Proposal in Paris
I first met Anna, of The Yellow Table, in late 2011 at the Blogger Blitz event and she is absolutely lovely! I immediately became obsessed with her foodie blog and my hubs couldn’t have been happier with that! A few months ago Anna was celebrating her anniversary and on her blog she told the story of her proposal. My. Heart. Stopped. The thought, effort, and time her husband put into the proposal gave me swoon bumps for days. Bravo Brandon. Bravo.
I am cook, blogger, and food/travel writer and a die-hard francophile. I’ve been obsessed with France since I was a little girl and Paris is my favorite city in the world. I’ve lived there a few times, so Paris really has a special place in my heart. I just love travel, period, but there are many places I haven’t visited yet because I keep going back to Paris!! At the time that Brandon and I got engaged, I was working in Media Relations for the French Tourist Office, so I was traveling to France all the time. Which is part of the reason we got engaged there…
How did you meet?
We met in NYC four years ago, at our church, actually! A mutual friend had been trying to set us up for weeks–she was convinced we were going to get married even before we ever met! The night she met me for the first time, she texted Brandon and said “I just met your wife.” She takes full credit for setting us up and has made us promise to name our first daughter Jessica after her. Ha!
So the night we met, we ended up all going out to dinner with a bunch of people. I instantly thought he was really cute and then as we started talking I was like, “And he’s smart and interesting, too!!” We talked a lot about travel and books and music and I did not want the conversation to end! Funny enough, one of the things we talked about was Buenos Aires. He was thinking about going down with a friend and I was telling him what an amazing city it was. After that night’s dinner, he emailed me the next day and we started talking pretty regularly. Within two weeks, he had booked tickets to Buenos Aires for a quick trip with a guy friend and Jess, the girl who had set us up. They tried to talk me into going but I didn’t have the money and wasn’t sure I could take the time off work. I was working at a travel magazine at the time and MIRACULOUSLY, a few days later my boss told me she wanted me to do a Buenos Aires story for the upcoming issue and that I would need to go down there to report on it. I hadn’t mentioned anything to her about Brandon or his Buenos Aires trip. I about had a heart attack. I asked her later is I could go down the same dates as them and she said yes!! So my trip was paid for and I was able to meet up with them in Buenos Aires. What are the chances?! This was about 5 weeks after B and I had met, and even though I had a HUGE crush on him ever since we met, and we had been spending a lot of time together, I wasn’t sure yet how he felt yet. Let’s just say that being in Buenos Aires clarified things a bit :) The four of us had a ball together, exploring the city, eating late dinners, and learning to tango. By the time we got back to NYC, we were dating! And less than 2 years later, engaged. Now we’ve been married a year and a half and we are more in love than ever. I feel so, so blessed to have met such an amazing man.
Tell us your proposal story.
Two years ago today–on March 11, 2010–the greatest story of my life unfolded in an utterly surprising and beautiful way. For those of you who already know this story, forgive me for retelling it. For those of you who haven’t heard it, be encouraged: dreams absolutely can and do come true. The story involves my favorite place (Paris), my favorite person (Brandon), a gorgeous dress, a scavenger hunt, a bunch of red roses, a bridge, and a ring. Fairy tell stuff, right?The story took place on my 30th birthday. I was working for the French Tourist Office at the time, a job that involved frequent travel to France (rough, I know…!). Lucky for me, I had a business trip that was scheduled a few days after my birthday so the lightbulb went off in my head: why not avoid all the angst surrounding turning 30 and celebrate in Paris? I got the green light from my boss to move up my ticket a few days and then presented the idea to Brandon. We had been dating for nearly two years at this point and had been to Paris once together already. He loved the idea and said it would actually work out perfectly because he needed to go to London on business. He said he’d see if he could arrange his trip for the few days before my birthday and just take the train over to Paris to meet me. Perfect!
I proceeded to make all the plans (as I love to do): booked a hotel, made dinner reservations, made plans with my Parisian friends. Little did I know that Brandon was making plans of his own…
He gave me a present and a card before he left and told me not to open it until I landed in Paris, the morning of my birthday. I loved that I had a surprise to look forward to when I landed. A few days later, I landed and groggily opened my card. It said “Happy Birthday Love! Today is a big day and I want you to use your gift to document our big adventure.” (Big adventure?! What did he have in mind??) The card continued: “Your driver will be downstairs to meet you. See you later today!” ?! What?? Driver?? Oh my gosh. I opened the present and it was a little handheld video camera that just said “Push Play.” I did, and there was a little message from Brandon, telling me he loved me and that I should use this to document my special day. I burst into tears…how in the world had he planned all of this? And what did he have in store?My head was buzzing with ideas and thoughts and excitement. Could he possibly be… No, no, no I told myself. He’s not proposing. We had definitely talked about marriage and knew we wanted to one day, but I knew he hadn’t talked to my dad yet and we had a trip planned to visit my parents the following month. So I put all engagement thoughts aside and decided to just focus on this elaborate birthday surprise he had in store.
I headed down to get my luggage, and sure enough, there was a driver with a little Mlle WATSON sign waiting for me. It was all completely surreal. I hopped in the car, and off we went! I had no idea where we were headed and the driver said he wasn’t allowed to tell me! I settled back for 45 minutes until we began winding our way through the narrow streets of Paris. We finally ended up in the Marais and pulled up in front of the adorable Hotel du Petit Moulin (a place I had been dying to visit for years!).
The hotel staff whisked away my luggage and took me up to my room. The rest of the story is recorded in this amazing video, filmed and edited by Victor Paguia. (Who, I later found out, Brandon had flown over to secretly document the whole story! His then-girlfriend, now fiancee, Becky Shim took the beautiful pictures.) Basically, Brandon had planned an elaborate scavenger hunt all over Paris to my favorite spots (and all places we had been together). Each spot I visited (mostly restaurants, since I am such a foodie!), the waiter or cafe owner would hand me a red rose and a clue and I would have to figure it out to go to my next spot. It was all so, so incredible.
All in all, this was–aside from my wedding day–the most magical day of my life. The video still brings tears to my eyes. That this amazing man loved me enough not only to want to spend the rest of his life with me, but that he knew me well enough to want to give me a great story.One other little detail that the video doesn’t share was that Brandon had, in fact already talked to my parents. While I was traveling for work that January, he had secretly flown down to Nashville to talk to my parents and ask their blessing. They gave it readily, and kept it all a secret for six weeks until we were engaged. So the whole day when I was going on this amazing scavenger hunt (to all my favorite spots in Paris!) I kept telling myself, don’t expect a proposal, don’t expect a proposal…
Of course the story is only beginning. Six months after our Parisian engagement we were married in NYC, and that was another grand story in itself. But it will have to be a story for another time!
Thank you for sharing, Anna!
Wedding photo by: Eric Ryan Anderson