Tuesday, 23 June 2015

How to propose

Content warning:  The following post contains sickening romanticalness, read at your peril.

It's a tricky thing, a proposal.  There are expectations.  And if you are a same-sex couple you have to figure out whether, or how, to address those.  Obviously, this isn't a blueprint for how *you* should propose, but more of a memory about how I did so.  Not necessarily in this order, but if I put it all in order we'd probably be at 'Proposing in Eleventy-One simple steps'.

So, yeah, did some proposin' this weekend.

1. Find out who's going to do the proposing

Now if you're traditionally minded and of different genders, this might be obvious.  But it might not.  In our case, my Beloved spent a year or so asking me to marry her every day so that I would know she still loved me and was invested in our relationship.  As such, we determined that if there was ever to be an actual down-on-one-knee-ring-in-hand proposal I would have to do it.

2. Find out what the proposee would like

Over the course of time I picked up a few hints (these were all actual statements made by my beloved in pretty much as many words) that I wanted to work into the proposal itself:
  • Notice in writing, in triplicate, delivered at least 6 weeks before the proposal itself.
  • Cake (I cannot for the life of me remember when/why this was mentioned, but it was at some point so it went on my mental list).
  • Signage - Beloved specified that there had to be a sign so that she would know I was proposing.  Possibly in order to effect her escape.
  • Running shoes - she threatened to attempt to run away should she spot the sign, so stipulated that I should have my running shoes on in case I needed to catch her.
And for a bonus point I wanted pink champagne, because someone brought a bottle of the same champagne that I had for my 18th birthday to Beloved's 21st.

3. Deliver Notice of Intention to Propose Marriage

Beloved received this beauty one weekend morning last year:

4. Sort out the bling

I went and got my great aunt's emerald ring restored and sent a very scary email to my now future in-laws asking if there was any suitable family ring for my Beloved.  I got a response saying they couldn't think of anything so started contemplating having something to match my ring commissioned.

Later a family ring did turn up on her side, so we had a few conversations about whether this was the ring she wanted and went about getting it in turn restored.  This took Sandy Menzies a fair while - apparently the setting was porous and thus pesky.

5. Pick a date

I picked a Friday afternoon just before a week when we would see both sets of parents and would be able to tell them in person.

6. Come up with a plan

Plan A was to use my weekly afternoon off to turn our living room into a tent (reflecting our mutual love of camping) using swathes of fabric, a sari and various scarves.  Lay out cushions, blankets and squishy things along with a small table set with cake and fizz.  Then go meet Beloved from work and head for the gym as usual and return home to my beautiful proposal.

7. Have your date scuppered

A few short weeks before my intended date, a couple of our friends got engaged.  I shouldn't have been surprised, being as how there is an established engagement season in the northern hemisphere but I worried about treading on their toes.  I was wavering over whether my planned proposal was too soon.

And then Rowan Tree Tents sent me to set up a tent on the afternoon in question and that was the end of that.

8. Pick a new date

I realised that the 7th anniversary of our first kiss was going to be at a weekend (I warned you about the soppiness, you read on so on your own head be it) and that we could once again stay up all night to watch the sun rise over the North Sea.

9. Allow the proposee to think that your romanical notion is their idea

Imagine my relief when Beloved suggested the very romantical sunrise watching (obviously she didn't include 'and then you can get your sign out and propose') I had been trying to figure out how to suggest.  Beloved had been getting suspicious of any ideas that I had which included walking up hills or going somewhere just the two of us.  Now she was going to be the agent of her own undoing *mwah hah hah haa*.

10. Gather supplies using subterfuge

It's awkward buying champagne when the person you want to suprise with it is in the shop with you.  Fortunately I had an additional ulterior motive (of which, more next week) for sneaking inexplicably round Tesco so she ascribed my weird behaviour to that.  I was, however slightly scuppered yet again by the supermarket I had to visit for other reasons not having the champagne I was planning on, so I had a speedy dither and settled on the pink one wearing a Wimbledon jacket. 

I also had to make a sign.  I made a very dinky little sign.  Fortunately I had another excuse for getting out my wood-burning tool, Beloved never suspected a thing.
The dinkiest proposing sign in all the land.

And I made cake.  It's usually easy to think up an excuse for baking.  So I did.

11. Be thwarted by sleepies

At 2am on the overnight in question, Beloved announced that since it was forecast to rain she was going to sleep rather than go for that romantical walk.  I offered to let her have an hour or so's sleep then take her out to the beach in the car.  She said she would be grumpy if I did.  So I let it go and set a normal-ish alarm.

12. A plateful of breakfast helps the proposing go down

Yes folks, a plateful of croissants is to proposing marriage as a spoonful of sugar is to medicine.  I got up, made the breakfast*, put on my running shoes and knelt at my Beloved's bedside.

11. Say it with cake

I said it with this cake:
'Marry me?' takes up a surprising amount of space on a cake.  I didn't think a practice run was appropriate, somehow. 

Because, really, who can say no to cake?

12. Forget to eat all of your breakfast because of the excitement

The coffee will go cold, the croissants will go chewy, but how often is it appropriate to eat cake and drink champagne before 9am?

*Of course I wasn't nervous, I knew she would say yes and the plan would be well-received.  So that can't be why I poured the first half-cup of coffee into one of the champagne glasses, can't be that at all.