On May 7th 2016, just a little over a week ago, Peter proposed to me and I said yes. It was one of the best days of my life.
I wasn't expecting it at ALL. We have been together for six and a half years and marriage has always been something we've spoken about. "When we get married" this and "If we go married" that. It has always been on the cards but I couldn't have been more surprised when he actually popped the question.
I think that was the best part of the whole experience. It takes a lot to surprise me. I am the planner of the relationship. The organizer and the perpetual list-maker. To keep something like this from me and manage to pull off such a surprise was so special.
For the entire day I had no clue that something so special was about to happen. We had planned this "date day" for weeks. I had been harping on about going to Afternoon Tea together and one day Peter suggested we get the Groupon voucher that he came across. It was €35 for two people to have afternoon tea in The Morrison Hotel in Dublin. Great price. Before we knew it we had bought the voucher (OK, so he did) and we booked it in for 7th May. Afternoon Tea is a day-time thing, hence it becoming a Date Day. People mentioned to us that having a day-time date is a lovely thing to do every now and then when you are parents. Mostly because you are both awake enough to appreciate the time together, the experience and to actually stay awake during it.
Date Day was much anticipated because Peter had been away twice in April. Once to visit my brother in Germany and once to a stags in Liverpool. I had booked London for mid-May (he couldn't really argue having been away twice himself now could he?) so we wanted something to look forward to together. We try to have a monthly date night but this was something a bit different. We arranged for Peter's parents to take Billy for the day and we made plans to enjoy our afternoon tea and spend the day having drinks in various bars, strolling in to Iveagh Gardens (as I had never been) and finishing it all off with some kind of delicious dinner in one of the many Irish restaurants we love. It was very exciting.
On Friday evening, the night before Date Day, Peter gave me a little surprise. He had bought me a voucher for Tropical Popical - a really cool nail salon on South William Street. I had been saying for months that I wanted to go and I couldn't believe how thoughtful it was. He knew I had planned to get my nails done before London the following weekend so he went and booked this as a special treat. I was over the moon. The appointment was for 1pm and that is where our not so little date day began.
We got the DART in to town for 1pm and I toddled in to Tropical Popical for my appointment while Peter had a pint (or three) in Sinnots around the corner. I met him there after and was delighted with my nails. I decided to have a quick bowl of soup in Sinnots because I was starving .(FYI we had been up with Billy from 4am which was apparently a time that he felt was totally acceptable to start the day, It's always when you have plans isn't it?). The coconut filled with Lilt was the only thing I had consumed all day (nice touch by the way guys).
Afternoon Tea was booked for 3pm. We arrived and the atmosphere in The Morrison Hotel was lovely. I'll admit, it was mostly groups of girls but I reassured Peter that there were other couples in the distance (a white lie). The food itself was gorgeous. A glass of Prosecco, gorgeous coffee and enough sandwiches, scones and desserts to feed four people. There were things I couldn't even try because I was so full. Each thing was more delicious then the last. The highlights for me were the Parma Ham and Relish sandwich which was on some kind of brioche bread, followed by the little pot of Mango custard/mousse which was out of this world. We really enjoyed our afternoon.
The beauty of Date Day was the fact that nothing was set in stone in terms of our plans. We ended up having a drink in the Octagon Bar in The Clarence Hotel when The Vintage Cocktail Club had told us they had no table available (whatever). It was then that Peter mentioned The Iveagh Gardens again. "I wonder does it have a closing time?". I checked on my phone and the website told me that it closed at 6pm. It was now 5.10pm and I said we would leave it till another time when we had Billy with us. "Ah no, we'll go. It's so nice out". Before we knew it we were downing our drinks and hopping in a taxi to the park. Now, to read this you might be thinking that I had an idea that something was about to happen. I can assure you I didn't. Some of you will relate to this but when you are not expecting a proposal it is the last thing on your mind. Everything about the day so far had been romantic, spontaneous and exciting. This was just another element of that as far as I was concerned. We arrived at the park and we were both giddy (from the Prosecco and wine). We spent a good thirty minutes walking around the park (and looking for a statue of a famous poet that didn't actually exist but Peter had told me about to lure me there. The man knows I am a poet nerd).
Soon it was time to leave. The park ranger was ringing his bell to signal the park's closing any moment. I won't go in to the details of how exactly he proposed but I will say that it was beautiful, romantic and involved a water fountain that on this particular day had no water flowing, some wishes made and a really perfect string of sentences that involved, most importantly, my Dad. My Dad is currently not well and a big part of the proposal was about how he knew how important it was for me to have my Dad walk me down the aisle. He had been to my Dad's house five weeks before asking for his blessing. They had a chat and my Dad was honoured and delighted. The fact that all of this happened and I had no idea really meant the world for me. The things he said to my Dad and the fact that he was so considerate and respectful meant more than anything. I'll stop there or we'll all be crying, OK?
The ring itself is beyond beautiful. It was two sizes two big. One of the weird things about losing weight. I only ever really wore one ring. A ring my mam bought me for my 16th birthday. For ten years I have worn it with pride and many people have mistaken it for an engagement ring in photos. I always wore it on that finger as it fit best. A month previous the ring fell off my finger and I had to stop wearing it. My fingers shrank and I couldn't risk losing it. I packed it away in a little box as a keepsake. Little did I know that a month later it would be replaced by an engagement ring. It feels like a really lovely sequence of events and I kind of thing it was all meant to happen that way. It made my Mam part of the "giving me away" almost.
The lovely park ranger in Iveagh Gardens took a photo of us and he couldn't have been any nicer. We then went to Sophies which is the rooftop bar of The Dean Hotel (right by the entrance to Iveagh Gardens) and celebrated with some overpriced and delicious cocktails. The rest of the night involves more wine, singing "he liked it so he put a ring on it" while walking (embarrasing Peter) down Camden Street and rounding it all off with delicious food in Crackbird and a quick drink with my sister and her boyfriend. I fell asleep in the taxi home and woke up on Sunday morning wondering had it all been a dream.
I couldn't wait to show Billy my ring. He was more interested in my manicure (which is gorgeous, to be fair). I told him that we are all going to be getting married and he smiles every time I say it.
As for the wedding? Well who knows, but ideally I would love it to be within the year. I am not a big white wedding person but I'd love to celebrate our special day in a meaningful (and fun) way. It won't be in a church and it will involve delicious food, lots of dancing and many tears (from Peter no doubt).
I don't mean to be overly soppy, but I just have to say that I can't quite believe that I have been so blessed in this world. It's an overused word but I am blessed. To meet someone on this earth that makes you feel this way.... it takes my breath away. I look at my beautiful son and my fiancé (LOVE saying that word) and it puts everything in to perspective. It has been a difficult few months with a lot of bad news and grief but this news has brought so much joy to all of our lives. That is the real magic. The best part. The thing that makes him the one.
Labels: date day, Dublin, engaged, engagement, ireland, iveagh gardens, proposal