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.
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.
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 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.