this is part two in a series about relationships. see part one here.
so you're with someone you really love. chances are you've moved in together. maybe you're still living at home, but you see a real future together. whatever the case, you have a feeling this is something special. and you really, really, really want to be with him or her all the time, forever-like.
when does the thought of marriage cross your mind? at what point are you ready for something like that? how in the hell do you even plan the proposal?
here it is, straight from the mouths of my friend victoria, and her favourite man.
photo by ricky flores
1. how did you meet?
we met in first-year university in september 2003. we lived on the same residence floor, and became friends throwing a pack of peanuts back and forth until it became peanut butter. in mid-september we were hanging out in my room when my roommate told us that she had just scored a "hot date". i looked over at him and asked when my hot date was going to be, and, well, here we are...
the first day in residence there was a floor meeting to go over ground rules and first introductions. i remember seeing her there. she looked incredible, and i remember thinking that since no one knew anyone yet, i might actually have a chance. it didn't take long to come, either - it came when one of my new friends mentioned he had kissed her the night before. i think i said something like "damn, she was mine!". after a very manly duel he said he wouldn't pursue her any further.
after the peanut incident, i knew i had made it into the friend zone, but i was just waiting for my chance to move things further. then, one day, we were sitting in her room and her roommate was bragging about some hot date she was going on. my girl looked at me and said, jokingly, "when are you going to take me on a hot date?". i knew i had to act fast, so i replied "monday". she looked surprised but happy.
2. at what point did you realize this relationship was of the "forever" variety?
this is a hard question. i would have to say it was when i realized the idea of being married to him forever wouldn't be so bad. early on in the relationship i had told him i never wanted to get married, but then, somewhere along the line, i changed my mind. i'm always reminded of how much i love him when all i want is to be near him, even if it just means the two of us sitting on the couch watching tv.
we always had a special connection. something that you can't quite put into words. as we spent time together, endured hardships together, enjoyed life together, we became not just partners, but best friends. when all i want is to be at home with her, sitting in comfy clothes, just talking, watching tv, or anything, that's when i know that this is the girl i want to be with forever.
3. what was the proposal like? how did you go about planning/not planning it?
so i wanted it to be awesome. ridiculously awesome. i wanted to propose on top of a mountain in b.c. i kept trying to figure out a plan to make it happen, but between my work, and her school and work, it just didn't seem possible.
i went out and bought the ring on the only weekend that i could get away without her knowing i was doing something out of the ordinary. i spent about 6 hours in the jewellery store... i knew the proposal had to be a surprise. victoria had mentioned she thought it would be cool if my proposal was kind of low key - something a little more intimate. so that's what i did. i took her out on an unassuming date, the day before her birthday (i couldn't propose on her birthday, she might expect that). we had a nice time, and when we got back to the apartment, she said " i had a really good night". as i fetched the ring, i replied, "oh yeah? i think i know something that will make it even better". she looked at me teasingly, thinking i was looking for some action, but then i said, "if you married me".
i looked over at him, and he was kneeling, but it didn't register. i didn't even see the ring, so it took me a few minutes to figure out what was going on. i'm pretty sure i replied with some less-than-lady-like words before i finally said yes. it was simple and perfect, and a great ending to an already perfect day.
we should also note that i almost ruined the whole thing about a month earlier. i had just come back from my sister's baby shower, where i had been asked a billion times, "when are you getting married?". my best friend was with me, and, being a little annoyed from the questioning, i told her, "it's not like he even has the ring, because if he did, i know where it would be." i then marched over to our closet and said, "it would be up on the top shelf, behind all of the boxes." little did i know, he had actually bought the ring the day before and had hid it there. luckily, i didn't start pulling the boxes out, and he didn't react to me going to the closet, otherwise i would have ruined the surprise.
4. what were the family and friend reactions like?
the day after he proposed i had reservations for a birthday lunch with several of my friends, so i got to tell a bunch of them at once. everyone was really happy, and it was great to celebrate with friends right after it happened. i was most concerned about how his parents were going to react. my family had been bugging me about a wedding for some time already, so we knew they were going to be excited. i had no idea what his parents were going to think, but they're super excited for us, and have been really helpful.
three words: it's about time!
5. now that you've crossed that mark, has your relationship changed in any way?
maybe a bit. now i can't nag him about proposing anymore, but i get to nag him about slacking on his wedding planning responsibilities. new things to nag about are definitely a great change ;).
i'll ask... i don't think i'm allowed to have an opinion on this any more.
photo by justen eason
6. what are you most looking forward to in marriage? is there anything you're not looking forward to?
not having to shave my legs anymore... i mean... obviously i'm excited for what the future will bring: new adventures and growing old together. cliché, i know, but actually how i feel.
i'm looking forward to growing together, changing together, having fun and experiencing new things together. life is made up of experiences, not necessarily good or bad. they are what we make of them.
7. what has the whole wedding planning process been like for you? do you feel any kind of pressure to have your wedding a certain way, or not?
we were engaged for almost 6 months before we started any real planning, which was really nice. it gave us some time to enjoy being engaged, and slowly think about what we wanted... without the pressure to commit to anything. the only real issue is the challenge of planning an out-of-city wedding - we're getting married in oakville, which is about 5 hours away. we haven't received major pressure to have our wedding any specific way, though. we're paying for it ourselves, and i think that has helped keep both sets of parents from trying to have things their way.
we both want the same kind of wedding, so, thus far, we haven't been pressured to do it any way but our own. the most stressful part is when victoria decides she wants something done - then it had better get done...
engagement is a big step for any relationship. it has the ability to bring out the crazy in both partners (and sometimes the family members that get too close), and can put into sharp focus the less-desirable habits and qualities we all have. but it can also reveal how strong a team the two of you can be, and can teach compromise and understanding like almost nothing else (when will you ever have the chance to blend an atheist and roman catholic family again? or indian and mid-western traditions?).
if you're with the right person, whatever difficulties, family relations, and crazy you may face, you'll do it together, and learn and grow from each other. and, in the end, not only will you marry one of your best friends, but you'll realise that all those epic battles over colour schemes, ceremony readings, and chair covers were a cakewalk compared to the real issues faced after marriage.
kidding. sort of.