Doing "I Do" Differently: It all started in Paris
Where do I begin?
If you follow me on the 'gram, you pretty much know it - we eloped! I am truly in awe when I see how many friends and colleagues have expressed their love and well wishes, and their eagerness to see snippets of my family elopement/wedding. As a bride-turned-calligrapher / calligrapher-turned-bride, I also get a lot of questions on how I curated and designed the wedding of my dreams.
So I thought I'd start a series of blog posts that are not just devoted to weddings, but also how we did things differently. So ladies and gents, welcome to Do "I Do" Differently aka DIDD. My hope is that I inspire you to Do your "I do's" differently, to make your big day a truly personal celebration while still balancing it with traditional elements that make weddings a joyous milestone in your life.
But first let me tell you the story, of how it all started - how I became a bride. So here goes the first post of this series - enjoy.
The Parisian Proposal
Chris took me by surprise! It was 2016, and we were on a holiday in France in July and it was a typical hot summer day in Paris. We were enjoying our walk around the city and I was really feeling the heat, so we took shelter at a small park with lots of trees and comfy benches surrounding beautiful water fountains.
We sat on a bench behind an old couple. We were surrounded by vignettes of typical Parisian life - there were families enjoying their picnic, lovers kissing under the trees and kids playing on the water fountains. It was a lovely view, I had to snap a photo!
All of a sudden Chris tells me his childhood memories from this magical place. How serendipitous I thought, that I would pick this random park to sit in, and as it turns out, it holds a special place in his heart. I put the phone and the camera down, and enjoyed the moment.
Then it happened. Chris surprised me with his proposal as he laid the velvet ring box on my lap and asked me to marry him. There were no photographers stalking us, no coworkers or family lurking behind. The joy I felt was beyond anything I could have ever imagined.
It was such a surreal moment, and it could not have been more PERFECT. I said YES!
Our engagement ring is an antique Edwardian cluster sapphire diamond ring dating back to 1915 (whoa!). The oval cut Sapphire gem is untreated and features a rich, cornflower blue hue. The gem is of Ceylon origin and contains tiny inclusions that give it a velvety appearance. It is surrounded by 12 old European-cut diamonds. The ring is of English origin, a nod to my fondness of English romance and culture and my stint working for the British government (while living in California). Chris was drawn to the sapphire because it reminded him of his favorite football team - the Michigan Wolverines, whose official slogan is "Go Blue!".
Doing it differently
Grooms, don't hesitate to ask your fiancee directly for ideas. A few months before we got engaged, Chris had asked if there was a particular style of engagement ring that I am drawn to. He just mentioned this in passing, so I responded saying, "hmm maybe something old?" Chris took this idea and knew then that it was going to be an antique ring, not brand new. Some of our friends have asked other people or family members to ask on their behalf. My advice is to ask your fiancee directly, even if it's just mentioning it in passing. After all, she will be wearing your ring, not the aunt you asked.
Pick a place that means something to both of you. Chris was raised in France, and had fond memories of his childhood spent in Paris. My first solo trip as a grown up was 4 days spent in Paris, and in 2009 while visiting a college friend, she asked if I wanted to go up the Tour d'Eiffel. I said no, and made a promise to myself that I would later return with the love of my life. Cheesy? Nooooo, it came true! Of course, not all proposals have to be in Paris in order to be perfect. My advice is to pick a place that both you and your boo will remember and would always want to go back to in the future. So probably not your current boss' office.
Photographed proposals are great, but privacy comes first. As a business owner, I know social media truly has changed the game. So for me privacy becomes a luxury, and when I can afford it, I choose privacy. Chris made a wise decision keeping the proposal private - and even though it exists in pure fragile human memory, it was real. No posing for the cameras, just pure unadulterated joy. If you do want a professional photographer to document your proposal, my advice is to get to know the photographer personally, make sure your contract outlines how your photos will be used for marketing purposes, and if that's okay with you - then you're all set.
Skip social media and Facetime instead. When we got engaged, Facebook Live had just launched. A friend even asked, why didn't you record it live on Facebook? No thanks. We skipped social media because we truly wanted to share our joy with our loved ones, not just keep track of likes and reply to comments. First, we sent vintage postcards to our families, and called each and everyone of our families and friends as soon as we got back from our trip. I mean, we were Facetiming with our loved ones every single week! Seeing their candid reactions, their excitement for us truly gave us joy, and it was worth more than all the likes and engagement rates we would've gotten if we had posted about our engagement before calling our loved ones. Take the time to tell people you love, and let them in on the celebration.
And that's it for now lovelies, stay tuned for my next post for the DIDD series! I'd love to hear your comments below - what did you do differently on your engagement and/or proposal?