The day began with a sizable list of errands that my girlfriend and I needed to get done for a baby shower the following day. It was a Saturday, so regardless of how productive we were feeling, we still only managed to get out-the-door around 10am. That day things had to go right and had to be on-schedule. However, the last thing I could let-on was that any schedule outside errands even existed. A bump of caffeine at Dunkin' Donuts, followed by an eye-opening shopping session at Babies 'R Us, then a wrapping paper run at Duane Reade were all accompanied by yet another few stops. Somehow 10am had turned into nearly 3pm. Yikes. The frequency with which I was checking my phone for the time had increased drastically and I was sure that my girlfriend, Kim, had noticed. Why was I so twitchy? Well, earlier in the week, I'd planted the seed that over the weekend, Kim and I should make time for one of her favorite places in Manhattan - The Cloisters - regardless of how otherwise busy the weekend was beginning to appear.
I'd been planning this trip to the Cloisters for eight months. My strategic reminders throughout the week sought to keep it moderately on her mind - but not conspicuously so - and on our weekend agenda.
So, where was I? We stopped back home to drop off all of our morning's bounty, which meant we'd be lucky to arrive at the Cloisters by 4:15pm. Of course, I was beginning to cringe, since the location only stayed open until 5:15pm on weekends. (Leave it to me to pick the furthest north point in Manhattan.) Needless to say, after some quick crowd maneuvers and express subway line magic, we arrived at 4:30pm.
Grey skies loomed as we walked into the Medieval Garden, near the heart of the compound. It opened in 1938 and is a breathtaking amalgam of five medieval cloisters and monastic sites in southern France. I'd chosen this particular garden to propose for a number of reasons, one of which was that during our first visit, we'd been approached by a woman asking if she could take a picture of the two of us for our records...simply because we "looked so happy together." Fast-forward a year and these words seemed to resonate with a deeper meaning than we'd ever predicted.
After a day of running around, both my girlfriend and I were spent and she took a seat on the stone wall surrounding the garden. "It'd be so nice if we could find a way to get married here when that point comes, " she said. "Well, I'm not sure about weddings here, but I have a feeling we'll somehow get The Cloisters into the mix," I responded as I knelt down in front of her. Taking the box out of my pocket and opening it up to display the ring, Kim's eyes widened, filled with tears and her hand went to cover the exclaim escaping from her mouth. As she struggled to respond, happily consumed by tears, to my question, "Will you marry me?" I slipped the ring on her finger and rose to give her what seemed like the nicest embrace we'd had yet.
As the clouds let loose above us, we sat dryly under the eaves of the garden discussing my proposal planning, her surprise and all that we were looking forward to together. Two couples approached, both having taken photographs on a whim as I proposed, which they kindly emailed us then-and-there. And that's how the story goes - one that will live vividly in my memory forever. The moment Kim, my girlfriend made me the happiest man on earth and became my fiancee.
That's my proposal story. What's yours? Whether it's romantic or over-the-top, I'd love to hear how you made that big step together!