I had been planning the proposal for almost a year, now. Janis had wanted to go on some type of oversea travel, and I was shopping around for a new car. I was very interested in a German car, and every German manufacturer does a European delivery option where you can pick up the car in Germany, and you purchase the car at a discount. This was a perfect match for us – it saved me money on a new car and it allowed Janis and I to begin to travel the world. Shortly after Janis and I had decided we were going to do a European vacation, I knew that Paris would be a perfect city for the proposal. Who wouldn’t love to be proposed to in Paris? I wanted to get Janis’ dad’s approval before proposing. It was after all the holidays and I still hadn’t asked her dad. I wasn’t sure when I would get the opportunity, until it dawned on me – we would be going back to Chicago for Scott’s wedding. While in Chicago, I asked and was granted Mr. Lee’s permission to marry Janis.
Purchasing a ring is one of the most daunting tasks in proposing. There are so many types and styles for both the diamond and the ring, that I wasn’t sure what Janis would love. With all these options, I asked Janis to come out with me to shop for the ring. Before shopping, she thought she’d love a very simple style – either a solitaire or a three-stone ring. After shopping around for a bit – she really loved the halo design that Landon, my brother, bought his fiancée, Kaley. She also really liked the double-halo, which is two sets of diamonds around the center stone. We looked in several stores for either halo or double halo designs and found one at Shane Company (ShaneCo) that she really enjoyed.
By now, I had the location, and father’s permission, and I knew what ring she wanted, so I just needed to buy the diamond and mount it in the ring. I did a lot of research for the diamond that I was looking for. One site in particular (the truth about diamonds), was very helpful in going beyond the dictionary-like definitions of the 4 C’s (cut, carat, color, clarity) and giving a ton of great in-depth information about diamonds. I looked in the local jewelry stores for diamond prices, and they were quite high as opposed to online diamond prices. Scott also purchased his diamond online, and the online retailers had a money-back guarantee, so I decided to purchase online. I originally purchased a diamond from James Allen after more than 6 hours of searching for just the right deal. It was a great diamond that I was really excited about. The purchase process was smooth – and it arrived in time. Now I just needed to ensure I could keep it hidden for a month before our trip!
About two weeks before the trip, I went back to ShaneCo to purchase the ring and have the diamond mounted. While inspecting the diamond, they noticed a cavity in the corner of the diamond (see picture below, from the GIA certificate). They mentioned that this cavity puts the diamond in great risk of being damaged during the mounting process (and during normal use, after mounted). They said that they would not feel comfortable mounting this diamond. So, I had two options – purchase another diamond from James Allen (and worry about it getting delivered and mounted in time for the trip), or purchase a diamond locally from a store. They showed me a comparable diamond (same cut/clarity/color/carat as the one I had purchased), but the price was about 20% higher than I had paid online. After the salesperson talked with the manager, I was able to get a very deep discount on the diamond, which made the purchase price the same as what I paid online. I was able to get the new diamond mounted before our trip. Everyone from ShaneCo were great to work with, and super helpful. Also, the return process of James Allen was a breeze. In fact, everything about purchasing a diamond from James Allen was a breeze, except that I didn’t realize the impacts of the cavity in the corner of the diamond when I purchased it. I most likely will try and purchase more things from James Allen in the future, as they have really great pricing.
When attempting to decide where to propose in a city that I’m unfamiliar with, I looked online to see if I could get any good hints. While looking online, I found other people had gotten professional photos taking just after the proposal. I thought this was a fantastic idea, so I looked online for a photographer. I found one at Better Paris Photos. When talking with them about taking photos, they gave me a few great recommendations – I wanted a somewhat secluded area without a lot of people, but I also wanted a memorable location. I thought a bridge would be a great location, and Notre Dame is right by a couple of such bridges, and is a very historic site. I looked for restaurants online that were near Notre Dame, and landed on Chez Julian – a very old, very neat little restaurant. I booked a reservation for the day that we would arrive at 7:30PM, ensuring that we’d have enough time to get situated in our hotel before dinner. I let the photographer know where we’d be eating dinner and she knew about where we were I was going to propose.
When planning what clothes to pack for Paris, we had planned a few nice outfits for dinner. I packed one of my favorite purple shirts, and Janis packed her purple dress. While in Zurich, we planned what we were going to wear for the next few days to minimize how much luggage we hauled, and I told Janis we should have a date night in Paris – so she should pack her dress as I was going to pack my nice shirt. Every day of the trip, I was worried about keeping the ring hidden and secured. I initially packed it in my carry-on baggage, then smoothly moved it to my jacket after security.
We arrived in Paris on 10/1, shortly after noon. After searching for either parking or the hotel for 30 minutes, we finally found parking, although it wasn’t close to the hotel. We then had to walk about a mile to find our hotel. We checked in and walked back to pick up the car and brought it to the hotel. Just after checking in, we were both hungry for lunch. It was a nice day, so I wasn’t going to need my jacket, so I moved the ring from my jacket to my backpack before heading out. We ended up grabbing lunch at a small cafe near the hotel. The lunch was very good – I had a beef dish and Janis had a chicken dish. We left the cafe and went back to the hotel to get ready for the night. I knew it was going to be a late night, so I wanted to take a nap to be ready. Just as I put my head down to rest, I realized that I left my backpack at the cafe WITH THE RING IN THE BACKPACK! I panicked – there was one thing on this trip that I didn’t want to lose – that ring. I would have been less upset had I lost the car, my passport, or my wallet. I ran out of the room and to the cafe, and luckily, the waiter had the backpack for me – I quickly threw my hand in the pack and luckily, the ring was still there. Whew – what a close call. I walked back to the hotel, backpack in hand, and took a nap for about an hour, relieved that the ring was safe.
Janis woke me up, and I got ready to go out. We left our hotel, and began walking around a bit of Paris, as we still had about 3 hours before dinner. With about an hour before dinner, we were getting close to the places that I had planned on walking by and proposing by. Janis asked if I wanted to quickly check out Notre Dame before dinner, since we had about an hour to go. I didn’t want to walk to Notre Dame, cause that’s where I was planning to propose after dinner, so I slyly suggested we save Notre Dame for after dinner – we wanted more than 1 hour to check it out.
We arrived at the restaurant and informed them that I had a reservation, but they couldn’t find it. They also mentioned that there were 2 Chez Juliens in the city. They called up the other one, but that location didn’t have a reservation for me, either. I was confused and nervous, thinking that all of my planning was about to be unraveled. All of the information about the reservation and restaurant was on my phone, which I left at the hotel. I wasn’t sure that this was the right spot, or if we were supposed to be at the other location. I was also worried that photographer would show up at the wrong Chez Julian, and we’d miss out on the photos. The restaurant mentioned that they had outdoor seating available, if we wanted to take advantage of it. I thought that we had a 50% chance to have the right location, and without photos, it’d still be a memorable night. We decided to take the outdoor seating. Just after being seated, I told Janis that I was going to talk with the hostess again. I got up and went inside, and tried to explain my situation – I had a photographer that was going to take some pictures of the restaurant, but she might be showing up to the wrong Chez Julian. There was a slight language barrier between me and them, and I’m not sure my nervous super-fast talking helped. They didn’t understand what I was saying at first, which only exhaborbated the problems. Eventually, I gave up, hoping that I wouldn’t be wasting the photographer’s time.
Until dinner, I wasn’t very nervous about proposing – I was only nervous about not losing the ring (or having it stolen). I think it was the mixup that kicked the nerves into high gear, because it was during dinner, that my nerves began to kick in. The only thing that would calm them down, even a little, was just simply looking into Janis’ eyes. Every time I would look at Janis it made me smile, knowing that she was going to be my fiancé shortly. All through dinner, I was practicing what I was going to say, and how I was going to pull the ring out. Because of all of this on my mind – I couldn’t eat all of my food, and Janis noticed, asking if I was feeling OK. I said that I was, and that it was the two espressos that I had just before dinner that made me not so hungry. During dinner, I noticed that someone who looked like a photographer showed up, wearing the same outfit that was described in an e-mail I read just before dinner. This calmed down my nerves a little, knowing that the photographer showed up.
We paid our tab and exited the restaurant, on our way to Notre Dame. As we were walking on our way, I was scouting for a good place to propose, a place that wouldn’t be crowded. My nerves were super high. Janis began taking pictures of the river as we crossed one of the busy bridges. We took a turn, headed towards another bridge which would take us right next to Notre Dame, when I saw a really great area. It was just in front of Notre Dame, along the river with nobody around. Janis took a few quick pictures of Notre Dame, and right then and there. Janis was about to move on and I told her to wait a moment. I had the speech ready to go, and now I just needed to grab the ring. I wanted to smoothly grab the ring from my jacket, but honestly, I fumbled around for a minute, trying to find the pocket I put it in. For a moment, I thought I had lost it, which made my nerves jump higher than they were. When I finally found the ring, I got on one knee, with my hands shaking, and the only thing that was in my mind was “Will you marry me”? But it wasn’t a very smoothly-asked question, it was a nervous studdering that was more like “Wi ill ill you ooo ooo Maa aarr reeeee mee eeee eeee?”. Janis had the biggest smile on her face as she said YES! I got up, relieved. I hugged and kissed her, knowing that the hardest part of the proposal and vacation was over. After the initial shock passed from Janis, she pointed to the ground and said “I want you to kneel as you put the ring on my finger” – whoops. I guess I was too relieved to have remembered to put the ring on her finger. I kneeled back on the ground and put it on her, then stood back up and hugged and kissed her again. After a few moments, I told her that we had a photographer, ready to take pictures of us around Paris.
The rest of the night we spent taking photos, and really letting the moment set in. We got back to our hotel at about midnight, and called our parents to let them know what had happened. We snapped a few more photos of Janis with the ring, sent an e-mail to our family letting them know what happened, and called it a night.
In the past year and a half, we have been talking more about getting engaged and our future together. Logan got me a pair of earrings for Valentine’s Day. We went to Shane Company to switch the backing for white gold. When we walked into the store, they asked us if we were engagement ring shopping. We hadn’t really discussed it and I wasn’t sure whether or not it would be awkward ring shopping. I didn’t know if he had already bought one, was thinking about buying one, or if it was even on his mind.
After we dropped off the earrings, I looked at him and he asked “Do you want to go ring shopping?” I said “Sure, why not?” I thought, we might as well, while we were here. I was excited. There were so many sparkly gems in the display cases the glittered in the light. I felt like a child in a candy store. There were so many to choose from. The saleslady asked me so many questions – what cut, what style, what color diamond, what setting… I had absolutely no idea.
Until that day, I always liked the three stone engagement rings. Other than that, I wasn’t sure. After about an hour or so looking at different styles of glittering beauty, I narrowed it down to a double halo. I was so excited, I said we should go ring shopping at the mall while we were there. We made an afternoon of it and found three types of rings I liked: a flower design that had petals and the diamond as the center piece, a three stone halo design, and the double halo design.
After that, I wondered when he would propose and how he would do it. I told him I wanted him to get an official approval from my father for my hand in marriage. I suspected that he would do that while we were in Chicago for Memorial Day weekend for our friend Scott’s wedding. I also suspected that he would propose then, but he didn’t.
Sometime in July, while we were planning the Europe trip, a few questions ran through my mind. I wondered when he would propose, whether or not he had a ring, how he would propose, etc… I mentioned to Logan I had lots of questions running through my mind but I didn’t want to ask because I didn’t want to know the answer. Logan wanted me to ask so I asked. He just smiled and said he wouldn’t answer.
He proceeded to ask me, “Would you be upset or disappointed if you expected me to propose but I didn’t?” I told him that I thought he would propose back in May, but I wasn’t upset. The answer to his question was no – I wouldn’t be upset.
As we were planning the Europe trip, I thought that he would propose in Europe. It was a perfect time to propose, like the city of love, but I also remembered his question about being disappointed if he didn’t propose. I didn’t even know if he had bought a ring. He also mentioned that we should go back to El Gaucho, a fancy steakhouse back in Seattle, because the service was excellent and food was delicious. I suspected if he didn’t propose in Europe, he would propose back in Seattle when we went out to a fancy restaurant.
As we were packing for Europe, he saw my purple dress that I just bought in Chicago. He was really excited I had a purple dress because he had a purple shirt and a purple tie to match. Then he mentioned that we could wear them to a restaurant he made a reservation in Paris. When he mentioned that he made a reservation in Paris, I suspected that he made a reservation at a fancy place to propose.
My suspicions were confirmed the day of the proposal. After we (finally) found the hotel, we both showered and got ready to go out. As he was dressing up, he asked me to run a couple errands and I figured he wanted to have some time alone to prepare his thoughts and organize things, like where to put the ring.
When I came back from grabbing his pants from the car with his pants and coat, I found the contents from his luggage bag all over the bed. It looked like he was searching for something: something too small to see without emptying the contents of his carry-on. He was also very excited to see that I brought up his coat and was very insistent on bringing the coat.
We headed out and were walking around Paris. Every five minutes or so he would check his left and right jacket pocket and have his jacket on the arm opposite of the one I was holding. One could think that he was be cautious, but today he was being extra cautious. I assumed there was a box waiting in one of the pockets for me.
All day, especially at dinner, he looked at me like he was rehearsing something in his head. I imagined he was trying to figure out or rehearse what he would say when he proposed. During dinner he was very quiet and only eating half his meal. He looked nervous. I asked him if he was feeling alright and he blamed his appetite on the two coffees we had that day. I held his nerves responsible.
After dinner we walked towards Notre Dame. As we crossed the bridge, he put his arm around me – something we usually don’t do while we walk. We usually just hold hands. Like a tourist, I just wanted to take pictures. But Logan seemed like he didn’t want to stop and wanted to get to a specific place at a specific time.
We got to a balcony and he held me in his arms, just looking at me. He positioned me so I was square with him, fumbled around his jacket pockets, looking for something. He finally found what he was looking for, got down on his right knee, opened the gray box, and asked with a quivering voice, “Janis, will you marry me?” He was so nervous. I waited to see if he was going to say anything else, but it was a simple question. I said yes and he jumped to his feet and gave me a hug. I looked to my left to see a stranger taking a photo. I thought it was weird that she was taking a picture of random people getting proposed to, but maybe she just wanted a picture of love in Paris.
Anyway, after we hugged, I realized he didn’t put the ring on me. I pointed to the ground where he knelt and I said, “You should get on one knee again and put the ring on.” So Logan got on one knee, less nervous than before, and put the ring on – a perfect fit. It was the double halo ring with a princess cut. Beautiful.
Afterward, we walked around to Notre Dame, the Seine river bridges, and the Louve to take pictures. I couldn’t stop looking at the ring.