I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, spent with loved ones, eating lots and playing silly games!
Also, HAPPY NEW YEAR!! A time for new beginnings which I’m actually really looking forward to this year! Anyway, with it being a new year, I thought we’d mix things up and hear about Craig’s confessions this month! I wrote the questions in November and have asked Craig to mull them over and answer them for this New Years post. It will give you all a chance to meet the guy who made these Confessions of a Bride to be, possible.
What happened to make you think “right I’m going to buy a ring!”? Why that moment?
Would have been all those little hints and comments that Emma’s mum had been throwing in, “Oh, Emma, did you hear that such and such is now engaged? Been together 2 years less than you and Craig! What do you think about that eh Craig?”
No, in all seriousness I was never in any hurry and always thought it would happen when it felt the right time. We’d talked about it before and I’d always imagined 5 years or so being just about right – I think after 5 years together and 3 years or so living with one another (and knowing we wouldn’t be at each other throats all the time) is just about right. Some people get engaged before they’ve even lived together and that absolutely baffles me!
We were going through the process of making plans and getting drawings made for our renovation and it hit me that the time was right. Going to buy the ring itself was pretty easy – it was planning for the proposal that was the hard bit! I knew Emma would prefer white gold and a simple/classic ring that wasn’t too bling or in your face. I spent a bit of time researching all the different grades, cuts and clarity of diamonds and found a lovely Canadian diamond ring that I thought was perfect. It was a little over my budget but there’s a bit of a premium with Canadian diamonds as it’s guaranteed not to be a blood diamond from Africa which I knew would make Emma happy.
Why did you choose to propose the way you did? Would you change anything?
I wanted it to be something memorable but not too cringey. Emma had always said she wasn’t expecting anything extravagant – on a walk with the dog or down by the beach would have been suffice. I wanted it to be just us (and Austin if possible). The idea of getting down on one knee in front of loads of absolute strangers terrified me and I’m very much like Emma in that I don’t like being in the limelight or being the centre of attention. I thought about booking a weekend away in a cottage up in the Scottish highlands; I could propose on a snowy walk and then we’d celebrate by just chilling in the evening with a fire burning away. I also thought about booking a few days away to Norway or Iceland and proposing underneath the Northern Lights. But what if they didn’t come out!? Disaster!
A few ideas bounced about and then I settled on a trip to New York and Washington DC. We spent some time in Washington during our American road trip in 2014 and we absolutely loved it. Washington isn’t like your typical city. It’s so quiet and has this really chilled out vibe. I didn’t quite have an exact plan in my head – I kind of thought I’d wing it! One of Emma’s favourite films is Forrest Gump and there’s a scene where Forrest, for whatever reason, finds himself up on stage at an anti-Vietnam War protest on the Washington Mall. Jenny sees him up on stage and calls out and they both then wade through the Reflecting Pool where they reunite – romantic huh? The Washington Mall is the area from The Lincoln Memorial that runs right up through the Washington Monument and up to the Capitol Building. It’s such a nice part of Washington and that was where I planned to pop the question!
It didn’t quite go to plan – I’ll explain later on.
Who did you tell that you were going to propose?
Quite a few actually! But I didn’t tell anyone until I had actually purchased the ring. Emma’s brother and Dad knew quite early on and I’d told my friend John that I was going to ‘do the deed’ and then after a few days told a few more in a WhatsApp group chat with some of my friends. I told my Mum and Dad, my brother, a few friends from work and actually our neighbour too!! I think that was just about it.
What went through your mind when you were in the shop buying the ring?
“This is quite a lot of money for a piece of jewellery!?” Actually, I had got myself a bit of a bargain as I’d bought the ring just after the new year. I knew beforehand the ring I was going to get so it was a nice surprise to see it was slightly discounted in the shop! I guess the jewellers expect to sell a fair few rings during the weeks leading up to Christmas. TOP TIP: Gents, wait for the post Crimbo sales!!
I had to steal one of Emma’s rings to find out what size she was. I couldn’t ask her Mum because she’d always said she didn’t want to know beforehand as she’d love to hear it only from Emma once she was engaged. Once in the jewellers I just wanted to purchase it and get out ASAP. I had this horrible feeling one of her friends, her Mum or another family member would walk in and see me sitting at this table with a lady showing me a sparkling engagement ring! The lady made me a coffee that I didn’t particularly want and proceeded to talk to me about the specifications of the ring – I’d known all this as I had previously done my homework! She also wanted to hear all about my proposal plans and she wasn’t the most subtle of sale clerks, as she bellowed “Sheila!! Karon!! This gentleman is taking his girlfriend to Washington to propose!! Her favourite film is Forrest Gump and he’s going to do it by the reflecting pool! You know the scene!? Lovely! Adorable!” I could feel my face going redder and redder, not helped by the fact it was roasting in there as I hadn’t taken my coat off and still had this scalding coffee to drink!!
Did you ask permission from my Dad?
I did – and this was a big day for Emma’s Dad! I kind of wanted to make sure that Emma’s brother was there too. I’d suggested to them about going to play a round of golf one Saturday morning. I’d sneaked the ring into my golf bag and off we went – Emma’s Dad has quite a sense of humour so I had a quirky idea of how to ask him. When we got to the golf course we grabbed a bucket of balls and headed to the driving range to practice our swings before the round. Emma’s Dad had popped to the loo so I let slip to Chris (Emma’s brother) about what was about to go down. He looked a bit startled and replied “Oh! Brilliant! Great news! Actually me and Terri (his partner) have some news of our own to tell everyone later today” – They were expecting a baby!!
So my plan was that on the last hole I’d get Chris to distract his dad whilst I’d pop the ring box into the hole. Hoping that when Emma’s Dad putted and went to retrieve his ball he’d also find the ring box and I’d ask the question! I know what you’re thinking – it sounds a little like I’m proposing to him! It didn’t work out like that anyway because on the last hole I had scuffed my shot whilst Emma’s Dad had played a blinder right onto the green. Before I was anywhere near the hole he’d already putted and was looking mighty pleased with himself about the cracking hole he’d just played. I looked at Chris, Chris looked at me and he just started laughing! So in the end I said something along the lines of “Well done for winning! Here’s your prize!” And handed him the ring box. He looked a bit confused and I then said “I wanted you both to be here for this so, with your blessing, I’d like to ask Emma to marry me” or something like that. He of course said yes – because who wouldn’t want me as their son in law! He knew that Emma’s Mum wouldn’t want to know so he panicked a little about trying to keep it a secret for the next few weeks! I’m pretty sure he also said something about me already buying the ring so he has to say yes!
Anyway – so later that day Chris and Terri told everyone they were expecting a baby so it was double news for Emma’s Dad that day!
How were you feeling on the morning of and the day you were going to propose?
I wasn’t too bad to begin with. We had gotten a train from New York to Washington quite early and at the station when buying a coffee the guy in front of me left his bankcard in the machine to I ran it out of the shop back out to him – so I started the day feeling like a hero!
We had a tour of the Capitol Building and the security getting in was like that at an airport. The ring was in the top pocket of my coat and when it went through the scanners my heart was in my mouth! Luckily it didn’t register. We walked down towards the Washington Monument and I started getting butterflies in my belly. When we were last in Washington this little Japanese lady asked us to take a picture of her by the monument as she was alone on business. So we did and she got a little bit of paper and made an origami crane and gave it to Emma as a thank you. The crane symbolises peace or luck? I’m not too sure! Anyway, Emma had kept this and had stuck it in a book with bits and bobs from our road trip. I hadn’t brought the ring box with me as I’d taken the crane out and put the ring inside it – the time before we had sat on one of the benches by the monument and just looked down the Washington Mall towards the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial. It was such a lovely part of our road trip. So I had brought the crane back! Unfortunately, this time around Emma was too excited to go and explore again. I went to go and sit back on the same bench but she was having none of it! She just wanted to carry on! She ended up laying down and laughing with some random people about how it looks like it sways in the wind! In my head I was like, “Are you serious!! I’m about to propose here!!” So she drags me on and I’m panicking thinking that was my location where I’m supposed to propose! I’d already received good luck messages from friends and her dad!! I spent the rest of the afternoon panicking about what to do!? What will everyone think when we come back and we’re not engaged!?
So we saw The White House, we walked through Georgetown, we had some food and on the way back we went to the Lincoln Memorial and it was just about sunset when we were walking back up the Washington Mall. In my head I was telling myself:
“Perfect! Now’s your chance Craig!”
“C’mom Craig! No one else is around. It’s just you two! Do it!”
“YOU’RE NOT DOING IT!!!!!!”
I’d clocked a nice bench right by the Monument that was looking down on the Reflecting Pool so we headed for that and I did it! Just as the sun was setting! Perfect! Couldn’t have timed it any better if I say so myself!
What have you always thought your wedding would look like?
The cost of the average wedding is about £25,000 nowadays and that’s just crazy! I’d rather spend £5000 on the wedding and the rest on an awesome honeymoon!! A typical big wedding is the exact opposite of what I’d like. I honesty feel like it’s all a show. The idea of speeches, first dances, sitting at a head table so all your guests can watch you eat your dinner!? What’s that all about? I’ve been to family and friend’s weddings and they’ve been lovely! But it’s just not me, you know? I quite like the idea of going to Las Vegas and getting hitched by an Elvis impersonator at a little chapel. Or maybe getting married on a white sandy beach in flip flops and a white cotton shirt with someone playing the ukulele in the background – but I don’t think that’s going to happen. Something fairly small would be right up my street, with just immediate family and some close friends. I have quite a small family in Suffolk; it’s just my Mum, Dad, brother, sister and her five children. I have aunties, uncles and cousins that I’ve maybe seen only a handful of times in the last 10/15 years. So I feel like I shouldn’t bother inviting them – does that make sense or does it sound a little harsh? I think I’d rather have some more of my friends or family friends there rather than distant family I never see or speak to.
How do you feel about the wedding we are planning?
Both me and Emma are exactly on the same page which is nice. We both want a small wedding with just close family and friends and then on another day have a big bbq or party in our garden. I honestly wouldn’t want a ‘BIG’ wedding. The day is about us and how we want to celebrate with our family and friends – I went to a wedding a few years ago and was chatting to the groom who said he hadn’t a clue who most of the guests were. Isn’t that insane!?
Where would you like to go for honeymoon?
I’m not 100% sure. The Maldives would be lovely but I also like the idea of a road trip around New Zealand or Canada? Emma is doing most of the planning for the wedding and I just go along with whatever she’s planned. Whereas I’d probably be more involved with the honeymoon planning.
What do you hope our future looks like?
I’d love to emigrate and move away to Canada one day but I very much doubt that would happen. We’re currently renovating our house and hopefully that should be our forever home. I have always wanted kids but not until I was in my 30’s – although I’ve just turned 30 in November! Arghhh!! A couple of kids, some nice holidays and spending my retirement on the golf course would be perfect!!
Sending much love and wish you all a really happy new year,
Emma and Craig xxx