As someone who is hyper conscious of social cliches, I never thought I'd be engaged on Valentine's Day of all holidays. But my fiance managed to surprise me with the ring exactly one year ago, and it was no small feat considering I knew a proposal was coming at some point soon. Last winter, I casually mentioned to our jeweler Catherine Thies (over at Filigree Jewelers in the North Loop) that I wanted to be engaged *BY* Valentine's Day. She did me a solid and slipped that into Ian's ear, and being the procrastinator that he is, he waited until that very moment. I recall a family friend telling us a few years back that he proposed to his wife while she was in her scrubs having just returned from work. I remarked purposefully that if Ian ever asked me to marry him while I was looking anything but modelesque, I would be upset. Funny how things work out—he ended up sneaking into our apartment to propose to me wearing a lovely suit, while I was in jeans and a Cars t-shirt. But I digress. [caption id="attachment_1432" align="alignright" width="300" caption="My 1940s engagement ring from Filigree Jewelers"]
[/caption] The short of the story is that I used to work from home constantly, making it hard for Ian to devise any sort of plan that would be surprising. So he had his boss masquerade as our parking ramp manager to call me and tell me my car got hit in the ramp to get me out of our apartment. When I returned, bewildered and sweaty, there Ian was. Gorgeous, nervous, and with a black velvet box and flowers in hand. There are few if any people I feel more comfortable with than Ian—he is the only man I have "let" see me at my most vulnerable and unflattering moments. But something about my man down on his knee made me feel uneasy. I barely let him ask me before pulling him up to hug him. I think maybe this is because I consider him to be my absolute equal. Also, old-school chivalry has never really done it for me. On this day as an engaged woman for one year, I remember those feelings and how far we've come since. I think at that point we'd maybe had one fight ever. Now, less than three months away from the wedding, we've had our share, but through each we manage to come out better communicators and closer to each other—revealing a depth to relationships I've previously not thought possible. Today I'm remembering why we're doing this. I'm not thinking about the planning—the fact that we've not yet sent our invitations or that we haven't ordered the suits. I'm remembering and connecting with being in love. The wedding details can take a back seat for tonight. [caption id="attachment_1442" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="My V-day gift from Ian"]
[/caption] Jen Boyles on Twitter The Blithe Bride P.S.> When I returned from a girls trip to NY last night, Ian had a dozen roses and a new CD book waiting for me. We are DJing together at First Avenue on Saturday, and I desperately needed the book to organize all the tunes I've been downloading!