Honestly, I knew before the end of December that I was going to propose to Sunshine at some point in 2012. I didn’t want to let on that I was going to, so hopefully she didn’t get too much of a hint. Sure, it was discussed…but I usually tried to change the topic of conversation whenever it was brought up.
Even when we had her ring finger sized back in January, I did my best to make it a “non-issue” and didn’t discuss it again. Of course, for those who don’t follow me on Twitter you may not have seen the following message…
I didn’t have a day or time picked out when I took this photo, but the moment we confirmed that we were going to go on a cruise I knew exactly when I was going to do it: the first formal-wear evening of the week (March 19th). Of course, having made that decision meant there were a LOT of variables I hadn’t yet finalized:
- How, exactly, should I propose?
- Where do I get a ring?
- How do I hide the ring from her?
- How do I pull this off??
The first thing I did was go to my dad, who buys and sells jewelry through eBay for fun. He opened his safe and pulled out a few trinkets for me to look at. He initially suggested one of my mother’s rings, but it had a HUGE diamond in it. Wait…that’s not supposed to be a bad thing, is it? Well, Sunshine isn’t one for flashy or gaudy. She wants unique and meaningful. So dad took out another ring which actually was an engagement ring/wedding band set where the band fit-in with the engagement ring. I knew immediately that I had to buy that one for her.
I knew that Sunshine preferred white gold, so I went to dad’s favorite jewelry store to “re-dip” the ring and have it re-sized. With about a week to go before the vacation was to begin, the ring was ready for her finger.
I had a couple of scenarios running through my head about how I was going to propose. I had three different options, actually.
- Take Sunshine up on Lido deck at night and find a quiet corner of the ship, then propose to her under the stars. Now I realize that this was the uber-romantic option to take, but it wasn’t quite “us”. I mean, I’m all about romance…but this just wasn’t how I wanted to do things.
- Walk past the numerous photographers on formal night en route to dinner. During our meal, I would excuse myself to use the washroom and run to the photographer that I would hope she liked. I was going to tell him/her my plan to propose and then hope they remembered me when I showed up after the meal. Then voila~!! Instant pictures and memories from the proposal itself.
- Contact the cruise director somehow in order to set-up an on-stage proposal during one of the main shows they have during the week. It wouldn’t be romantic at all, but it’d be on video and it’d certainly be memorable.
Honestly? I wanted to try option #3 first. I sent emails to Carnival, I sent emails to John Heald (three, in fact), and I even went on CruiseCritic.com trying to see if this was even a good idea or not. I didn’t get any answer to finding out (a) who the cruise director was going to be on the Legend and (b) how to contact them before we set sail. Without a ton of time to do some real digging, I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to work out. And looking back now, my choice in the end was probably the best.
Then came the whole idea of just how to hide the ring from her. I wanted to just hide it in my suitcase, but people went nuts when I made that suggestion (because I told EVERYBODY at work about my plans…lol) and said I absolutely needed to hide it in my carry-on luggage. The only problem is that I NEVER take a carry-on with me.
So I found a bag that I could use and tried to hide the box in a dress sock. That didn’t work. I tried to hide it in one of my dress shoes. That didn’t work, either. I spent a good 30 minutes trying to hide the damn box in different socks before finally using a thick pair of wool ones that I stuffed in the bottom of my carry-on. I casually mentioned to Sunshine that I didn’t want to take any chances with luggage so I was going to bring a carry-on with me for the trip. Luckily, she was none the wiser.
The morning of the flight out of Halifax we were going through customs. Now it was probably about 5:15am and we were jittery enough from a lack of sleep and excitement, but my nerves were terrible because I knew if my plan was going to fail it would probably be at customs.
Sunshine went ahead of me and waited on the other side of the big ol’ scanning machine for her bag. I then went and stood next to her. Her bag came out. Mine didn’t. To my absolute horror, they had STOPPED the conveyor belt to look at my bag. A finger pointed to a small box with a circle in it. Then they ZOOMED IN ON IT.
I was going absolutely insane on the inside. I nervously looked at Sunshine next to me and she wasn’t paying attention to the situation at all. I looked back at the screen and they were changing colours and views in order to try to figure out just what they were looking at.
Kids…if I had to pull out the ring and propose in the middle of customs at the frickin’ Halifax Airport, I would have been PISSED. Just as I was about to pass out I heard, “We’re good” and the conveyor belt began moving again.
My heart began beating again and we made our way onto the plane a short while later.
So fast-forward to the ship. I had quickly realized that it would be mighty suspicious to just get up and leave Sunshine for any reason in a lame attempt to go to Guest Services and leave a message for the cruise director. So in my mind, option #2 was what I was going to go with. Even better was that the “Captain’s Celebration” (i.e. a meet-n-greet) was taking place in the main lobby before supper, so I would get a better idea of what background she preferred before we went to eat and I could hatch my “bathroom break plan of awesomeness”.
I did my absolute best to NOT act anxious or nervous in the final hour we were getting ready. She noticed I was hovering, though…and that made me even MORE nervous. Once dressed, I realized that I needed her to go to the washroom for more than 10 seconds so I could snatch the ring out of my carry-on. That made me even MORE stressed because she was almost ready.
Thankfully, Sunshine snuck away to powder something and I grabbed the box and stuffed it in my pants pocket. After confirming that you couldn’t really see the box sticking out of the side of my pants, I began to have a surreal feeling…I was actually about to do this!!!
Just as we were about ready to go, we took pictures that we always took before leaving the room…
I then put the camera in my pocket…only it was in the pocket I had the ring in.
I looked at Sunshine and she looked right back at me. The jig was up!
She asked, “What?” I responded with, “Nothin’.”
I then snuck off to the washroom to complain about my complexion (or something or other) as I was actually changing the ring from one pocket to another. We then head out the door and I took yet another deep breath, totally ready to make the best decision of my life.
After introducing ourselves to Kirk Benning, the Legend’s cruise director, we each grabbed a drink and casually made our way around the room…talking to people and checking out the photo backgrounds.
At this point I immediately realized that it was too far to run from the restaurant to the lobby area…I’d be gone 10-20 minutes trying to pull off this plan. In addition, the line-ups were starting to grow at some of the better backgrounds…so it’d take even longer just to TALK to one of the photographers.
We then noticed that the line-up for the stairs wasn’t too bad. Sunshine really liked it and I did, too, so we decided to get in line and get a picture done BEFORE dinner.
My mind switched on and said THIS IS IT!! I gulped down my beer to kill off my nerves and we inched closer to the photographer. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, our turn was next.
pushed nudged Sunshine towards the stairs and immediately grabbed the photographer by the arm. I whispered in his ear, “I’m about to propose to my girlfriend right now. I need to make sure you get photos of her reaction.”
Without skipping a beat, he said that it wouldn’t be a problem and casually directed me towards the stairs…like he had known all along.
We posed for about two or three seconds before I just couldn’t hold it in anymore. Now I may be off here with my memory, but I’m pretty sure I said the following…
Wait a second. Before we go on any further…
(I turned to Sunshine)
You know how much I love you, right?
(Sunshine nodded with a perplexed look on her face)
(I pulled the box out of my pocket)
…I just wanted to let you know that you are the wind beneath my wings.
You are the sunshine of my life.
You are all I need.
You are every single cheesy 80′s song come to life.
And there is nothing I would rather do than to grow old with you.
So having said that...
(I opened the box and got down on one knee)
…will you do me the honor of being my wife?
She was beaming. My heart was pounding. We both couldn’t stop smiling.
And then she said “YES!”
It was truly the happiest moment of my life.
As we hugged and kissed and celebrated, the large crowd of a couple hundred people began to applaud. Most didn’t know what was going on, but word spread around the lobby pretty quick with so many people there.
It was exactly as I had hoped it would be.
We began to make our way through the crowd to head to dinner. The handshakes and congratulations were coming in from every direction. If I hadn’t been smiling so damn much I would have been crying with joyous tears.
Jaime, the assistant cruise director, was filming an interview segment with guests for the in-house Carnival show. She stopped us and asked if we could be interviewed by her. Of course we agreed.
Watching it back on the television about a thousand times as the week went on, the pure happiness and bliss and joy in both of our faces was impossible to ignore. It just cemented what I already knew…this was the RIGHT decision to make.
Off we went to dinner…beaming. People were congratulating us all the way from the middle of the ship to the aft, where the restaurant was housed. Our cheeks were starting to hurt because we were smiling so much. And while every other night of the cruise we ate with other people, on this night we dined alone.
After mowing through an amazing seafood dinner we decided to pose for some more pictures, and as it turns out a couple of them turned out to be pretty awesome engagement photos that we’ll be able to cherish forever.
So there you have it. From beginning to end, that is how I proposed to Sunshine. Hopefully her memories of this evening are even half of what mine are…because even then they are amazing memories.
Soul meet mate.
The vacation recap continues on Monday. Have a great weekend everybody!