It's been 2 weeks since we got engaged! (& no, I hadn't expected a thing that day)
We were going on a hike date with Chico and two of our friends here in Charlotte (Christina & Blair) to Crowders Mountain. We'd never gone before, but it was often a recommended place to go for a day trip as it's only 45 minutes outside of Charlotte. We were hosting a Super Bowl watch party at our place that evening, so before we left to pick up our friends we were running around the apartment trying to be sure it was presentation-ready when we returned.
Little did I know that Kalvin was trying to propose on that hike. He was trying to get the ring out of the safe before we left. I was bopping in and out of the rooms cleaning, so he ended up not grabbing it out of concern that he'd get caught. About 5 minutes into our drive, I realized that I didn't put on my Garmin watch (everyone knows it doesn't count if you don't track it...) so I was frustrated. He offered to turn around and grab it for me so he could also grab the ring while I was in the car. Clever.
The hike was about 2 miles each way. The last 1/4 mile of it is pretty steep, with lots of stairs as well. Blair got a burst of energy near the end and started jogging the rest of the way up. Kalvin saw an opportunity to fill him in on his plan, and quickly trekked behind him. Christina and I willingly hung back and continued walking the rest of the way. As they got separated from us, Kalvin asked Blair to help him capture the proposal. Blair texted Christina to loop her into the plan as well.
We got to the top of the mountain where we set up some charcuterie and drank beer/seltzer (courtesy of Christina, the charcuterie master). We sat at the top of the mountain taking in the view for about 30 minutes when Kalvin said "let's get some pictures!" This wasn't a huge tell for me. Kalvin sometimes reminds me that we need to take pictures at certain events and things, so I didn't think anything of it. Christina & Blair took a few pics for us, then I offered to take some for them. Kalvin pulled me back in front of him and got down on one knee with his hand in his pocket. Aaaaand I cried out of complete surprise and happiness. Needless to say, I said yes. Well, technically I said "of course!" but that still counts lol.
The last few months I had told Kalvin that he wasn't sneaky, and that I was going to know when he was going to propose. The kicker here is that the day before he proposed, I went to go get some money out of the safe and he rushed past me saying "I can get it for you!". I stood there and smiled and said "you're being awfully protective of the safe" and smirked because I knew it was in there, and I told him he needed to be more sneaky. Well, he got me lol.
The Ring Process:
I feel like everyone has that one part of a wedding that they want to give extra attention to. For most, it's the wedding dress. I've heard of those dress designers that work with you to custom create the dress, down to the detail of every button. Which is amazing! I love that we are able to make the creation of something so beautiful such a detailed process. This is what it was like for us to design my engagement ring.
Kalvin and I designed the ring together. Originally, I was given my grandmother's engagement ring when she passed away, because I'm the last of the girls in my family that isn't married. I held on to the ring for a while, but ultimately decided it just didn't suit me. It was silver and had more of a floral vibe to it, which just wasn't what I was going for. I humbly gave the ring back to my mom, and my aunt offered to give me a pair of my grandmother's earrings she had instead. It had/has about 50 small diamonds in them that gave room for a lot more creativity.
While researching I saw one picture of a ring with a circle diamond set inside an oval halo that I fell in love with. The uniqueness yet simplicity that it encompassed was the perfect balance. As I kept scanning through hundreds of images, I kept going back to that design. Kalvin and I decided we would begin designing the ring together, but I wouldn't get to see the final product until he popped the question.
We made a reservation back in mid-2019 with Austin Diamond Room. When we walked in, we were greeted with a shelf full of wine and liquor to allow us to wind-down while we looked for inspiration and spoke with the ring designer. Although we didn't get to see any circle diamonds with oval halos specifically, we got to try on a few different styles to be sure that the look I was thinking I wanted was for sure what I would like. The first step was to pick out the diamond, which Kalvin did on his own. We looked at quite a few together, and he taught us all of the ins and outs of diamonds.
Fun fact: we decided to use a lab-grown diamond! A lab-created diamond is “grown” inside a lab using technology that replicates the natural diamond growing process. It's chemically, physically, and optically the same as those grown beneath the Earth's surface, but for a fraction of the cost. I toyed with the idea of not even using a diamond, and finding another stone instead, but we decided to be a little basic and traditional.
Once the diamond was selected, Kalvin gave the designer the earrings to pull the diamonds from. He then worked on a 3D mock up to get more of an idea what the ring would look like. We originally planned to use my grandmother's diamonds for the band AND the halo, but after seeing a sketch of the ring, we decided to go with smaller diamonds for the halo. Once Kalvin saw a design that he liked and he thought I would like, he approved for casting.
Needless to say I LOVE my ring. It is exactly what I was envisioning in my head. I love that Kalvin and I got to do the process together, while still keeping the element of surprise since I didn't get to see the final product until he was down on one knee. I find great sentiment in jewelry. It means so much more to me that it has a piece of my family in it, and I'll hold on to it forever. If you've ever considered designing a ring, definitely look into it.
Let the Planning Begin:
Now for the fun part. Planning things is my JAM. Thankfully we have quite a few friends who are recently or soon-to-be married, which means many opportunities to learn from others. For those who have planned (or are planning) a wedding... what was one big thing that you did to cut back on unnecessary spending?