September 02, 2003

A Decent Proposal

I got engaged on Wednesday. Actually, that statement is a little too passive. Makes it seem like I picked up something on the way home from work or dropped a subscription card in the mailbox or developed some sort of temporary condition for which medication or a topical ointment is available from my doctor.

Let's start over.

I proposed to my girlfriend on Wednesday night.

Using her birthday as grounds for a nice night out, I took her to dinner at Balthazar, the sight of one of our first dates. We shared a goat cheese and onion tart, a bottle of Riesling and amused ourselves over dinner by trying to pick the wealthiest person in the restaurant (note: it wasn't either of us).

When we came home we found a note on our door. "D & L, I have my telescope on the roof. Come up tonight to look at Mars. I'll be up late. Rob." While we do have an upstairs neighbor named Rob who owns a telescope, this note was left by our friends who, while we were at dinner, had set up flowers, champagne, candles, cupcakes and a blanket on our rooftop. I told L that I was going up to see if Rob was still there and that she should come up to say hello. So I ran up and found a lovely display waiting for us. I frantically tried to light the candles - smoking ban be damned, Balthazar still had matches at the bar - and then waited for L to come upstairs.

L and I have been dating for just over two years. Two months ago we moved in together, leaving Manhattan - where we surely would have killed each other in a too-small, yet too-expensive flat - for the brownstones and tree-lined streets of Brooklyn. We had talked about marriage before moving in together and it was just a matter of when, not if I would propose.

Back to the story. She said yes. If she supected something was up that night, she did a great job of not ruining my effort to surprise her.

I won't bore you with stories about how happy we are, how in love we are, how perfect this is, and all that romantic stuff. It was a great night. It's been a great week. We're excited. We love each other. Great. Everyone who gets engaged feels that way.

After dozens of phone calls from family and friends offering congratulations, we now have a lot of planning to do. The problem is that a wedding isn't just one event. Before you even get to the wedding there are showers, engagement parties, visits to family, and perhaps bachelor and bachelorette parties. It's a little overwhelming.

Fearing our initial joy would be overshadowed by too much planning, I declared a one-week moratorium on details. We should sit back and enjoy ourselves, I told L, and not let details take the place of our joy at getting engaged. Friends and family members hailed me as a genius. A one-week moratorium! How clever! What a romantic notion!

But the moratorium was no more than the proverbial finger in the dike. There is one detail that simply Will Not Be Ignored: The Date.

You see, L's father runs a summer camp in the midwest. She grew up there. Her older sister had her wedding there and, having visited twice, I can attest that it will in fact be a lovely setting. The problem is that for about eight weeks out of the summer, it's, well, a summer camp. When it's not overrun by kids, it's being used by different groups for retreats, conferences and the like. There aren't a lot of weekends to choose from and more are getting snapped up every day. So, we have to pick The Date. Soon.

I recently made a stink when two of L's friends each got engaged and scheduled their weddings for holiday weekends. Like most people, I tend to have plans on Memorial Day weekend and July 4th. How dare these couples tell ME what I'M doing on MY holiday weekend!

I'm sure the couples thought they were doing their guests a favor by scheduling their weddings for weekends when everyone has off anyway. But this is America. We get fewer vacation days than any other industrialized nation in the world. And now you're telling me I have to spend one of them talking to your Aunt Sylvia in between bites of my choice of chicken or fish? Thanks. Thanks a lot.

Which still leaves us with The Date. We can't very well turn around and schedule our wedding for Labor Day weekend, lest L and I feed each other a heaping plate of crow at the reception. We should know by tomorrow what's available.

Alas, despite my best intentions and efforts, details found their way around the one-week moratorium, which, incidentally, ends tomorrow at midnight. Let the planning begin!

Posted by The Groom at September 2, 2003 06:17 PM

the part about holiday weekends - too funny and I agree completely!

Posted by: Luci in NY at November 13, 2003 02:37 PM

If your friends will make a big stink since they can't sacrifice a vacation day, then they are not your friends. Maybe you are not a good friend either since you complain so much about it. Just a thought. But then, that is New York.

Posted by: Jason at December 4, 2003 02:18 PM

What a romantic way to propose... she seems a lucky gal! A moratorium on planning is a terrific idea, you gave yourselves some time just to enjoy the fact that you are engaged, Wonderful. Good luck to you and she!

Posted by: Desiree at January 6, 2004 06:02 PM