Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Engagement Story...

In the spirit of Love and Valentine's Day and to follow up from my blog yesterday, I thought I’d share with yall the entry I wrote back in 2009 where I shared with Facebook the story of our Engagement. For those of you who didn’t know me then, or didn’t read it for whatever reason, I give you this giddy explosion of mush and love.


I can’t believe it’s been almost two weeks since Neal asked me to share his life with him. The last 12 days have been a whirlwind of happiness and planning (and continually pinching myself to find out if this is really truly happening!) I have told the story so many times that I’m starting to sound like a walking TLC show, but I’m still not tired of telling anyone about the happiest day of my life.

So many of you have messaged me, emailed me, texted me, etc to get the story and I’m just now having a chance to post it along with my photo journal. If you know me, then you know I never go anywhere without my camera. So we were able to take pics of the night (after they happened. But NO, I did not tell him to stay on his knee to take a picture of that. I took pics AFTER all the excitement!) :)

So here we go…

On Saturday, February 14th, yes, Valentines Days, we got up like any normal day. Neal told me that he had to take his friend Steve down to South Nashville to get an estimate and some work done on his hot-rod vehicle and give him a ride back. Now, I’m not usually a gullible person, but considering we had just taken a ride in said hot-rod, I knew that it needed some work. Neal just told me to be ready to leave the house by 4:15pm and to pick out a suit for him while he was gone. I sent him on his way, chastising Steve the whole time for taking Neal away on Valentines Day.

Neal came home later that afternoon and as planned we got all dressed up and left. I was nervous that Neal had not made dinner reservations because as of Wednesday it sounded like he was still trying to find a place. (If you know me, you know that I’m a planner by nature and like to know every detail of what I’m doing. But at the advice of my mom, I just sat back and watched what the night had in store for me.)

We started driving toward the Orpyland-area so I had some idea that we would be eating at a restaurant inside the hotel, which excited me because:
A) I was going somewhere and
B) I had never eaten in the hotel.
We arrived and walked towards the Delta. Turns out, Neal had made reservations at The Old Hickory Steakhouse, which is a really, really, really, REALLY nice steakhouse in the Delta Atrium.

The Old Hickory Steakhouse is modeled after an old traditional Southern mansion with the double deck balconies and white columns. The hostess led us out to the first floor which is a patio overlooking the entire Delta atrium. We had the best seat in the house. It was right up against the railing so we could see all the greenery and the fountains (which had a light and music show that night.) The meal was great, some of the best food I have ever had, hands down. During our meal, the General Manager, Nando, stopped by to thank us for spending our special day with them and offered after the meal to give us a tour of the rest of the restaurant. I thought this was a great touch (and figured we were getting some special treatment because Neal’s dad works there.)

After we finished our meal, Nando met us back at the table to take us on the tour. We walked up a winding stair case to the 2nd floor balcony. On the way up, Nando was telling us about the architecture, the builder, and the inspiration behind its design. As we got to the top of the staircase, he stepped to the side and said, “Well, I will leave you two now.” As he walked away, I was left staring at a small linen draped table and chair set, complete with two glasses of champagne, candles, and a single red rose. It was then that my heart began to jump out of my chest. Truthfully I was thinking, “If he doesn’t propose now, we have bigger problems.” Haha. And in my usual style, I started bawling.

It was perfect. Just the two of us at the highest point of the atrium. We could see everything and everyone, but were confined in a private space where it was just the two of us. Perfect.

Like most girls, I had thought of the day that my man would ask me to marry him. I’m a very modest person and can be on the shy side, so I knew that I didn’t want hundreds of people staring at me. But in the same sense, I didn’t want to it to happen in our living room either. Neal took my hand and from what I remember he said some really nice things, which I’ll leave for the two of us to remember. (Awww!) He got on his knee, pulled out a ring box and asked me to be his wife. At least I think he did - between my crying and the haze of chaos of the moment. It was a moment we shared that I’ll never forget in all my life.

After we both calmed down, he said he wanted to show me another view. So we left our peaceful little balcony and walked down the winding staircase. As we left the restaurant, the entire team was lined up at the entry smiling and congratulating us.

(NOTE: This is the part we don’t tell my Grandmother…)

Neal walked us up and down the hallways of the hotel. I kept waiting for him to find this little inlet overlooking one of the atrium's, but instead he stopped at a room. I was really surprised about that because I had always wanted to stay at the hotel in one of those balcony rooms that you see from all the gardens. We walked into the room and there were rose petals all over the floor and the furniture. There was light jazz music playing and a dozen red roses waiting for me. It was gorgeous. And you know what they say…the rest is history! ;)

But really, I had NO idea Neal had so much romance in him. And if he’s not romantic for the next year, he’s already made up for it. Needless to say, he wasn’t with Steve and his hot-rod in South Nashville that day. He was at the hotel preparing for our engagement. Neal made our day so perfect and memorable. I will never forget it for as long as I live.

And for those of you wondering, the ring he got me is beyond beautiful. It’s a white gold vintage set. The center stone is a large round diamond surrounded by a halo of pauve diamonds. It also has pauve diamonds on the sides as well a circular band of pauve diamonds under the center stone. I can’t think of a more beautiful ring. I stare at it all day and even look at it when I wake up in the middle of the night.

The man did good. And I’ll love him for the rest of my life for it.

Now let the wedding planning begin!! <3 <3 <3 <3

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