By Nicole Amaral
Hello readers of Aisle Say!
My fiance, Rob, and I got engaged on June 30th of this year, and I’m excited to be sharing this wedding planning adventure with you. Rob and I jumped right into planning and spent this past summer touring venues around Rhode Island, and settled on a Spring 2021 wedding at the Hotel Viking in Newport. At this point, if I had to describe our ideal wedding aesthetic, it would be something along the lines of “fancy yet nerdy.” Can’t wait to see how that shakes out in the coming months! But first, an introduction….
The first time I spoke to Rob was on a rainy day in November 2015, and we were about to run a road race, the Mews Tavern 6.9K. I am not a runner, and was only doing this because all my friends were doing it, and they said that the food and beer afterwards would be worth the run (it was). As we were all standing around before the race, I recognized Rob as the guy my friend Kelly was thinking of setting me up with. He was a friend of her friend from work, and had recently moved to Rhode Island from Maryland. I made an unremarkable effort at conversation before the race began, but didn’t see him again afterwards.
The second time was three months later, in February, at Kelly’s surprise birthday gathering at the Dorrance in downtown Providence. I had carefully rehearsed this interaction in my head; I knew what I would do and say should he arrive before me (a tap on the shoulder, or a small wave and an, “Are you here for Kelly’s party?”) and what I would do and say should he arrive after me (this was the ideal situation… I’d casually wave him over, and already be drinking a sophisticated whiskey cocktail). What I had not thought to rehearse was what would happen should he arrive at exactly the same time as me.
Our Uber pulled up to the door, and I was the first to step out. Immediately, I saw him, approaching from the right, mere feet away.
“You!” I blurted out. “You’re with us!”
He stared blankly at me. “I don’t think so?”
I froze, and not just because it was February, and we were outside. He looked resplendent in a gray suit, and maybe that’s why my brain decided to short-circuit and rather aggressively assert that he was “with us.” Of course, he didn’t recognize any of us from the two-minute conversation we’d shared at the race three months ago. I’d later find out that he thought this group of loud girls attempting to recruit him was a bachelorette party or something, and he’d tentatively declined, knowing that he was supposed to find the surprise party. Luckily, from somewhere behind me, one of my friends said, “Kelly’s party?” and he realized that he was, in fact, with us.
After obtaining the Old Fashioned I’d promised myself, I managed to get over feeling awkward, and Rob and I talked for the rest of the night. I invited him to my own birthday party the following weekend, and the rest, as they say, was history.
Three years, one house renovation, and two cats later, we were on a weekend getaway to Philadelphia. We’d spent a delightfully nerdy day at the Museum of the American Revolution, followed by cheesesteaks in the park. We had dinner reservations that evening at one of our favorite restaurants, Parc. On our way out, we asked the concierge of our hotel (the lovely and historic Morris House) if she wouldn’t mind taking our picture in the courtyard.
I should say that Rob had picked out a beautiful vintage 1950s engagement ring about three months prior to the trip (and had shown it to me so we could get it sized), so I knew something was coming at some point. If anything, I thought a proposal would happen during dinner. So Rob handed the concierge his phone, and we posed in front of an arbor at the far end of the courtyard. She took a couple of photos, then tried to hand the phone back to Rob.
“Actually, could you take one more?” he said, and got down on one knee.
Much like that night in front of the Dorrance, every meaningful thing I’d rehearsed to say in that moment evaporated from my brain. But I at least managed to say the most important thing, which was, of course, “Yes.”
Until next time…