Some of you have been asking how long I’ve been planning this, so here’s a short timeline of the proposal:
Emily and I go on our first date on the 99th floor of the Sears Tower at my family friend’s wedding.
I adopt Nemo, therefore sealing Emily’s fate that she will date me forever.
I order a ring sizer from Blue Nile. I have no idea how I’ll slip in on her finder without her knowing it. But no problem, Emily opens my mail to find the ring sizer. I tease her about opening my mail to deflect the topic of conversation.
I start thinking about how I would propose. They vary wildly from a surprise trip to New York to our favorite hot pot restaurant in Chinatown.
Emily and I go ring shopping “just for the fun of it” at the spur of the moment and she tries on some engagement rings. I find out what she likes and her ring size. I file it away and play it as cool as I can.
While at my parents’ place in Sacramento, I have an epiphany. I remember our first date and Joyce and Eddie’s reception location. I calculate that it’ll be 44 months to the day on May 7th and possibly the same floor. I take it as a fortuitous sign.
BlueNile.com becomes the unofficial homepage on my computer. I constantly delete the browser history to make sure she won’t notice.
I decide that Eddie and Joyce’s wedding will be the right time to propose. After a ton of research, I order the ring.
The ring arrives. I have no idea if it looks good or bad.
Joyce and Eddie Wedding
Emily needs a jacket since it’s cold outside while taking wedding party pictures. I offer my jacket and realize the box is in the breast pocket. Panic sets in for about 2 seconds. It seems like it took me forever to decide what to do next. Thankfully, Emily’s already frozen, so it takes her a while to accept. So I take off for the other side of the crowd before she can answer. And with a pickpocket’s deftness, I remove the box so nobody sees it.
During the dinner, I vacillate between complete serenity and the need to hurl from nervousness. I show the box to Jordan and we start thinking of a plan to surprise Emily. I can’t think straight at this point, but I made a mental list of things I must do before proposing and I am sticking with the plan, butterflies in my stomach or not. Emily still has no idea.
At about 11pm, I steal the bride and groom and ask “Can you guys keep a poker face?” They certainly can and they graciously allow me to ask at their reception. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing my asking at someone else’s wedding.
Next on my list is to ask Emily’s parents. I take some deep breaths, stare out the view and compose myself. For about 20 minutes. At this point, if I had a chunk of coal in my hand, it’d be a diamond by now. I take a deep breath and start looking for Mr. and Mrs. Wu. Amd I can’t find them. More panic sets in. “Did they go home already?” I mentally chew my fingernails off, but the parents are still here talking with guests. I have to interrupt them and I ask them for a private moment. I mumble a grammatically incoherent sentence in asking for their permission. For what it seemed like an hour, I didn’t know if they granted me permission or not. But Emily’s mom is holding my hand and crying. They both give me a hug and I take that as a yes.
Joyce and Eddie are on the dance floor while Ralph makes an announcement about the after-party. I make the mistake of stepping on the dance floor and Eddie takes the microphone. “We have another announcement to make… Ben?” he looks right at me and I could feel the crowd’s laser gaze burning my back. I frantically wave him off and hurry off the dance floor — disaster avoided. Thankfully, Emily is nowhere near us.
It’s time to take another moment and I pray for a few minutes. “Please God, please let her say ‘Yes’.”
On my mark, Jordan brings Dan, Cindy, Genie, and Emily together for a photo away from the crowd. I take a snapshot of them, and hand the camera over to Jordan for a picture of just Emily and I. While Emily turns to the camera I get on my knee and open the box. Emily think we’re taking a “high school” photo and tries to sit on my leg. I tap her on the shoulder so that she’d notice we’re not doing a funky pose.
Ben: “Emily, will you marry me?”
Emily: “Is this for real?”
Emily: “Are you joking?”
Ben: “This is not a joke. Will you marry me?”
Ben: “You’re supposed to say yes… or no.”
So here we are. And that’s the story before Emily and I get old and forgetful.