Friday, May 7, 2010

Springtime in Paris: Our Engagement Story



Where does the time go? It's hard to believe that it was already 4 years ago today that my darling hubby asked me to marry him. Remember a few weeks ago when I posted about Pining for Peonies? Well Cathy M from the blog Check It Off came across a comment I had left on another blog pertaining to a Paris trip, and commented that I should share my engagement story. With today being the Anniversary of our engagement, I felt that the timing couldn't be more perfect. Here is our story...

It all began on Feb.7, 2006 when Paul and I met online, www.ChristianCafe.com to be specific. I had nearly given up with the online dating thing until he found me, right before my free trial membership was up. I kept meeting new men and making great friends which was amazing but I was there to meet 'the one'.

Funny enough when I first came across Paul's profile he appeared to have a lot going on. He is very accomplished and has always led a busy life filled with travel. I had wondered where a girlfriend might even fit in. I thanked him for contacting me but thought he was a bit too intense for me. He replied letting me know not to worry. He assured me that his crazy traveling days were in the past and that he was looking to settle down. His words: "There are 6 billion people on this planet, I know you'll find the right one at the right time. Good Luck!". He signed off his email with his ministry website whereby I got to see some of his videos online as well as the work he had accomplished. I was very intrigued and felt compelled to write back again for some reason. I didn't necessarily think it would lead to anything romantic but I thought what could it hurt to gain another friend and see if it had potential.

Well that reply quickly turned into exciting e-mails, long phone calls and text messages. We talked every night for hours for several weeks and with all the vacation time I had saved up at work I decided it was time for me to make a trip to FL so we could meet. I lovingly referred to as the 'chemistry test'. On March.17th I flew to Orlando (not traditionally something I would do. I prefer the man to make the effort romantically. Worst case, I would get to enjoy some sunshine and the beach during a long winter in Toronto) and met Paul for the first time. I spent a week with him and knew it could really be something. He was sweet, affectionate,  respectful, adorable and a lot of fun. There was something so easy about being around him. Tears filled my eyes on the way to the airport once it was time to go home. While waiting for my flight home I found a card in my carry on bag. He had felt the same way and actually wrote this inside a cute card, 'I had the most amazing week with you, you ruined me. I don't want to date anyone else. It's YOU I want to marry!'

Six weeks after that trip we travelled together throughout Europe. We met up in Holland and spent several days there. He arrived before me to attend a friend's wedding, then I joined him afterwards to visit my grandparent's home country with him which was a lot of fun. While there we had checked our e-mail one day in the hotel lobby and I happened to glance over and saw my dad's name in his e-mail box. I'll be honest, at this point I knew something was up. My dad had never mentioned speaking to him but he knew how much Paul meant to me and always told me he knew that this time everything was different.

I walked to the ladies room, locked myself in a stall for a few minutes and thought about the possibility. What would I do? Would I say yes after knowing Paul for such a short time? Then I stopped myself and wondered if I even knew anything at all at this point or if I was just letting my mind run away with ideas. It was a very exciting and overwhelming feeling. After that e-mail I had a pretty strong feeling that he might pop the question on that trip. After all, my friends had been telling me for weeks that they thought he would since we were going to be in Paris. I tried to just remain relaxed and enjoy our trip without any pre-conceived notions.  Next we  headed to Paris. After hearing so much about how it is the city of  love I couldn't wait to experience it with Paul.

Hanging out in the park near the Eiffel Tower.

We visited the Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel tower, enjoyed some French cafes, and just walked hand-in-hand experiencing the French culture first hand. We made a quick 3-day detour to Nice, France so we could spend some time on the beach and experience another part of such an amazing country. This was a surprise that I didn't know about until we were at the airport. While in Nice we rented a snazzy convertible and drove blindly for 30 minutes up the winding roads to Monaco at about 3a.m. It was gorgeous and the air was filled with the scent of blooming jasmine. We vowed to go back the next day during daylight. We did and they were setting up for the Grand Prix races in Monaco and we got to take a lot of great photos of yachts and the palace too. We even  got a tour by the Manger of the Monte Carlo casino. We don't gamble, just wanted to see what the fuss was all about and enjoyed lunch inside a cute little restaurant. Monaco is stunning, as is Nice. In fact we were trying to figure out a way that we could work and live in Nice. No such luck yet, plus I'd have to work a little harder on my French. ;)

Nice, France. There are no words adequate enough to describe it.

After our time in Nice we flew back to Paris for two more days. This time we stayed in a hotel in Versailles which was Marie Antionette's old childhood playground now known as the Grand Trianon Hotel, which was a gorgeous hotel and neat experience. The last morning before heading to the airport and actually heading separate ways back home-me to Toronto and Paul to Orlando, we stopped by some beautiful parks for more photo opps and then to the Eiffel tower one last time for a last glimpse and some photos.

So many places to see, so little time!


Paul had his video camera and tripod with him the whole time, but even to this day that is very much the norm for him. He loves shooting video. He brought that along and told me he wanted to do a video since it was our last day. I snapped photos while he set up the tripod. Then he asked me to do something that he hadn't done before. He has asked me to be in the video. I thought it was a bit odd that the tripod was sitting quite low (hmmm, perfect for capturing his proposal on one knee?) He started off remarking about how wonderful the trip has been and asked me what my favorite places and sights were. Then next thing I knew he was talking about me and how much he loved me and was down on one knee before me. I was trying to be as present as possible but we were surrounded by onlookers (whom I could see around us and out of the corner of my eye) They were at somewhat of a distance cheering and waiting for my reaction.  I of course said YES, kissed and hugged my new fiance then we noticed that many locals and tourists were taking our picture.

Paul then asked if I liked my ring. He had a jeweller friend custom design it to look somewhat like the Eiffel tower itself which I thought was very original and would forever remind me of that moment. It is similar to this image below which was a ring I had always had my eye on, but he added an antique look to it.

I would have shown my own photo here but my my camera can't seem to capture it.

At night it really does sparkle and light up like the tower itself, when the light catches it, which is neat. He later told me he had waited until the last day of our trip because it was May.7th and we met for the first time online on Feb.7th. So, it was exactly three months after we met and 7 is one of our favorite numbers. (In the bible it symbolizes the number of perfection). The whole adventure truly was a whirlwind experience. It turns out that my dad was in on it. He told Paul to go for it and that he had his blessing. He knew it would be a great place and the perfect surprise.

We quickly rounded up our belongings for the airport.  My flight was the first to leave so Paul waited with me and then I kissed him goodbye and flew home to Toronto. It was such an odd feeling. There I was sitting in my window seat on the plane next to a stranger, starting at my new ring wondering if it all just really happened. Was I really engaged? Did he really just propose in Paris? I had wished that we could have spent more time together after that moment but knew we'd have a lifetime to spend together. When I landed In Michigan en route to Toronto the first thing I did was call my mom and my girlfriends to share the good news. My mom was excited as were my friends but as I mentioned earlier they weren't surprised, they saw it coming a mile away. Next, I called my dad to catch him up on all that had happened, he was thrilled!



My girlfriend 'S' picked up this amazing chocolate chai cake to celebrate.
This cake was d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s, we still talk about it!

After that trip we stayed in touch and flew out to see each other every chance we got while engaged. We set a date quickly as the long distance relationship was emotionally difficult not to mention the cost of all of this traveling. Fall was the perfect time before it got too cold and to accommodate traveling family members from the U.S. We set our wedding date during Labor Day weekend and tied the knot on September.3, 2006. We had an outdoor garden wedding ceremony followed by an indoor reception at a quaint little Old Mill. Our room was on the second floor and was surrounded by windows with a view of all of the trees, a stream and the property also had a lovely waterfall too. We were very fortunate to get the venue we did in just 3 short months before the big day. We had a Sunday wedding which accommodated everything we needed. The weather was overcast and a bit drizzly but our ceremony managed to take place at a time when everything was still dry. Here are a few photos:


Before the ceremony. Anticipating the day and anxiously waiting to see my groom.


Just Married!
Walk through the venue parking lot en route to getting some group wedding party photos.


One of our first few dances as Mr. & Mrs.


One Year Later....


My Matron of Honor saved our wedding cake top for us for a whole year in her freezer in Canada. We did the traditional cake eating on our 1st Anniversary with all of our close friends present during a trip to visit everyone back home in Toronto.

I don't know about you but I've always love hearing how couples meet, their first date stories and where they got engaged. I've always been fascinated by my parents story of how they met, quickly fell in love and got married just a few months later (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, I suppose). I hope you'll all leave me a comment and tell me where and how you met your hubby/significant other or how they proposed. Maybe you eloped, celebrated at a super romantic venue or did something really unique. I love all those fun details, feel free to link to your blog pages too. I can't wait to read YOUR stories. :)

I will leave you with one of my favorite French songs...Summer in Paris by DJ Cam feat. Anggun. It gives me goosebumps, the good kind, especially when she says the word Paris in French at the end, pronounced (PAH-ree). :) I grew up in Canada and taking 5 years of French class was mandatory, so I have always enjoyed the elegance and sexiness of the French language.


Don't forget to swing by tomorrow. I'll have a giveaway that I'm super excited about and you won't want to miss it!


Happy Weekend!


xo

19 comments:

  1. What a sweet, sweet story - and very romantic!!
    I met Mr. Scout online too - back in '02 when everyone had a Yahoo profile. He sent me an e-mail and swore up and down we knew each other. I didn't believe him. LOL
    After we finally met (really met) we realized that we had the same friends and hung out with the same people and at the same places. He was even at the apartment I shared with 2 friends of mine - all the time! We're sure we passed each other and probably had countless conversations years ago, but we obviously didn't have the hots for each other then. :) Still makes me smile to think about it.
    He proposed the day he fixed my dryer - but not before he asked my 6-year-old son for permission first. After I said, "yes," he insisted on calling my parents first to talk to them. A year after we were married (barefoot, next to a lake) he adopted my son.
    Mr. Scout is a true blessing.
    I love love stories, too. Thanks for sharing and putting a smile on my face. :)

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  2. Thanks Shelle for commenting and your kind words! You have such a cute story too. :) I love that he asked your son for permission-precious. Isn't that something that you may have seen each other a dozen times but yet never even realized until years later.

    I love the idea of beach and lake weddings, they are some of the most beautiful I've been too.

    ~K

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  3. ......................................................................................................................................................................


    Love,

    Lynda

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  4. Hi Karla, I read your story with some tear in my eyes. I'm not married, I have no much fortune with men, and I'm starting thinking that maybe love is not something for me or not made for my life. But reading your story is really somethinig that makes me hope that some miracle is still possible. And your husband is such a romantic person, not easy to find although for me it's more important to find a reliable man and it's not so easy.... Anyway, thank you for sharing, you made me dream a bit. And a proposal in Paris is something you really cannot say no to..... Does he have any brother??? ;)

    And you were a beautiful bride!!!!!
    have a nice weekend, xxx

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  5. Karla,

    I met my sweetie online, too. I had finished with online dating, matches, etc. I decided that I would sign up for one final Houston-based service, which was free.

    Sid was one of the first matches I saw. I broke every rule I had made for myself. I sent HIM an email. He replied. (He has saved every one of our emails.)

    We emailed and talked and talked and talked.

    We met for lunch and had a wonderful (although too short) time.

    Because we met in person in December, we decided to have our first big date on New Years Eve. We went to a comedy club and had an amazing time.

    Our first kiss was at midnight on 1/1/04.

    He had an emergency appendectomy in February, and I dropped everything to be there. I knew I loved him then.

    He told me he loved me later that month.

    We went downtown to see a movie, and we ate at a nice restaurant, which has a giant ferris wheel outside. He suggested we take a ride, and when our car stopped at the top, he dropped to one knee and proposed.

    He bought an inexpensive diamond chip in a silver ring for the proposal so it would be a surprise.

    We went ring shopping that afternoon.

    We married at our home in November. My uncle officiated, and our entire family participated. It was absolutely lovely.

    He is truly the love of my life.

    Cheers!
    Laura

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  6. What a perfect proposal! I love hearing people's proposal stories, mainly because mine was kind of lame. My husband took me to a beautiful restaurant and then asked, "When are we going to tell everyone that we're getting married?" That's it! (He did make up for it years later by secretly arranging for us to renew our wedding vow on the beach in Jamaica.)

    Happy engagement anniversary Karla.

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  7. Karla, what a truly amazing story! It gives me goosebumps to read about it! Also, thank you so much for mentioning my blog (i figured others would say you should blog about it, too!).

    My hubby & I met at our apartment complex pool. I had just moved there and my best friend had been talking to my now hubby. She introduced us & now hubby asked if I would go on a bike ride together that evening. I eventually said yes & we biked 20 miles together!! That was 16 years ago this month, but our relationship still feels fun & fresh (even after 3 kids!) and almost 14 years of marriage!

    Also, I love your "little disclaimer".

    Sounds like you have a great hubby:) Hugs, Cathy

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  8. Such a sweet romantic story! I really loved looking at your beautiful pictures. You are gorgeous!

    Our wedding was on Maui 2 months after we were engaged! 7 years and a 4 year old later it was the best thing I have ever done!

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  9. Wonderful story and you make a beautiful couple!

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  10. Thank you ladies for all of your sweet, heartfelt comments for me and for sharing your fun stories. Instead of leaving one really long comment here I'm going to visit you and leave a personal comment on your individual blogs soon. :)

    ~K

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  11. What a beautiful story! And great photos too!
    Thanks for the comment on my blog as well. Angie

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  12. Karla, what a wonderful and romantic story. You were such a gorgeous bride (like from a bridal magazine)

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  13. What an awesome story Karla!! You two are so cute together and I can tell that there is lots of love between you two.

    My husband and I have been together for 17 years (next week actually). We met when we were 15, at my aunt's house. He was dating her babysitter. We got to know each other and even went out on a date (bowling). I guess he went home and told his mom that he found the one he was going to marry someday. I went back home, which was 2 hours away, and a year later, moved closer when I moved in with my dad. I contacted him a few months later and he was super excited to hear from me. We met up and went to Wendy's for dinner (which he kept the receipt and we still have it to this day). We still lived about 30 minutes from each other but spent every weekend together. 7 years later, he and his mom organized his proposal. He designed the ring and ordered it in September. He proposed on Christmas Even in front of his entire family. We are big race fans and his mom kept calling me #3 for months before it happened. I couldn't figure out why she kept calling me #3. Christmas Eve came around and we had all opened presents and were sitting around talking when someone yelled "Who is number 3?" I thought to myself, is that me? So I looked at Bob and he smiled and brought the gift over to me. I opened it and it was my favorite perfume, Tommy Girl. It had ribbons coming out of the box so I opened it to see why. He had the ring tied around the bottle (which I still have the bottle!). He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We all laughed and cried, it was a great moment since I have always felt like I was a part of his family. We got married two years later and now have been married for 8 years this June and have two beautiful sons.

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  14. Bob's Girl: I couldn't leave you a message on your blog (profile wasn't visible) but wanted to thank you for your kind words. :) Wow-what a great love story you have! Congrats on your 8 yrs!

    ~Karla

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  15. Your engagement had me tearing up. i met my husband on line as well. We both worked odd hours so we e-mailed for weeks before we could meet. i am a nurse and he is a fireman. Our first date was a walk on the beach followed by a bowl of chili & a beer at a local pub. We learned so much about eachother that day. he proposed in Gealic to me while we were vacationing in Key West, after an evening in town & a bile ride along the ocean. i had no clue what he was saying and thought at first he'd had more to drink than I'd thought! It wasn't until he pulled out a sparkly diamond ring that i realized he was proposing. We are married 364 day after you. (9.2.07) We tooka 3 week trip to the UK a year later & spent our first anniversary in Dublin, Ireland. He's my best friend.

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  16. OMG. I was getting goosebumps while reading your enagement story. It is so romantic. Your husband sounds wonderful. I can't belive a love like this does exist. You hear about them in movies or TV shows but never realize that it does happen to real people. I am envious of your story actually =)

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  17. Karla

    How lovely ... I hope I too can have such a story one day.

    Sarah
    xx

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    Replies
    1. Truly beautiful and romantic. I wish you perpetual happiness and romance in your life together. Lovely photos!

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    2. How kind, Ruby. Thank you so much for your well wishes! XX Karla

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Warmly,
Karla

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