April 9, 2010: Through a series of events (both divine and comical) and strong intuition, even before Nick asked, I knew that this was the weekend we would be getting engaged. We had started dating the fall before, and when we “made it official” in October, we had an open conversation about our expectations and timeline for the relationship. Nick and I agreed that within six months, we wanted to know whether our relationship would continue towards marriage or end knowing we gave it our best shot. While that may sound too rigid for some, we had dated before in the fall of 2008 without clearly understanding what the hopes of the other person were (Nick wanted something serious, and I basically just wanted to get over my ex). After half a year of growing together as a couple, engagement was inevitable.
- It had been six months since we’d officially started dating.
- I finally told Nick in March for the first time that I loved him.
- Continental Airlines had been running flight deals to/from Knoxville/Newark the entirety of our dating relationship, and we’d always divided the cost between us, but Nick offered to pay for the entire trip this time as “his treat.”
- Multiple friends of mine from Knoxville randomly asked, “You’re getting engaged this weekend aren’t you?!”
So I flew to Hoboken for the weekend, my heart expectant but trying to enjoy the overall experience, drinking it all in. On Saturday morning, we got up early to head into the city for a day of adventure. On the train ride in, Nick gave me the agenda for the day, which was to head to the iconic Serendipity 3 for lunch, then go to Central Park, and visit the Diamond District to look at rings.
We had previously looked at rings “just to get some ideas” over Christmas in King of Prussia, near my parents’ house, and I had fallen in love with a ring at Milanj Diamonds, but I told Nick NOT to buy me a ring without further discussion because I was NOT ready to get engaged and I wanted to look further at a future date. We hadn’t looked since, so while it was slightly confusing (considering the fact that I knew I was getting engaged this weekend) the idea that we were six months into our relationship and headed to the Diamond District to peruse rings made sense.
We got to Serendipity 3 as it opened, and put our name in (because the wait is notoriously long) and then walked around the Upper East Side, window-shopping and enjoying the brisk 50-degree spring weather. I was slightly underdressed having not accounted for the wind, so I stole Nick’s jacket for most of the morning. Finally, I dragged him into an H&M so I could buy a jacket because I am a total weather wimp and couldn’t take the cold anymore.
Finally it was time for lunch, and we got to experience Serendipity 3, made famous by this movie. The food wasn’t anything special, but the frozen hot chocolate is definitely worth a try. There were two ladies sitting next to us who offered to take our photo – I guess we must have looked pretty love-struck.
After lunch, we went for a walk in Central Park. Thankfully by this time, the sun had begun to shine and it had warmed up a bit. It turned into the most gorgeous spring day and we stopped to take pictures together every few minutes, Nick encouraging me, “Let’s get one here!” It was all too lovely not to capture.
Finally our leisurely stroll led us to Gapstow Bridge where we took another photo, and as I lowered my camera, I realized Nick was no longer standing next to me and kneeling on the ground! I was entirely thrown off – I was not expecting him to propose to me here and now. (My brain was shooting off rapidfire rationalizations: It was early in the day! We had just had lunch! This particular spot didn’t have any significance to us as a couple!)
Nick was visibly shaking, overcome with nerves and emotion as he said, “Erika, I love you so much. Will you marry me?” I didn’t even remember to glance at the ring as my eyes were trained on the sweet, vulnerable boy on bended knee in front of me. I didn’t answer right away – I wasn’t sure if he was finished his proposal (oops)!
After a few seconds and realizing that I hadn’t responded, I said “Yes!” and hugged him tight, and finally took a look at the ring. It was a version of the one I had practically drooled over in December, custom designed with a cushion cut center stone and diamond halo, even more gorgeous than I expected.
Seconds later, Nick said he had something else to tell me. We had actually been followed by our friend Joey ALL DAY LONG and he had been secretly capturing the entire day for us. I had absolutely no idea he had roped Joey into his master plan. Sneaky move!
We took advantage of our personal photographer and had a mini engagement session in Central Park and then walked down to Times Square. The level of adrenaline coursing through our veins was absurd, so it was hard to relax and look natural but it is amazing to have photos to look back on that chronicle our day!
Finally, we remembered to call our families and friends, and sent out a text message with a photo of the ring to all those who were expecting the big news. We made our way over to dinner in Little Italy, giddy with emotion and disbelief that we were really engaged. I don’t remember anything we talked about. We probably just sat there smiling at each other like fools.
After dinner, we headed to The Bowery Ballroom (now one of my favorite NYC music venues) to meet up with our Hoboken friends to see NEEDTOBREATHE. We were met with triumphant screams of “YOU’RE ENGAGED!” and about a million hugs. In that moment, it began to sink in – we are really doing this! Nick’s friends were becoming mine, and this community would soon be mine as well. Our lives were merging.
While spending the night of your engagement at a concert is something most people wouldn’t choose, as a voracious consumer of live music, I couldn’t have imagined anything better. I was deliriously happy throughout the concert, and probably sang louder and with more gusto than I had ever had before. (Imagine me belting out “WHOOOA, SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL!”) This was the new life I was choosing, and I could not contain my excitement. Our engagement story was entirely different and in many ways, even sweeter than I could have imagined.
How did you get engaged? What is the best engagement story you’ve heard?