THE ULTIMATUM….
So, Beth and I moved in together. And of course, as a seriously dating couple you start to talk about your future. Specifically, she gave me an ultimatum: I had one year to pop the question.

The only problem was, I didn’t know anything about her preferences in rings!

So, over the summer, we started ring shopping. We would visit store after store, look at different styles and designs. She was less interested in the diamond, and more interested in the ring itself.

FAST FORWARD TO SEPTEMBER, 2012….
So I had wanted to pop the question on our anniversary, however Beth’s preferences in ring style had changed. So after getting a final assessment on her favorite designers, I finally settled on one and went to a jeweler we liked to start commissioning a custom ring.

The place was in Willmette, Il, which is not easy to get to without a car. So I made an appointment, and left work early one day to take a train there. Of course, it rained during my walk from the train station to the store, so I arrived late and soaking wet.

In that state, I picked out a diamond, and provided the photo references and notes to design the ring that I felt would make the perfect piece for Beth to wear forever.

THE DISTRACTIONS….
The store was going to need 4 weeks to build the thing, and then I had to get it insured. I also needed a plan for how to pop the question. But I had a few ideas on that….

Things were starting to come together, however there were two issues:

1) She was freaking out because she had no idea all of this was going on
2) She wanted me to ask her father for permission

Her freaking out was kind of funny, because I was doing all this work in the background without her knowledge. But I couldn’t reassure her. I couldn’t spoil the surprise. So I just said, “These things take time, love.”

Asking her father was no big deal. The guy likes me, and we get along pretty well. So I stole his cell number out of her phone and tried calling several times. The phone went straight to voice mail every time. For two weeks I kept trying to call the guy, leaving messages on the voice mail. But it would never ring. And I would never get a call back.

We also had several other distractions coming up, including a birthday / Halloween party, a wedding, and my actual birthday. I needed a plan of attack.

THE PLAN….
During the weekend of my birthday / Halloween party, the ring was completed. I needed a way to get up to the store and pick it up. Something that wouldn’t set off any alarms for Beth.

After thinking about it for a bit, I finally devised a plan of attack. I had a buddy coming in for the party who would be bringing his car. On the day of the party, I told Beth that we needed to “run some errands.” Instead, I had my friend drive me up to the store, and we picked up the ring.

We returned to the apartment (with the ring) and stashed it, not mentioning a thing to anyone at the party. We wanted to make sure it didn’t slip out accidentally from drunken lips.

The party went off without a hitch, and no one was the wiser to my plans. However, I still needed to get her father’s permission, and I still needed a romantic way to pop the question. I had settled on my birthday as the day I would do this (she would never see it coming), but all that gave me was a deadline. How to tie this all together.

Then I remembered our first date. How she told me where she had wanted to get proposed to. But how to get her to that location?

The answer was so simple: I was going to recreate our first date and propose on my actual birthday.

TO BE CONTINUED…