I'm writing this on Friday morning and thinking that this time last week, I had no clue that the very next day would be the best of my whole life. I've had a week to process what happened and sort through my very happy thoughts. I am so thankful to everyone that was there with us to share our engagement, and to those who have sent us kind messages. Changing my relationship status to "engaged" on facebook brought on an army of happy wishes from our dear friends. It was incredible in every way. Here is how it happened.
Saturday March 12, 2011
I had to go to a baby shower that afternoon for one of Michael's cousins. My sister Ashley asked to pick me up at my house that morning so we could go shopping for a gift then go to the shower together. Michael had arranged this with her to get me out of the house and so that I would be without my car so I couldn't drive home and ruin the surprise.
After the baby shower, Michael picked me up and announced, "Let's go to the boardwalk."
I absolutely love the beach, especially this time of year. It's quiet, peaceful and beautiful. On the way to the boardwalk, we stopped at a cute little cafe to get drinks and pastries. After that, we reached the boardwalk. I told Michael I thought it was a little too crowded and suggested we go to Whiskey Beach, which is a little farther North. It's a beautiful beach with rock jetties and old war towers. It's always been my favorite.
When he agreed, it threw me off a little. I had a slight suspicion he might propose when he suggested going to the beach. But I thought he had made his plans at the boardwalk, so when he agreed to my change of plans, I started to think it probably wasn't happening that night.
I found out later that part was actually his plan. He knows me so well, he knew I would suggest going to Whiskey Beach instead. He had actually driven to that beach that afternoon while I was at the baby shower to pick out the perfect spot and plan his proposal.
We get to the beach and he gets out his camera equipment. He tells me he wants to take pictures of the sunset, which was so beautiful that night.
He sets his camera up in a certain spot (that he had picked earlier that day) and takes some test pictures.
Little did I know that he was setting up the camera to take pictures of his proposal! This is the spot where it happened.
He asks me to go stand in front of the camera because he wanted to take my picture.
Please take note of my shoes. I was wearing cute black flats that night and when he suggested a walk on the beach, I didn't want to get sand in them. I went barefoot for about 7 seconds before my feet froze. Michael gave me his shoes to wear to keep my feet warm. So in these photos, I have clown feet and it looks pretty silly. But it is cute and authentic.
Then he tells me he wants us to take a picture together. At this point, I started getting a little suspicious. I mean, it was the most perfect setting and he was being so adamant about getting all these pictures. I was working up quite a bit of excitement.
Does he look nervous? Because he's about to propose.
We take the first picture, he runs back to his camera to check the settings. He sets the timer again, runs to my side and falls down on his knee beside me.
He says, "I love you so much, Jenna. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"
I sort of thought he was kidding. Then I saw that he had a ring. In my head I was thinking, "Oh my gosh. He HAS a ring. That is a ring. Oh my gosh."
I forgot I had to say yes, so I just kind of stuck my hand down with wide eyes. After about 5 second of being completely shocked, I very happily said yes.
The best part was when he put the ring on my finger, stood up and hugged me. In that moment, I fully realized what had just happened. I was holding him tight and listening to him whisper in my ear, "I love you so much. I love you so much."
I could hear the waves crashing on the beach. The sunset was producing beautiful colors in the sky. It was so real to me in that moment that Michael wanted to marry me and be with me forever.
I realized I was hugging the most amazing man on the planet and how incredibly blessed we are to have found each other.
We were both crying and smiling and laughing. So happy.
After we left the beach, I told him I couldn't wait to call my mom. He said she already knew, because he had gone last month to ask my father for permission to marry me. True gentleman.
He suggested we wait until we got to my house to show my parents. So I very anxiously waited in his car while we drove home.
When I walked in the house, it was full of people! All of our loved ones. His family, my family, our friends. All there to celebrate our engagement. Michael had planned all of it, because he knew I would want to show everyone all at once. He knows that my heart is to share moments like that with the people I love.
And to top it all off, he arranged for my very best friends from college to drive down from New York to surprise me!
I was so overwhelmed. All I could do was cry and hug everyone and tell them how much I loved them.
I was feeling so many things - pure joy and excitement. I hope I never forget the way I felt that night.
So many people helped Michael put the party together. My amazing mother baked mini cupcakes and cookies. She set this cute dessert table up and put pictures of Michael and I throughout the house. My Nana and Aunt Debby made homemade peanut butter cups and chocolate dipped pretzels. Nana also bought those darling plates that said, "A perfect pair" and napkins that said, "Made for each other."
It was the sweetest thing. I was so overwhelmed and thankful that my family put this together for us.
We got gifts too!
I remember not wanting to say good bye to him that night when the party was over. I kept telling him, "We are getting married! Yay!"
My friends visiting from New York spent the night and left after breakfast the next morning. I was sad to see them go, but we are meeting up again in a few weeks for our friend Rachel's wedding in Arkansas! Friendships like that remain. They are incredible people.
That afternoon, Michael and I went back to the beach (the boardwalk this time!) with some of our friends for lunch.
One of my favorite restaurants is open for the season now, so we went there.
By the way, my ring is incredible. The most beautiful ring I've ever seen in my whole life. It has tons of detail on the sides. It has this tiny metal beading called milgrain, which is surrounding little diamonds lined up on every side of the ring. I can't stop staring at it. I'm looking at it right now actually.
We so enjoyed the day after our engagement. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and we were all so happy. Lunch was delicious, we had smoothies and grilled sandwiches.
That's my future husband up there.
After lunch, we went for a walk on the beach. It was a perfect day.
The celebrations have continued and the wedding planning has started!
I know this is super long. Thank you for hanging in until the end.
Basically, I've never felt so happy or excited for life. We are thrilled to start our lives together. I absolutely cannot wait to marry this man, have his babies and grow old and wrinkly with him.
There are no words I have in my vocabulary to thank my family and friends for everything. I have never felt so loved in my whole life. All I can say is - thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
And as for you, Michael. I never thought I would have a man kneel down on his knee in front of me and ask to be with me forever. Thank you for loving me exactly as I am. I cannot wait to walk down the aisle, take your hands and promise forever to each other.