Monday, February 9, 2009

John and Jennie's Engagement Story

My fiancé John loves a party and loves his family. He and I share a bond there as we both are blessed with great families who are fun and with whom we truly enjoy spending time. As his birthday approached last September, he suggested that we make it a big, fun family affair at a new restaurant downtown, Fogo de Chao. He invited his parents, siblings, his aunt and uncle, and a couple of his buddies. He also asked my parents and my two sisters to attend. It seemed perfectly logical to me we had been and the atmosphere at the restaurant is definitely conducive to a celebration with a large group. We shared some cocktails and planned to make it a long leisurely dinner on a Friday night. On the way to the restaurant, John was kidding around and announce that I was “his” to which I replied, “You don’t own me-there ain’t no ring on this finger!” which is a line from an Eddie Murphy HBO stand up comedy show we had recently watched at John’s house. When we arrived we all had cocktails and ordered several bottles of wine and everyone was in a “festive” mood. As it was a first meeting for some of our extended family and friends, John told me he thought he would make a toast and thank everyone for coming. Atypical for him, a guy whose low-key, laid-back charm is one of his most appealing qualities to me, he seemed nervous and was talking very fast. He thanked everyone, but then said something about being an only child (he has a brother and a sister) and continued rambling about his great life but not really having a point to his comments. He even called everyone “scumbags” for all the cards he received that slammed him for getting old (it was his 27th birthday)! At that point I was hoping he would shut up and sit down ASAP. Suddenly, he said “I need to do this right now!” and he turned to me. “Jennie,” he began as everyone in our section of the crowded restaurant watched, “You are the hardest person in the world to surprise. I know that this setting may not be the most romantic that I could have dreamed up, but I know how much you love your family and you know how much I love mine. I thought my birthday, with all our family at our sides, was the perfect time to ask you to be my wife.” He got down on one knee and in very shaky hands held out a folded piece of paper with an engagement ring laying on it. “Jennie, will you marry me?” John says he doesn’t think I ever answered but just nodded as the tears were flowing throughout the room and everyone applauded and cheered (at all the tables!) and he placed the gorgeous ring he had selected on my finger. We kissed and hugged and I had the joy of looking up into the faces of the people who love me and John the most and getting to share my happiest moment with all of them. The crying and cheering and toasting went on for several more minutes followed by lots family photos. The rest of the evening was a delicious memorable one with the unique atmosphere of Fogo de Chao setting the perfect backdrop for a once-in-a-lifetime event. None of us wanted the evening to end. Some brides might long for that romantic “alone” moment for their engagement but one thing I truly love about John is that he lets me know I come first in his life but that family is the next most important thing to him, both my family and his own. We are blessed!

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