Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why I'll always think fondly of November 21

Mr. P and I decided to head up to Philly to cross some Christmas shopping off our list. While there, we planned to check out a few of our favorite places around Rittenhouse Square. It was a beautiful Saturday - warm and bright after so many dreary November days. Everyone else was out too. The city was filled with moms with strollers, city dogs out for a walk and families shopping.

We laid out a casual plan of attack for the day. Hit a few stores, grab a bite then load up on gelato before leaving the city. My perfect city day!

First stop was Hello World, a boutique where Mr. P sneakily found a birthday handbag years ago. I explored with purpose while he meandered. While we were stopped in front of the jewelry cases, I took it upon myself to point out all the different cuts of the costume jewelry, explaining with emphasis that the emerald cut is my favorite. He feigned ignorance.

Not finding much in the first store, we set off toward Rittenhouse Square.


There are so many stores nearby that I couldn't figure out which was closest. I was on shopping overload! When Mr. P asked which direction to head in as we approached the park, I still hadn't figured out where we were going and suggested a shortcut through the park would be a pretty diversion. The park was filled with people soaking up the glorious weather: couples stretched out on blankets, kids (sans coats) running circles around their parents, and dogs everywhere. The city had come alive with the energy typically reserved for the first warm day of spring.

Two young men were strumming guitars on the steps of the center pavilion while two toddlers danced and bounced to the music. Mr. P and I stopped to watch and listen to the music along with everyone else in the square. But we had places to go! I walked on, dodging the bouncing toddlers, but he wasn't beside me when I reached out my hand. Looking to my side, he wasn't there. I spun around and found him down on one knee with a ring in his outstretched hand... in the middle of everything.

All the noise and movement around us fell away (just like in the movies). I was stunned and rendered momentarily immobile and speechless. It was all a blur - a true whirlwind - so neither of us remember many details. I'm pretty sure he asked and I answered, but neither of us can confirm or deny it. (There was a bit of confusion when he grabbed my right hand, then left hand before he figured which hand was which...) Suddenly, the noise and movement were turned back up to 11 and I was acutely aware that we were standing in the middle of one of Philadelphia's busiest parks with who knows how many people watching. I had to sit down.


We found a park bench away from all the activity where I sat in disbelief at the ring and Mr. P. Still speechless. He asked if I could say yes again because he wanted to hear it, remember it. I apologized and said yes several times for good measure. Finding my voice, the first question was, "How?! We don't have any money!" (having just completed a significant bath renovation) quickly followed by a barrage of equally pressing questions.

To celebrate, we headed straight to our favorite little fermentation bar, Tria. The ring was stuck halfway and wouldn't go over the last knuckle, so every time we walked over a sidewalk grate, I cupped my hand. Once inside Tria, I must have read that familiar menu three times over, but nothing was comprehending. The waitress stopped by to get our drink order several times before Mr. P sheepishly explained, "She's in shock. She just got engaged." She stood still for a moment putting it together before a wide grin spread across her face and she offered congratulations to him then me. We toasted our future, and the soon-to-come chaos, over prosecco (me) and a Shiraz blend (him). The kind folks at Tria treated us to a second round of bubbly. My head was definitely spinning.

We waited a few hours to tell our families, preferring to spend those precious hours reveling in our new engagement. On the drive home, we schemed on a clever way to break the news to my mom. I kept the phone call breezy, casually explaining, "We went to Philly this afternoon, actually Rittenhouse. We walked around, shopped for Christmas gifts, stopped by the park, got engaged, grabbed a bite at Tria, got gelato..." Dead silence. Follwed by an incredulous "What?!" that got louder and shriller each time she repeated it while we laughed conspiratorially in the background.

(All personal photos unless otherwise noted.)

Was your engagement a complete surprise? Where did your honey pop the question?


  1. Hello! I found your blog on Weddingbee and was just browsing through a couple of your more recent posts when I saw this one listed as a post I "might also like" and was shocked to learn we have the same engagement anniversary! Hard to believe it's already been almost a year, isn't it?! Happy planning!

  2. It feels like it should only have been 6 months, not 12. If it's any indication of how fast the next few months will go, the soon-to-be-Mr. and I have much to do.

    My cousin is getting married 8/13/11 too! (I swear next year is the year of weddings.)