This is an invitation. No, it's a challenge. It is a challenge for all you young guys that follow my blog that are looking at some point in the future to get engaged. I am throwing down the gauntlet. When that day comes when you are to get engaged, I want you to beat my story.
Recently, I was sharing with a young guy about marriage. At some point in the conversation, we began to talk about how I got engaged. With excitement, I relived this memory that is almost 10 years old. We had a good time talking about all the details and how the story played out.
So if you want ideas, or are just curious, let me give you the quick version of a much longer story...
The Story: Years ago I told my girlfriend, Stephanie, that I had a conference to go to in New York. Thanks to the media department of the organization I work with, I even had a notebook made to show her the details about the "conference" that I would be attending. For my early morning flight, I asked her to take me to the airport.
Once at the airport, I gave her a poem, which ended with the very romantic line:
"Well that's about it, don't wait for a stork, would you like to go home, or come with me to New York?"
After a little nervous laughter, she agreed to come. She asked what she would wear, and I told her that half the clothes in my bag were hers, that a friend of hers had packed for her. As well, I assured her I had reserved two rooms for us for the weekend.
Little did she know that six of our close friends had flown out earlier that day to help me behind the scenes, reserving tables at restaurants, and getting everything in order.
We arrived in New York, dropped our bags off at the hotel we were staying, and went straight to walk around Times Square. While we were gone, the girlfriends of hers pulled out her dress, shoes, jewelry and such, and got it all ready on her bed in her room.
After returning from Times Square, we were greeted by the concierge with a note that I had planted with him earlier. It was a note I had asked my boss to write before the trip, offering to buy us dinner at a classic restaurant in New York, The Tavern on the Green.
We went back to our rooms to get ready. She immediately came back down to mine, wondering how all her stuff got set out. I told her I had tipped the concierge well, and asked him to take care of it. For whatever reason, she continued to believe me.
While we were eating dinner at The Tavern, our friends were outside, taking videos of us and getting ready for the big moment. I say eating, but I wasn't doing much of that. I was so nervous that my plan would be foiled in the middle. I wanted it all to work perfectly.
After dinner we walked out in Central Park, looking for a place to sit down to talk. I found the perfect place; a big rock about 20 feet off the main sidewalk. We sat down, and talked, for what seemed like eternity. That conversation was so weird, as I was stalling to make sure my "videographers" were in position. Finally, at the designated time, I did it.
For Steph and I, it was a big moment. I had never told her I loved her before, so when I said that, she knew something big was going on. (Crazy enough, she says to this day she had no clue we were getting engaged until I finally asked her.) As custom, I dropped to one knee and asked her to marry me.
She said yes.
After giggling for a few minutes we walked back out to the main road, at which time a big Ford Expedition stretch limousine pulled up. The driver got out and asked us if we were Kevin & Stephanie. After we confirmed who we were, he told us he was our driver for the evening.
We got in the limo, but we weren't alone. Steph couldn't believe it when she saw those 6 friends of ours already in it, super-excited that our plan had unfolded perfectly.
After that, we had a great weekend in New York, going to a Yankees game, a broadway musical, and to the Brooklyn Tabernacle on Sunday. After church we caught a plane back home, with great memories from the weekend.
The Video: Beginning - 1:02 - The story begins by showing our friends arriving to New York and getting ready for us.
1:03 - 3:58 - This shows our friends hiding out in my room, waiting for Steph and I to come back from Times Square. Once back, it shows me nervously reminding my friends how the night should unfold. (Complete with me explaining it in the bathroom to them with the shower on, in case Steph came back down to my room. We didn't want her to hear our voices..)
3:59 - 6:04 - Footage of us arriving, and then eating at the Tavern on the Green.
6:05 - 7:32 - Stealth footage from Central Park, where we got engaged.
7:33 - End - Beginning with the stretch limo, this shows parts of the rest of the weekend.
The Challenge: Again, for all you single guys, I challenge you to really plan a great, honoring way to get engaged. Your future wife will be glad you did. Key elements would be: pre-planned, surprise, involving friends, etc. You can join a growing list of guys who shoot me a quick email saying, "I'm going to beat your story." I would love it if you did. So would she.
For all of us married guys, the challenge still remains. For us, we need to continue giving our wives great stories of surprise and adventure - for the rest of our lives.
Beat my story. I really want you to.
If you liked this post, check out Kevin's personal blog, Following to Lead, where he regularly writes on following, leading, fostering and family.
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About Kevin East
Kevin East is the Executive Director of Family Matters. He and his wife Stephanie have five unbelievable kids, two of which they most recently adopted. If Kevin isn't busy with work or family, you'll probably find him in the woods near his house with a power tool. He writes at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
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