I wasn’t planning on writing about this since it has absolutely nothing to do with personal finance (maybe I’ll write about the ring-buying process, which definitely included some sweet in-person negotiations), but some twitter folks were asking about it and rather than retelling it, I’ll forever be able to direct people here.
A little over 2 1/2 years ago, I took Lauren to a little lake in Maryland, near our college campus, where I asked her to be my girlfriend.
Fast forward 30 months. I was trying to think of an appropriate way to propose, and of all locations, I kept coming back to the lake. It’s nice and secluded and it has that personal connection I was looking for. But how was I going to get her there without tipping her off that something big was going to happen?
So about a month before, I casually asked if she wanted to go to the lake on Sunday, even though I knew it was going to rain and we’d have to postpone. And it did, but at least it was in the back of her mind as a normal thing to do. We planned a picnic, but each week it just didn’t work out, either because we were traveling or there was some other event. So on the Sunday we went, we made pesto, boiled some pasta, and packed a bag for our lake adventure.
Next, I wanted to think of a fun way to actually propose. I didn’t want to just get down on one knee, although I’m sure she would have said yes anyway. But I only propose once, so I might as well do it awesomely. Lauren loves magic 8 balls (and I had already gotten her a few over time, including a magic 8 ball keychain), so when I found out that you can open one up and change the message, it was a no-brainer.
So I bought a magic 8 ball and started to follow the directions to modify it. Step 1: Use a fine knife to cut it open. I spent about an hour trying to cut this thing open, but I got nowhere. All I did was scratch it up without any indication that I was getting close. Now what? I put up an ad on craigslist asking for someone to do it for me, and on my 3rd post, I finally got someone. Within a week, I had them delivered to him from Amazon (yah free 2-day shipping!), he modified all the sides to say ‘will you marry me’, and them delivered them to my brother who lives between this guy and me. My brother had no idea what was being delivered, all he knew was that he was supposed to give some white haired bearded man $100 in exchange for a mysterious package. He was pleasantly surprised when he found out what the package was!
Since I like going overboard, I wanted to add one more element. Several months ago, I tried to get Lauren earrings. I bought them online, but was disappointed in how they looked. So I decided to get some CZ ones to see if she could tell the difference. Then I bought more. And more. So I ended up with 4 pairs, 3 fakes and 1 real. I laid them on the table, told her that 2 of them were real and 2 of them were fake and that she could have any of them she wanted. She knew the real ones were real (because they were unimpressive), but she also thought that one of the CZ ones were also real. It was a whole production and her family watched her guess and everyone had a lot of fun. In the end, she didn’t keep any of them (she doesn’t wear jewelry, which probably makes me the luckiest man ever), but we still had a fantastic memory.
Back to the lake, where after our picnic, I waited until a group of people passed our gazebo, and gave her what I told her was a gag gift I got her at CVS. It was another 8 ball, which made her laugh, but when she looked at the message then looked up to see me holding a box with a beautiful ring inside it, all she could say is “Is this serious?” I can never surprise Lauren, so the fact that I was able to keep this secret so well really threw her off, but after I assured her that I was completely serious, she said yes! But before I put the ring on her finger, I took out another package, a giant 5 ct plastic ring I got, and told her: “One of these is real and the other is fake. You can have whichever one you want.” After debating her choices, she finally went with the one that isn’t supposed to be a paperweight, and we hugged and kissed, and the rest is history.