I can’t quite believe I’m writing this! I’m engaged! Even as a little girl, being Miss Fiercely Independent, I always told everybody that I wasn’t going to get married. I didn’t see it being part of my story and I didn’t even consider it happening to me until I got together with Ben, yet here I am, typing this with the most perfect, beautiful ring glistening on my left hand and I can’t quite believe it! Here’s our engagement story…
The proposal itself was very “us”. We were on holiday in our most favourite place in the world, Elounda. This was our third return there and it’s the place I feel most at peace. Whenever I’m there I can actually feel my soul being quieted and every fibre of me feels like I’m home. If there was anywhere I would want Ben to propose, Elounda would be it, without a doubt.
On the second night of our holiday, we booked a table at one of our favourite restaurants in the village, The Ferryman. Sitting on the waters edge, the views are incredible and the food is absolutely unbelievable. No matter what we order, it’s always unspeakably good and so is a must-visit whenever we’re there.
Watching the sun set in Elounda is one of my favourite things to do, so as we ate our dinner, we looked over the water as night began to fall and chatted about anything and everything. We had been out during the day to the nearby town of Agios Nikolaos where we wandered around the streets eating slushies to try and beat the blazing Crete sunshine. I had mentioned to Ben that I wanted to buy a piece of jewellery to bring home with me from the holiday, so we looked in all the jewellers as we walked by. I hadn’t managed to find anything I liked and there had been some questionable pieces that we had laughed about when we saw them.
As we sat there chatting, I was looking out over the water, not looking Ben at all, but taking in the surroundings and gazing at the mountains as the light began to fade.
“So, did you see any rings you liked today?” he asked me.
“No, although I’m considering going back and getting that one with the massive swan on it!” I joked.
“What about this one…?”
I glanced towards him and there he was, holding a ring. I stared at it for what felt like forever, my brain completely frozen. The only thought I was remember going through my head was “WHAT IS THAT?!” Then I put my hands to my face… and continued to stare. Silent.
After what felt like about 3 hours, but was probably only a few seconds as I had lost all concept of time and space, Ben asked, “Are you going to put it on?” I started crying, taking the ring from him and sliding it on to my finger.
I do remember, at this point, thinking “I hope this is an engagement ring because if it isn’t, it’s going to be so awkward him telling me I’ve put it on the wrong finger”. But it was an engagement ring thank goodness and having put it on, I continued to stare at it. Crying. Silent.
By now Ben was laughing at me as I still hadn’t said anything but was instead sat there quietly sobbing at the table whilst staring at my own hand. “Do I need to ask?” he said. I shook my head; no need to ask.
I honestly can’t remember very much after that. I was so shocked that I honestly think my brain just ceased to function and so there’s a big black space in my memory – Ben had to tell me what had happened the next day because I could barely remember how it had all happened. Luckily when he told me the story, the memories all came back to me, but it’s funny how the human brain works when it’s overwhelmed, isn’t it?
Having found myself engaged in a massive turn of events that I hadn’t seen coming, I sent a photo to my family WhatsApp group and to my closest friends. We Facetimed Ben’s family to tell them, as he had kept it secret from everyone – sneaky sneaky! He had, however, asked my Dad for his permission which – despite being a modern woman – was something very important to me as my Dad means the world to me and I wanted that sense of tradition and respect upheld.
Nobody else in the restaurant noticed the engagement – possibly because I had zero reaction except for freezing and going completely silent – and, honestly, that’s how I would want it. It was something just for the two of us and as we sat there, drinking the last of our wine and overlooking the water which was now shrouded in darkness, we had our own little secret that nobody else in the world knew.
It was the perfect proposal for us – low key and in our most favourite place in the world.
The ring is, for want of a better word and unapologetically cliche, absolutely perfect. Over the 3-years we’ve been together we’ve discussed what we would want from a wedding – we know where we want to get married, we know who we want in the bridal party, we know who we want to do speeches – and Ben knew from these chats what sort of ring I would like, and boy did he deliver! A yellow diamond set within a halo – my dream ring and now, somehow, it’s sitting on my hand. I own it. It’s mine.
I’m actually getting choked up typing this and can feel the tears burning at my eyes. I can’t quite believe this is real and happening to me. I never thought it would. I never thought I would find someone to spend my life with; someone to love me despite and because of my flaws, and yet here I am. I mean… how?!
One thing about this ring that I love so much is that the diamonds are ethical, non-conflict, lab-grown stones. I know this is quite a divisive subject but, for me, to have diamonds that have not been dug out of this depleting planet of ours nor added to the dangerous diamond trade, is something that means a lot to me. The boy did good!
As for the wedding – and to answer the question that so many people keep asking us – it won’t be for some time. Perhaps another 5-years. We don’t want to borrow any money for it as we don’t want to start our married life with debts (again, personal preference – everyone is different) and so we are going to be saving up for it. Weddings aren’t cheap so it’s going to take some time, but I think 5-years is a realistic timescale.
We fully intend to have the wedding we have spoken about all those times before but we won’t be doing any planning until nearer the time; it will, however, be a destination wedding – in Elounda, obviously! Although we will be having a party back here in the UK for anyone who can’t make it to Crete, as we know it’s not going to be possible for everyone.
I still can’t quite believe it, but it’s real, it happened and despite the fact I can’t remember it very well, I do know that it was one of the most surreal, emotional moments of my entire life.
So there you have it, our engagement story… 2018 is truly turning out to be an absolute blinder of a year and I can’t wait to keep a note of all our adventures here on this blog. It’s always been a place to capture our memories, and now I feel invigorated as it will truly be the story of our life. From getting together over 3-years ago, to writing about our engagement today, and onwards to everything our future has to bring.
I’m a very happy Penny indeed.