Now you know how I met the love of my life and discovered when Mark got a clue, so now I’m sharing our super amazing proposal story. It all started when Mark and I were preparing for our anniversary. It was a few weeks away, and because I sometimes stress out when it comes to getting gifts for people, I came up with the brilliant idea that our gift to each other would be to plan a romantic weekend vacation. Mark loved the idea, so we started planning. Then, all of a sudden, Mark took over my brilliant idea!! He kicked me out of the planning process, and I was left freaking out about what to do for our anniversary. I gave him such a hard time, I explained my crazy gift stressing, I begged, I pleaded, I cried…he wouldn’t budge or let me know what our new plan was. He just said he’d “take care of it.” As the days passed and our anniversary was just a couple days away, Mark asked me to pack some clothes to take on our trip. I asked how I could possibly pack when I have no idea where we’re going or what events to pack for? In all honesty, I was a total mental crisis crazy woman. We both believe that some part of me must have known what was going to happen and that was why I was so emotional.
I cried for several days leading up to our engagement. I couldn’t figure out why I was acting so weird, but I cried about everything! Everyone knew what was going on except me, and that made it even worse. I would much rather know what’s going on than be surprised.
The evening of July 3, 2009, I called my mom on the way to work. I was crying about not knowing what was going on, and my mom was assuring me that everything would be fine. I told her that at least I knew what to expect when I got to work. My mom said, “Um…tonight’s not going to go how you think it is.” What?! “You’ll like it,” she assured me, “but you’re not going to be at work for long.” Then I started feeling excited. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited at the prospect of getting off work early? I arrived at the dance studio and waited for someone to tell me to go home. It was so great 🙂
Twenty minutes later, my manager walked into the studio and handed me a card. It said My Love on the front. I looked at her and said, “I’m guessing this isn’t from you!” Ha! We both laughed and laughed 🙂 I opened the card, and of course, it was from my honey, letting me know that he loved me, that I had the night off, and that I should get in my car and head to the location of our first date, our friends Brad and Melinda’s house. Side Note: If you’ve already read How I Met the Love of My Life: Part 2, then you know I didn’t realize Mark liked me for sure until he invited me to his brother’s wedding. However, before that he had asked me to accompany him to the church board party. I thought he was inviting me and other people, so I didn’t think of it as a date. Mark counts it as a date because it sounds like he was clued in to my fabulousness before he actually was. The board party was at Brad & Melinda’s house, which is absolutely gorgeous!
Back to my story…
Brad, who watched me walk to the front door from the window, said later that he had never seen someone walk so slowly and cautiously as I did up their walkway. His exact words were, “I’ve never seen someone look like they were crawling while they were walking.” Melinda was a good friend of Mark’s, but I didn’t know her very well and was a bit hesitant. Plus, knowing Mark, I wasn’t sure if clowns were going to jump out of the bushes or fireworks were going to go off. I didn’t know what to expect, and did I mention I was feeling extremely emotional? I’d called my mom on the way to Melinda’s house, bawling the entire time, and she said that she was so happy for us and that she’d “given Mark her blessing.” That’s when I knew for sure that Mark was going to propose that night, which only caused me to unleash yet another stream of tears.
I was warmly greeted by Melinda, who offered me water, tea, or something stronger like wine. I gestured to my tear-stained face and asked, “Do you think THIS needs alcohol?” Instead, I opted for some water as I was shown into their beautiful guest bedroom. There was a new pink sun dress and matching necklace laid out on the bed, along with matching earrings, sandals, and a love note from my honey. The dress was one I had seen in a cute little boutique a few weeks before. Mark had correctly guessed my size and bought it for me without my knowledge. He had also stashed backup dresses, shoes, and accessories that I already owned in the closet, just in case the pink dress didn’t work out. Melinda gave me instructions to take my time to get ready and said she would drive me to my next destination.
As soon as we got in the car, Melinda and I started talking like old friends. We got along so well and had a great time. We even kept talking once we arrived at our next destination! Eventually she reminded me that I had a wonderful honey waiting and we could talk later 🙂 Where did she take me? The Pocket Sandwich Theatre, one of our beloved destinations. I found Mark waiting for me in a white dress shirt with rolled up sleeves, khaki pants, flip-flops, and a rose. It was exactly the outfit I’d imagined him wearing at our beach wedding someday.
Our first time at the Pocket Sandwich Theatre (PST) was a pre-dating date – more people had been invited, but only we showed up. We had enjoyed two melodramas the previous year at the PST, complete with live piano playing, heroes, villains, and popcorn throwing, but on this night we were there to enjoy the Dallas DooWop. The singers were so good and so funny! The entire theatre sang along to the songs. I leaned over to Mark and whispered that I wondered if they would sing our song for us, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.” Mark said he didn’t think they would do that. I said, “Don’t you think we should ask?” He said he didn’t think so because he didn’t think they would sing it anyway. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! Who was this man who was thinking something wasn’t possible? I was very surprised, and frankly, disappointed.
I was even more surprised at intermission when one of the singers walked back on stage wearing an Elvis wig and dedicated his singing of Can’t Help Falling in Love to us! I was so shocked and in awe that Mark could pull this together. He said he had been e-mailing the band leader for a few weeks trying to make arrangements. What a guy! Later in the show, the singers announced a congratulations to the couple who were celebrating their one year wedding anniversary. Everyone looked around waiting for someone to claim the congratulations, and eventually we realized the man was talking about us! Somehow communications had gotten confused, and we were now being congratulated for being married for one year! It was so funny!
After the dinner and performance at the PST, we walked across the street to Mockingbird Station, just as we had done after our first time at the PST. We sat on the same bench where we’d sat for an hour over a year earlier getting to know each other. Just like the previous year, Mark invited me to go with him to Highland Park United Methodist Church, where there is a beautiful garden next to the tower where his grandfather plays the carillon. I agreed to go along, just as I had before.
The first time we entered the garden a year before, we talked for hours about our lives and dreams, but this night it was going to be a bit different. This time, as we rounded the corner into the garden, we were greeted by a beach wonderland. A row of blazing tiki torches flanked either side of the stone staircase leading into the garden. There, in the center of the garden, was a mini-beach, complete with beach umbrella, sandcastle toys, towels, a bamboo mat, and even some gnome friends. There was even a hidden CD player playing an ocean soundtrack! It was like something out of a fairytale!
At this point, I knew we were at THE MOMENT. I knew any minute now I was going to be proposed to by my wonderful prince, and it was going to be amazing. What seemed like forever in Melanie time (but was probably only a few seconds) passed, and I started feeling slightly awkward and impatient, so I sat down to play in the sand. Mark was taken off guard, thinking we were supposed to stay standing so he could propose. However, as smooth as he is (who do you think wrote this sentence?), he just rolled with it and joined me playing in the sand, wondering when the right moment would be. Time continued to slip by and Mark had not found that right moment yet. I was wondering when Mark would get on with it 😉 Finally, Mark found that right moment and the right words and invited me to stand up with him.
Mark told me what I meant to him and how much he loved me. Then he got down on one knee, pulled a ring box out of the sand, and asked me to marry him as he put my new starburst diamond engagement ring on my finger. I’d found the ring a few months before and instantly loved it. I wanted something unique, and the first store we went into had this beautiful, sparkling starburst ring.
As Mark stayed down on his knee, I proceeded to tell him how wonderful he was, that he was the perfect man for me, and that I loved him so much. I continued on for quite a while (my honey is quite a guy), until Mark finally interrupted to say, “So, do you have an answer for me?” I hadn’t realized I hadn’t given him an answer, so I quickly (after giggling about it) responded with “Yes!” We hugged, kissed, laughed, and then I said, “That was fun! Ask me again!” Mark, being a wonderful sport, got back down on his knee and proceeded to do just that 🙂
Mark’s brother and sister-in-love cleaned up the beach scene while we went back to our apartment. On our coffee table was a bouquet of flowers and a box of gifts and a letter from my mother-in-love (Muvie). Her letter was so beautiful, welcoming me to the family. Then we called everyone to let them know how wonderful the evening was and that we were engaged! It was so fun listening to the stories from the rest of the family, who all had their part to play in making it an amazing night for us both. The next morning we left for a weekend retreat in Wimberley, TX at the Creekhaven Inn Bed and Breakfast. We floated down the river on inner tubes (the water was FREEZING!), walked the River Walk in San Antonio, and had a wonderful time!
Thank you for reliving our engagement with me 🙂 I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing about it! A year after our engagement, we flew to Newport, Oregon to get married at a beautiful bed & breakfast overlooking the ocean. It was magnificent! You can read more and see pics in my post about our wedding.
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