ENGAGEMENT STORY

Dancing-couple-Hashtag-by-Lily

My engagement story

If I close me eyes and think back to July 15th 2018, I can relive the butterflies in my stomach from the moment when Nigel went down on his knees and asked me to marry him. I can’t believe it’s already one year ago.

But okay.. reeeeewinddddddd!!!

The week before July 14th we decided to book a spontaneous trip to the Amalfi coast to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We usually don’t really celebrate anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, or whatever. We just love to surprise each other (Nig does it more than I do) with small gestures and shared experiences. As we realize that 15 years is kind of a big milestone, we decided to celebrate this time in our favorite way, by traveling.

 

When we booked the flights a week before departure, Nig decided it was time to pop the question. He raced to Tiffany’s store and ordered the ring that arrived just in time, the day before our trip began.

We had talked about marriage before but never really in detail. He knew I wanted to get married one day but I had never put pressure on it. I am not the kind of girl who has always dreamed about her wedding day – having the whole wedding played out in my head, knowing exactly what the dress might look like, what kind of cake we would have, which dress code, and all these things – no, that’s not me. Neither is Nig. So I think that’s why it has taken us 15 years to get to this point.

In our relationship so far, we have always done everything in little steps. “Just go with the flow until we are ready for it” has always been our motto. It feels really comfortable to be on the same page with each other when it comes to this attitude. Especially because it felt like the rest of the world wanted us to get married and have kids asap. People had it all figured out for us already even though we hadn’t yet. (These are literally, the most common questions we get: When will you get married? When do you plan to have children?)

If you have read my other articles “The banana generation” or “The secret love story” you know I am stubborn when it comes to following what is expected of me, read pressured. So no, we weren’t in any rush. Our fate lied in Nig’s hands, literally. 

Once we landed in Naples, we rented a car and drove to the dreamy Amalfi coast. What a romantic place to be. It was the perfect place to celebrate our anniversary. I didn’t plan to work during that weekend but I did do some research on places where we could go. We spent the day with activities – quality time to the fullest.

SATURDAY

The plan for Saturday was to go to the beach (walking 400 steps to reach it), strolling around at Positano, and end up at Ravello. We really enjoyed our anniversary, living the Italian “dolce vita”. Having some food here and there, adorning the scenic views and landscapes. You get the idea.

I told Nig I wanted to see the garden in Ravello during sunset because there is a gorgeous “balcony” which is 400 meters wide. Well, I was so enthusiastic about the place that Nig decided that the balcony will be the special place to pop the question. When we arrived, we found out that the balcony wasn’t 400 meters wide, but 400 meters high! It was still extremely gorgeous, but not private enough for Nig, so he called the mission proposal off for the day. He had to come up with a plan B for Sunday.

If I look back to the trip, of course at that time, the thought that our 15th anniversary might be a nice opportunity to get engaged, had crossed my mind for a second. Yet, I didn’t want to think about it, because I don’t like surprises or getting my hopes up too soon (even though I wasn’t impatient to get engaged). It’s just that once I know I get a surprise, I’ll go full Godzilla mode. Nonetheless, when our beautiful anniversary day came to an end, I wasn’t disappointed at all, but I did let all my guards down for the next day.

SUNDAY

The next day we continued our carefree vacation. We had a lovely lunch, stopped at the Furore bridge for a little while, and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in that area.

We were sunbathing, swam in the sea, and relaxed in the Jacuzzi. I did notice that Nig brought his backpack everywhere we went, even to the Jacuzzi. It was a bit strange but I didn’t make a big deal out of it.

In the meantime, he was working on plan B. During the day there was no romantic setting for the occasion. So he had all his hopes up for a beautiful sunset – something we enjoy the most about our travels is looking at the sunset together, preferably at an impressive location. This really is my favorite thing to do with Nig.

Luck wasn’t really on Nig’s side that day. He didn’t take the fact into account that the Amalfi coast is on the south side with lots of mountain hills blocking the sunset views. As you already can guess, there was no good spot to find to watch a proper sunset. So the clock was ticking because we were leaving the next morning. Almost out of desperation, he was tempted to propose during our dinner in a restaurant with another extraordinary sea view. I am glad he didn’t do it because I personally wouldn’t like it in a public restaurant. When he felt that I was really uncomfortable that he wanted to take a picture in the restaurant, he realized once again that he had to break down his mission and had to find a better idea for the proposal.

On our way back to the hotel we were super tired from our two days in the sun and from walking gazillion stairs (that’s how it felt). As our trip was almost coming to an end, he only had one shot left: the hotel. We were staying at a lovely hotel on the hills. It is actually a wedding location. He suggested having a drink at the hotel to raise the glass to a lovely anniversary weekend. I told him that I was honestly really exhausted and wanted to go to bed instead. He insisted so hard that I sort of agreed to it, hoping that once we arrived at the hotel we would just stay in our room.

Arriving at the hotel, we had to go up to our room first because we had so much stuff that we carried all day around with us. I really wasn’t planning to go anywhere. I was ready to make a free fall on the bed but he stopped me and almost begged me to go and have a glass of wine with him. Reluctantly, after I took off my heels and my pretty outfit to change into something comfier (and not sexy at all), I put my hair up and was ready to go and get the drinks over with. I was dressed and styled on fleek the whole weekend – except for this final moment.  

We went to the garden which was surprisingly empty. It was nicely decorated with romantic lights and there was music from a wedding that was going on inside. We picked a comfy spot to chill and ordered a wine.

Suddenly, Nig needed to take a picture for the memory. Again, I was in no mood for this, as I was tired and really not well-styled anymore. Before I could argue he was already setting up his telephone on self-timer as we do so often.

When he came back from setting up the camera, he suddenly went down on one knee and asked the big question: “Baby, will you marry me?” I stared at him in astonishment. (I bet you could hear the sound of the crickets for a few seconds). He really took me by surprise. I didn’t see it coming at all. Of course, I said “YES!” I could scream the word out loud when I think about it now but at that point, I couldn’t think at all. I just didn’t get it, I was so confused and surprised. I vaguely recall that I said, “Huh, Niggggg, what are you doing?”, as he told me later. I needed my time to let this sink in, obviously, in a good way. I mean, this is a huge milestone of our 15 years together. I knew this day would come but still, you can’t be prepared for this, not for me anyway.

I was over the moon and floating on cloud nine, yet, in my head, it was kind of blank. Nig was so nervous that he forgot to give a speech all together which normally will give you the time to work to that “aha” and “omg” moment. But that’s what I love about Nig too, he’s really spontaneous, goes straight to the point, and doesn’t care about all the other stuff. So all of the sudden we were ENGAGED!!!

We called our parents, siblings, and besties the same night. The next morning, I messaged my family to tell them about the big news. 

The big moment —>

We both know quite some people that are important to us, yet we didn’t feel like texting or calling each and every one personally, because we were still enjoying Italy but when I am excited about something, I can’t wait to share it with everyone! So we decided to let Instagram do its work. I subtly posted this picture below and only the ones, who looked long enough and read carefully, knew about the big announcement. 

I posted the picture right before I switched off my phone to plane mode to fly back to The Netherlands. When we landed and switched it on again, our phones exploded. We were overwhelmed by all the love we got from everyone. So many people were so happy for us, I did not expect that. It made me emotional. I guess right then it all sank in. I was engaged to my best friend who I love with all my heart. It does feel different. I mean after 15 years I didn’t think I needed a ring to feel committed to him on this level but the weeks after the engagement I was on cloud nine. I had all these butterflies, just like as if we started dating again.

Engagement-announcement-Hashtagbylily.

I posted this photo on social media to announce our engagement to the world 🙂

Our engagement was last year already. It took me quite some time to finish this story because, after the butterflies, stress kicked in. I was in a busy period in my career (and still am), and whenever we were talking about the wedding, I saw the price tag and the expectations that you need to meet halfway. I’m not going to lie; I am not really excited to plan the whole thing. I thought this was really weird and couldn’t really figure out the reason. I think this will be a whole different blog post if you really want to hear it all haha. But for now, I am happy. We have our goals set to have the wedding in Spring 2020.

I hope you liked our story. The preps for the wedding are slowly starting. I like to capture all these decisions in blog posts for myself as a diary, but also for everyone who has to plan a wedding, I hope this section can give you some inspiration. 

Hereby, I would like to announce a  new section on the blog: WEDDING!

LILY TJON

Amsterdam-based fashion travel beauty blogger & Co-founder Base Create Collab

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