Broke-Ass Tag: engagement


BABs, can you believe it?! It’s officially been a year since we got engaged. Between wedding fervor, busy summers and the craziness of the holidays, I feel like it’s totally flown by. It has also occurred to me that I haven’t shared the story of how we got engaged!

The whole week leading up to our engagement, I was trying to nail down plans for the weekend, but he was being unusually noncommittal. He’d shrug when I’d ask him what he thought of going out to dinner or seeing a movie. By Friday night I started to get really impatient. He finally told me that we had dinner reservations, and we were staying at a hotel Saturday night. I remember thinking it was rather extravagant for a random weekend in March, but obviously I wasn’t about to complain.

The next afternoon, we packed overnight bags and headed to the hotel. It’s an absolutely gorgeous hotel called the Iron Horse, and he reserved a beautiful corner room. We got ready to go out and called a cab to take us to the restaurant. We were a little early, so we walked around the neighborhood a little, stopping at another restaurant for a drink before dinner.

Let me preface what happened next by telling you that by this point in our relationship, any mention of a house, or a dog or any future-y thing, prompted a slightly snarky, “well, not unless there’s a ring on my finger” from me. Turned out there were quite a few of these future-y things brought up that night over dinner, and it has been brought to my attention that I might’ve been getting a little sassy about not wanting to talk further about this stuff without a ring.

After dinner, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk since the restaurant was along the riverwalk in downtown Milwaukee. It doesn’t get very warm in Wisconsin in March, especially not in the late evening. I remember it being about 35 degrees and windy. So no, I really didn’t want to go for a walk, but he was really pulling out all the stops to be romantic, so I thought I’d suck it up for a little bit.

We do this thing when it’s cold out but still want to hold hands. He’ll take my hand and put it in his jacket pocket to keep it warm. I asked him if we could share his pocket, and he told me “not right now.” I think that’s the moment when I knew something was going on. He would’ve never denied me pocket space.

A little ways down the riverwalk, he stops me and tells me how he can’t picture his life without me, and would I marry him? You know how people sort of talk about getting married before they actually get engaged? That’s what I thought was happening, since we hadn’t really spoken the words officially, so I was like, “Yes, of course!” He then asked me if I pinky swore. And again, I said yes, and went to lock pinkies, and the engagement ring was around his little finger. Turns out the ring had been in his pocket, and that’s why he didn’t want to share pockets while we walked.

First: Adorable. Second: That was super risky on a riverwalk on a cold windy night. That thing could’ve been knocked out of his pinky and be at the bottom of the Milwaukee River right about now.


Once I stopped my uncontrollable giggling, we promptly walked back to the restaurant, eyes permanently locked on each other, and waited for a cab to take us back to the hotel, where we celebrated at the hotel bar for a while.

I think all I’ve ever wanted from a proposal was for it to be a surprise, and for the ring to be something he picked out himself. Both of which came true. It’s still crazy to think that our whole worlds changed that night.

Did any other BABs know their proposal was coming, or was it a surprise?

  • 12/16

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewIt’s “Engagement Season” again, and with each passing year there are more and more articles on the latest trends in proposals. Unfortunately, most of the articles are written for men who want to propose, with scant few words spent on us ladies want to do the asking; I was one of those BABs.

    Real Bride Emily's Engagement Picture

    Maren Cotton Photography

    We were ready — my boyfriend and I had talked about marriage extensively and I knew he was getting the ducks in a row, the last one strapped with an engagement ring on its tailfeather. I’m a modern woman, in a modern relationship — it was time to lock that down. But, I felt very alone in the lady-proposing forest. Between the lack of articles and a a few centuries of tradition telling me otherwise, it was tough going. Turns out tradition just means “old”; since my engagement, I have met plenty of married women who have shared that they also popped the question. This is for all those BABs who need a reminder: Do what you want!

    Logistics?  No need to sweat it, I’ve got your back. Just follow these simple steps:

    1. Decide you want to propose
      Beware! Even though we no longer live in the 1950s, many, many people will question the decision of a woman proposing to a man. I told one close friend about my plan and she said “I just don’t understand how that can work.” I did, and it did. Stay strong, ladies!
    2. Let the important people know
      I decided to ask his parents for their blessing (and to pep me up for the big ask!).  I also ran it by his best friend to test the waters in a moment of doubt.  It’s important to talk to people who will give you clear advice and be cheerleaders for you on this mission.
    3. Make a plan that suits your partner
      My fella is more into grand romantic gestures than me, so I decided to take a page from his book. I planned for Third Thursday at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (a favorite museum of ours) where they serve beer, host bands and have a photobooth. It combined our favorite couple spot, a fun “us” event (we take a yearly photobooth picture) and two things we both love: bands and booze. The proposal doesn’t need to be expensive to be grand, and remember ladies: guys have feelings and memories too — they aren’t trout.
    4. Be completely unlike your usual self and keep the plan a secret
      This is seriously the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My fella had no clue and I was bursting with excitement because I KNEW I was going to be engaged soon and wanted to start planning and picking out dresses and … Don’t. Tell. Him. Seriously, DON’T TELL HIM! I made it, but barely.
    5. Get a ring (or not)
      For you, for him, for whomever! Part of the fun of bucking tradition is there are no rules. I decided to be traditionally untraditional: I had inherited a gorgeous engagement ring and was excited to start showing it off!  
    6. Seriously BAB, you’re so close! Don’t give up
      This is where all the doubts and worries kicked into high gear. Was he going to think I “stole his thunder,” like all the well-intentioned but bad advice was telling me? In a moment of weakness, I emailed his BFF (See point 2) and asked what he thought. His reply: “Fella will think this is great!” was the immediate response. And with that I was back on track. Keep calm and stick to your plan!
    7. Ask him already!
      For all the planning in the world, it didn’t play out quite like I envisioned, but it was still magical. My plans went comically awry when we got to the art museum and I realized it was the opening of a DEVO exhibit. My fella, being totally clueless of my intentions, rushed straight past the Asian Art section I had carefully chosen for THE moment and directly into a large crowd gathered around a video of Crack That Whip. After an hour of lego hats and ping-pong paddles, two-headed cars and ever increasing nervousness, I grabbed his arm and pulled him into the closest empty gallery. I forgot my entire script and just asked.

    And … he said yes!

    Use his pets for backup if needed (her yes was my ticket!)

    There you have it — how to magically change your boyfriend into a Broke-Ass-Groom in 7 easy steps. Stay strong, follow your heart and remember: The only rule is that in 2015 there are no rules!
    Now if I could just find some “He said yes!” banners … (Psst: Christen used her Google-fu and found a print!)

  • 12/1

    Engaged Metallic Banner Etsy AlexisMattoxDesign

    Metallic Banner by Etsy seller AlexisMattoxDesign Yay! You're engaged! Welcome to the wide world of Wedding Land. It can be a little scary and a lot fun (and don't worry, we're here to help you through all of it), but before we even delve into All Things Wedding, let's take it slow, boo. Getting engaged and being afficanced is this magical world between being coupled…

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    Love must be in the air: Between my graduate school cohort, the assistant lecturers with whom I share an office, and my Facebook news feed, I think I’ve seen about 10 engagements, six weddings, three babies, and one vow renewal in the last month alone. All this love and excitement lately has me feeling a little nostalgic; as a person who had a Pinterest board full…

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    100 Engagement Rings Under $1000

    BABs, let's talk rings. Yeah, that ring. As Broke-Asses, we typically like for our ring to match our lifestyle -- classy but savvy, fun but smart, stunning but brilliant. And that means finding the most bang for your buck with that all-important engagement ring. You know what you like, now you just have to find the one that makes the most sense for your taste…

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  • 10/27

    Real Bride Emily's Engagement Ring

    Since becoming a BAB, perhaps the most surprising part of the process is just how many opinions there are. Opinions, and sometimes unsolicited critiques. You have the pressure from the wedding industry to buy more and more, only to come away feeling like it’s still not a “real wedding” if you don’t have everything they say you need. You have people who are close to…

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    Emily Engagement Selfie

    I never thought I'd ever be a Broke-Ass Bride. I expected when I got married it would be an awesome, fun, nontraditional party for our friends and family, but I've never been great at DIY, crafting, negotiating or thrift shopping. In January, my super hot, smart, amazing boyfriend was starting his own business. I had taken a big pay cut for what I thought was a step…

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    Fiances at Fenway

    Hey there, fellow brides! I'm super excited to join The Broke-Ass Bride team to share my experiences as a Real Bride Blogger, specifically about how I'm creating a wedding dress to wear for the big day. That's right -- I'm sewing my wedding dress from scratch. A little bit about me: I met my one and only, Chris, about four years ago when I started…

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  • 4/10

    Up to this point, my and Daniel’s wedding planning has revolved around proposed dates, hypothetical decorations, and just plain uncertainty. However, this is all about to end. Right now, we are elbow-deep in paperwork, but in just a few weeks, on April 8th, Daniel will have his interview with the U.S. Consulate in Sydney, Australia. He will either leave that interview with an approval, at…

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