The Proposal – Darren
Hm? Where to start?
I guess I should really start back when the first shoots of an idea came to me on how I wanted to propose to the amazing young lady who’s decided to spend the rest of her life with me? Poor cow! Ha!
As Shelli will agree, sometimes I need a bit of a shove in the right direction. For example, even though I knew this was it, that she and I were the real deal, I was apprehensive about taking the next step. At the beginning of 2013 I was given the ultimatum that if we weren’t living together by the year end then that was it. If we ended 2013 still apart then it clearly wasn’t “it” so why carry on?
Shelli was right – on this and so much more – and that little kick up the arse was what I needed to get me off my backside and jump into our relationship with both feet. Unsurprisingly after everything that’s happened in our pasts I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be good enough for her and that I’d ruin everything.
By the end of 2013 we were living together, and more importantly we were in our own place having spent a brief period squashed into my old house.
At the end of 2013/beginning of 2014 we were looking into the possibility of going away on a holiday in the south of France, taking all of the girls and mum and dad with us. Mum and dad got on the case and we weren’t many weeks into 2014 and the holiday was booked.
I’d been thinking about the whole marriage thing and I was pretty sure that I wanted to, but if I was going to get married again I wanted to do it right.
I’d been thinking about the whole marriage thing and I was pretty sure that I wanted to, but if I was going to get married again I wanted to do it right. I wanted the proposal to be romantic and something Shelli would remember forever, something she would not believe or suspect in a million years. I say that because I’ll be the first to admit that I have about one romantic bone in my body! Okay, one might actually be an over exaggeration!
Anyway, with that thought in mind the beginnings of a plan to propose while we were in France started to form in my rather vacuous cranium. One thing I really wanted was for the girls and mum and dad to be there when I proposed so that they all felt like they were a part of it too.
As 2014 went on ideas for the itinerary for our two weeks in France started to take shape. One thing dad said I had to see was St. Tropez, so that I could see first hand how the other half lived.
St. Tropez? Now that sounded like a fantastic place to ask Shelli to marry me!
So we talked more about it and, as they’d done on a previous holiday there, we agreed that we’d go so that we could see all of the boats lit up at night.
St. Tropez? Sea front? Sunset? Now that was a pretty damn good plan!
Only one person knew what I had planned before we went away: my dear friend Kate. I had to run it by someone – female preferably seeing as, well, my mates aren’t exactly known for being romantic – and I knew she’d be 100% honest with me when I told her what I was planning. I’m pleased to say that she though that it was a fantastic idea…phew!
The run-up to the holiday went by without any hint of what I was going to do. I even managed to stash the ring in a place that [thankfully] Shelli never found! As far as I was aware, Shelli, mum, and dad had absolutely no idea what was coming and that was the way it stayed right up until [what I thought was] the night before we were to go to St. Tropez, when dad and I went to the bar for a couple of drinks.
After little bit of a chat I plucked up the courage to ask him if he would allow me to take Shelli’s hand, and the rest of her of course! He was shocked to say the least. I also asked him if he would help me when it came to the time as I wanted him to take my camera and “take our picture” by the sea in St. Tropez. A cunning plan even if I do say so myself, allowing me to have my hands free to get the ring out and get down on one knee. He agreed with glee and another round was ordered – hurrah!
The drink and chat with dad was supposed to have been the night before we went but without my knowledge plans had been changed for the trip out which meant we weren’t going to be on our own. I was devastated! All of my planning looked like it was going to be wasted and my hopes and wishes for us to do it as a family looked to be lost.
Shelli knew something was up. She could see how upset I was with the change of plans and – god bless her – she jumped in and sorted it out, which meant we went a day later, just us.
I had a suspicion that Shelli thought that something was up as I wanted everyone to get dressed up for our trip to St. Tropez, I just hoped that she hadn’t guessed what was coming. Okay, I thought it’d be good to not go out in just shorts and t-shirt for a change, especially there, and I knew the girls would love getting all dressed up for out trip, which they did, so I hoped that that would be enough for Shelli not to cotton on to what was going to happen.
Sunset at St. Tropez
The Big Day
The day came and after a fantastic – if a little tiring – excursion to a local adventure park climbing through the trees with the girls, we all got ourselves dressed up and off we headed to St. Tropez.
To be honest I’d not actually scouted out the area online (Google Street View is a wonderful thing!) so I didn’t really know when or where I was going to do it.
Having walked along the harbour front looking at all of the ridiculously outrageous boats we came to an archway that lead out to a little area by the sea, with a path leading down to a beach. I thought that this was the place, this was it, a great location with the sea behind us to get down on one knee.
My nerves started to rise with the thought of it. My stomach was doing somersaults at the thought of asking Shelli to marry me, but I started to get myself ready when a load of people came past us and then I noticed some kids climbing on the rocks.
Nope. This was all wrong. This wouldn’t do at all! It would have to wait.
By now the sun was beginning to go down and the colours across the sky were stunning. It had to be soon or the moment would be missed; I started to panic a little bit.
We walked the girls along the path by the sea wall, the four of them walking along the wall and climbing over the rather large boulders along the sea line. When we got to the end of it, and with nobody else around, I knew that it was now or never!
I asked dad to take my camera and to take our picture of the two of us. A look of excitement flashed across his face and he took our picture (See Shelli’s proposal post for that very photo).
Picture taken I turned to Shelli, started to get the ring out and started saying something about how I’d been thinking about this moment for a long time, or some such thing – I forget now. As I was talking all I could hear was dad getting all flustered because he wanted his camera so that he could record it!
If I wasn’t already nervous enough, having to stop mid sentence to wait for the camera to be switched on and set up, to then start again, well, I was almost beside myself and it’s a miracle anything actually came out of my mouth!
I said my piece, opened the ring box, took out the ring…and…nothing! Shelli literally couldn’t say anything! She was completely dumbstruck by what was happening, just about managing to nod at me which I took to be a yes and so I put the ring on her finger. She didn’t cry either, which was something I thought was inevitable. No. Denied!
Mum was in tears and both Asri and Alice were so excited to have seen it.
Playing on the harbour rocks
Elisa and Eleni were off playing and had missed everything but the big girls soon got them up to speed with what had just happened and I’m pleased to say they were just as excited about it as everyone else.
I’m pleased nobody guessed what was coming as it was a genuine surprise for everyone; I’d clearly done a great job of keeping my cards close to my chest for over a year!
I hope that this is something that Shelli remembers for a long time, me being the last of the great romantics!
Just after I proposed
I suppose I can’t get away with writing about popping the question to Shelli without mentioning something about the ring?
When it came to the ring I was going to get Shelli for our engagement I had a pretty good idea what I wanted to get:
- It had to be gold
- It had to be a trilogy ring
Why the above you may ask?
We’d both done the platinum ring thing before and I wanted to make sure that we were doing something different this time, something that was ours and completely different to our first marriages.
I also knew how much Shelli had gotten accustomed to wearing her other gold rings, rings from her gran etc. that meant a lot to her, so her engagement ring had to be gold. If it wasn’t then again she wouldn’t be able to wear the rings she loved so much and I didn’t want her to do that.
As for the trilogy ring, that’s simple. It’s down to the symbolism of the ring itself. The past, present and future; our whole life contained in these three little words. The three stone ring represents exactly that, each stone signifying a phase of our life; learning from the past, living in the present, and hope for a brilliant future.
So with all of that decided upon I just had to find the right ring, and in the right size!
Trying to get the ring size was fun. Obviously I couldn’t just ask Shelli what her ring size was as that would have immediately given the game away. No. I bought myself a digital caliper, waited for a time when she wasn’t wearing her rings (having made a mental note which ring she wore on which finger) and measured them. A foolproof plan you would think but it wasn’t a complete success unfortunately.
Shelli didn’t wear a ring on her left ring finger – obviously – so I had to take a punt at measuring the ring she wore on her right ring finger. I measured the ring and found the perfect ring, an 18ct gold antique diamond trilogy engagement ring. Obviously I was a little nervous that she might not like it but what could I do? Ask her what she thought?!
Fortunately she loved the ring when she saw it but unbeknown to me the ring finger on her right hand was slightly bigger than on her left hand! Doh! So, for the rest of the holiday she had to be extra careful not to lose it!
As soon as we were back in the UK she went to a local jewellers and got it altered – which I paid for, obviously – and a few excruciatingly long days later she had her perfectly fitting ring back where it belonged.