Once upon a time, Michael was dating a girl who was a crazy planner. Not only did she plan just about everything for fun, but she was also a professional Wedding Planner.
Michael deserves some sort of award for not only putting up with all of my obsessive wedding talk and hours spent on Pinterest, but he deserves an award for all the thoughtfulness, time and energy he put into planning the perfect proposal! It takes a lot to out plan a planner… but he did it!
Here’s how it all went down:
We had been talking about getting married for several months. Michael even gave me permission to start planning, and to tell people we were “engaged to be engaged.” Whatever that means! I told him that was silly. Only crazy cat ladies actually start planning (and booking) their weddings without officially being engaged!
I went to a conference for wedding vendors in DC with one of my great college friends. On the way home we were talking about my “tentative” fall wedding. She informed me that she (a wedding photographer) was starting to book up in the fall, and she was concerned that she would book something on the day we were supposedly going to be getting married. I told her that I would talk to Michael… I too was getting worried, that if we wanted a fall wedding, places and vendors would be all booked up.
I met Michael for lunch when I got back to Newport News. I casually mentioned the conversation I had had with Katie… and how I was getting concerned. I timidly threw out the idea of us just going to look at a few venues… just so we were ready when we actually got engaged. I told him I had a few places in mind, but there was one venue that I absolutely LOVED… The Historic Chamberlin at Fort Monroe.
He calmly and casually said “Yeah, we could go check it out. I have been wanted to go see Fort Monroe and the historic museum there anyway.” (Which he really had been talking about for several weeks…) Testing the waters once again, I explained that I would have to call and make an appointment to tour the venue. Again, he agreed that it would be okay, even though we weren’t officially engaged.
Then he changed the subject and said “Oh, that Christmas present finally came in for you… want to come to my house and get it?” What girl doesn’t love presents!? It was an easy subject change! And I loved my NY Mets jersey that had David Wright’s number on the back, with my last name BENJAMINSON on the top!
Later that day I called The Chamberlin to set up an appointment. I found out that she still had a couple of dates available in November and got very excited. I told her that I was a local wedding planner, explained that I had seen the venue, but told her I wanted him to see the venue. She asked me what my fiance’s name was… I paused… trying to figure out if I should tell her that I was crazy and we weren’t engaged… or just play it off and spell out G-E-O…
I did what every crazy, non-engaged, wedding planner would do! I spelled his name, booked the appointment for Thursday at 4pm, hung up the phone, and danced around my room because my first choice venue was still available!
Thursday January 24 arrived! Michael was leaving for military work on Friday, so he told me that he had the day off. He just had to go into work in the morning to drop off all of his bags and help wrap up a few work issues. I planned to meet him at his house around lunch time and then we were going to head to explore Fort Monroe and the casement museum (ranked #3 on trip advisor’s ‘things to do on Hampton’s page! Which is why he really wanted to go.)
Of course it was the coldest day of the year. And we were planning to walk around a little island surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay. We toured the museum and wandered a bit. Then it was time to head to the Chamberlin for our appointment. I was sure to keep my left hand in my pocket as much as possible, just in case the lady called me out on where my ring was!
We toured the historic hotel… we saw the ballroom, some bridal suites, the lobby, the space for outdoor ceremonies and much more! I was asking my normal wedding planner questions, and would ask Michael a few things here and there to see what he thought. He didn’t really have all that much to say. To make me feel even worse, he really didn’t even seem to care we were there! My inner dialog went something like this… “He doesn’t want to be here. This was too soon. I shouldn’t have pushed him to come here. This is stupid.”
I asked the lady if we could see the rooftop solarium. I had had meetings there in the past and loved that room. It would be perfect for a rehearsal dinner and I wanted him to see it. She informed me that they were wrapping up a meeting and getting it prepped for a 50th anniversary dinner for two of the residents – but that we could sneak up there to check it out real quick. After going over the menu and the contract a bit (too thoroughly and slowly for my skill level… she was just dragging her feet!) it was time to go up to the rooftop before we headed out. We got into the elevator and Michael began playing with his cell phone. At this point I was really getting mad. This poor lady was doing her best to give us a great tour and not only was he not paying attention, but he was messing around with his cell phone!
When we got up to the room I saw the table set with champagne and flowers for the folks celebrating their 50th Anniversary. We stepped outside to look at the view, but it was so cold I just wanted to go back inside. The lady who was giving us the tour had a call on her walkie talkie. She said she needed to run downstairs real quick, that we should look around, and she would be right back up in a minute.
I looked at Michael and he is taking his coat off. I said in my sarcastic manner “What are you moving in?!” His response was “I’m just so hot. It was cold outside. But now I’m inside. And I’m hot.” Ummm ok.
I was looking around and noticed a present on the table! Here’s how the conversation went down…
Me: Michael look! A present! AND IT HAS MY NAME ON IT!
My Internal Thought Process: WOW! What great marketing! They have a gift for me! This is awesome. Bridal goodies so that I will have my wedding here! WOW She must have facebooked my company because the giftwrap is even purple and yellow. She must have known I went to JMU. Man this is awesome marketing!
Michael: Open it!
Me: NO! She hasn’t given it to me! You don’t open presents before they are given to you.
Michael: Well it has your name on it… you should open it.
Me: No. I’m not opening it until she gives it to me. That’s just rude.
At this point he has awkwardly pushed me in to the corner of the room with the present in his hand. I was trying to escape when he started to pull the tissue paper out of the bag!
Then I noticed a NY Mets jersey in the bag and immediately knew what was going on! But how?! (The jersey had HIS last name on it this time though!)
He got down on one knee and proposed. The ring had been in his pocket all day long!
My answer: YES! But how did this happen?! I don’t understand!!
He told me that he would explain it in a while, but first my sister was coming up to take pictures of us. Leslie said that as she was walking down the hallway to meet us all she could hear was me saying “I don’t understand!! I booked this appointment!! How did this happen!??!”
We had a few photos taken, then we had dinner at the private table that I was told was for the couple celebrating their 50th anniversary! It was for us all along! Champagne, flowers, dinner, and dessert! We had the whole room to ourselves! It was amazing!
Little did I know, not only was the Chamberlin Lady in on this the entire time, but Michael had been planning this for about a month! When I came home from DC and mentioned that we should go to The Chamberlin he freaked out! The plan would work after all!
Like I said… anyone who can out-plan a planner deserves an award. 🙂 It was such an amazing evening and will be a great memory for the rest of our lives!
|Private Dinner! The entire room was reserved just for us!|
|Calling friends (more specifically Jess – who was screaming)|
|Champagne, Flowers, Dinner, a Fiance!! It was terrific!|
|He done good… right ladies?! 🙂|
*Photos of us were taken by my lovely sister, Leslie Benjaminson www.LeslieBenjaminson.com