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Destination: Engagement

Every girl imagines and hopes to have prince charming sweep them off their feet and live happily ever after, right? Well - I always dreamed of love and being loved, but never in my wildest dreams thought this fairytale story was one I would experience.

Our Love Story

Where to start... I guess it all began back in 2015 when we first met. It was, again, not something you would typically dream of as a romantic encounter. But looking back it was one of the most magical moments I've lived through (next to my engagement, of course!). We had a mutual friend that was hosting a good ol' backyard birthday party. The party, as you can imagine, was a mixture of all sorts of people from different parts of her life. Him from her childhood, me from her university days. I don't remember a cliched moment where we locked eyes from across the lawn and our bodies drew together like magnets. What I do remember though was us kicking some serious butt as beer pong partners. That and the next day having people I barely knew telling me they thought this stranger I had never laid eyes on in my life previously was a long-term boyfriend of mine.

After that, the rest has literally been history. I believe after that weekend we have (almost) never spent a weekend apart. It's been so natural to love one another and in doing so we have developed the best friendship: partnership. Skip ahead three years, we have moved in together, become critical members in each other's families, and are now planning our lives in the same notebook.

Both of us have a unspoken desire in life to travel and explore. So naturally a big bucket list item this past year was to fly overseas and backpack parts of the world together. For multiple reasons (not including an engagement) we decided on three European countries as our destination: France, Switzerland, and Italy, with Paris as our port of entry.

Not to my surprise, as soon as I began to share the news of travelling to the city of love and true romance, all of my (lady) friends and coworkers started whispering about rings and destination engagement plans. My mind couldn't help but wander either - we had gone ring "browsing" earlier in the year so I knew it was something both of us wanted and planned. With thoroughly thinking the idea of him popping the question over in Europe, though, I had a feeling it was NOT going to happen. My man is smart and handsome, but boy is he meticulous and very detail-oriented. First off, there would be no way he would find THE ring in only a few months (from us looking together to us flying out of the country). Secondly, travel brings a certain sense of uncertainty. There is no way he would do something so spontaneous, I thought to myself.

Looking back now, I think a lot of those thoughts going through my mind was just a way of having my girlfriends and coworkers let it go. I didn't want to come up with a dream engagement in my head and then be waiting the entire trip for something to happen that was not in the works. Most of all, I did not want to put the pressure on him - I knew it was in our future, but it did not need to be on this trip.


The Trip to Europe

It was our first full day in Paris. We had a great, full day planned of site seeing. We started off by wondering through the city and making our way through the Luxembourg gardens and into the Pantheon. After some amazing Parisian food, we made our way along the Seine back to our AirBnB to change out of our sweaty clothes (did I mention we went in the middle of the summer - so hot!) and into something a little nicer for the evening. We hit up some local eateries for sandwiches, macarons, and of course some wine and then headed off to the Parc du Champs de Mars for a very stereotypical picnic. Sure enough, mother nature had a very different evening planned out for us. It poured. Like actually poured - thunder, lightening, the works. Which left our picnic in the mud and us hiding under our blanket, under a tree. In between downpours, we managed to down our sandwiches on a bench before running towards the Eiffel Tower.

Expectation: The ending of our night was meant to be spent up on the tower watching the sunset.

Reality: The ending of our night was spent watching the lightening show blow over the city. For the record, it was not planned but was still a sight to see.

Just as I thought the night was truly about to end, I started walking to the elevators and he bent down to put his camera away. Me, being cold and inpatient, began bantering away about how he could do that once we were on our way back down to the ground. Not paying attention at all to him, I scanned the elevator line and then turned my head back towards him as he called out my name. And there he was. My eyes quickly became frozen on his body knelt on the ground with the little black velvet box in his hands. My breath literally gone. I couldn't say anything. My hands rose to my mouth as tears slowly started to fill my eyes. I am so thankful I played that mind game on myself because being so surprised and shocked made that moment the most magical moment in my life. He said some things, I heard the question, and in that split second I found my voice to say the three-lettered word "yes". We kissed and hugged and could not take our eyes off of one another. I really don't know how long we stood there - it was as if we were in some sort of vacuum, just the two of us up on the Eiffel Tower, soaked from the earlier rains.

Somehow our senses came to and heard the applause and cheering from the other crazy people that chose to go up on the tower during a thunderstorm. It was quite a breathtaking moment realizing our love was out there for the world to see and we were sharing this cherished milestone in our lives with complete strangers. The cherry on top were these two ladies, that too had just begun a backpacking adventure, came over to us and told us they were able to capture our time in the "vacuum of love" (my words, not theirs).

Celebrating over a glass of champagne, I felt the need to ask him a few questions of my own. When did you know you were going to do it? Where did you hide the ring? Who knew? And sadly... What did you say when you were down on one knee? Knowing the next few pieces of information just added to making that day so much more magical.

He had planned to do it that day, partially because it was towards the beginning of our trip and was nervous travelling with the ring. But primarily because he knew this trip would be one for the books and when you have a chance to propose in Paris, you jump on the opportunity! The one part of his plan that didn't go as intended was the rain. His hopes had been to do it on the Champs de Mars - picnicking with our GoPro out to capture the moment ourselves. When the rain came and literally washed that away, he began to think it could be nothing more than a sign that today wasn't the day to do it.

Once we got up on the Eiffel Tower, though, there was one particular point in the night overlooking the city lights I told him a few words that changed his whole view on the evening and events that were about to pan out. I expressed how happy I was to be there next to him seeing Paris for the first time, regardless of the rain, and that the adventures we set out to experience were only just beginning. I was so excited to live in the moment, in that moment, with him. With that he took it as a sign to literally live in the moment and propose. Minutes later was when I thought I heading back down a few hundred feet and he noticed the whole corner had cleared out to carry out this hidden surprise.

The rest of the trip is probably another story, but to say the least, it really felt like a engagement version of a honeymoon - getting to live in the excitement and happiness just the two of us.


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