of everything!

    I've been feeling nostalgic lately too. My husband and I got engaged in January of 2000. He had written a script for the moment he bent down on one knee and asked me the question. We were on a beach in Vietnam, and he had tucked the ring into a shell. I wasn't actually sure which hand the ring belonged on, and I found out a week later I had guessed wrong! Yes, I'm observant like that.

    But the important thing was that we had fallen in love, and I said yes. We were married 7 months later. So I can relate to your time line. =)

  19. Sounds like your man is a romantic. Love hearing your story.

  20. :-) i believe i was in on it as well!!

  21. What a wonderful story! My Hubby is an amateur magician, and he turned a penny into my engagement ring then proposed. It was really cool.

    Thank you for the birthday wishes! I hope you have a good week and Happy Easter!


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