I suppose it was a little spontaneous on my part (after dating someone for seven years I suppose you can’t really call it spontaneous), but two weeks before we went to Italy I decided it was time for me to lock up this wonderful woman before she got too tired of waiting for me. I was incredibly surprised how easy the idea felt to me once I decided I was going to propose. I don’t know what I expected; more nervousness, second guessing, cold feet, but I didn’t feel any of those things. If anything I was so excited to propose that I had the hardest time not just asking her before we left.
I picked up the ring from the jeweler on Monday with very little thought on how I was going to propose. My initial concept was to propose in St. Peter’s. In my head this felt right. I believe marriage to be a very spiritual union and what better place than in St. Peter’s and the Vatican to begin that process?
We arrived in Rome early Thursday morning and once settled into our apartment, which was only two blocks from St. Peter’s, we decided to go to the Vatican right away. I, of course, brought the ring with me in my bag, but didn’t know what to expect once we got there. The Vatican and St. Peter’s are beyond words. If you haven’t been there, no description, no photo, no video will make you understand how incredible this place is. But once we were inside St. Peter’s, and aside from its beauty and grandeur, I didn’t feel that this was the place I wanted to propose. It was so crowded and noisy. It seemed more like a train terminal than a church. The feelings just weren’t there.
This changed things quite a bit because I hadn’t really thought about a second option. There were of course the gondola’s in Venice, but it would be over a week before we made it to Venice and I wanted her to be able to enjoy her ring for as long as possible while we were in Italy.
The following evening we decided to take the Metro to the Spanish Steps. With the ring in my bag I was prepared for the moment if it came about. Have you been to the Spanish Steps? At night? It is like a carnival. The steps are covered with young people and the street is full of people trying to take pictures and people selling every conceivable tourist gimmick. So no to the Spanish Steps. We decided to wander the streets for a while, and thanks to the iPhone, we soon came across Trevi Fountain. I can still remember that I heard the crowd of people before I saw them. Trevi Fountain was worse than the Spanish Steps. We pushed our way through the crowds and got photos of us in front of the fountain and my sister and brother in law tossing coins in, but I still wasn’t feeling it.
There is nothing quite like walking the streets of Rome at night. The gothic buildings, cobbled streets, fountains, churches, restaurants, etc. all make it seem other worldly, which it is. As we moved further and further away from the crush of tourists the more romantic the evening became. Every where we walked we found beautiful little deserted plazas with a fountain, church or obelisk (sometimes all three). It was almost euphoric.
You lose track of time and distance at times like this. Before we knew it we had made our way to the Tiber River, which splits Rome. It was so beautiful! We were on the Ponte Umberto I looking back towards St. Peter’s dome and Ponte Sant’Angelo. I look at the photos we took there and I still can’t believe it. Everything was perfect and I knew Ponte Sant’Angelo, with the statues lining the bridge and in the shadow of St. Peter’s, this would be the place I would propose. So I mentioned that we should walk along the river and cross Ponte Sant’Angelo. It was perfect because Amy wanted to see Castel Sant’Angelo which was just across the bridge.
It was funny, but on the bridge there was a single guy sitting next to his blanket covered with purses. My sister and brother in law stopped and started talking/bartering with him and I seized the moment and subtly led Susan across to the other side of the bridge. There I knelt down and asked he to marry me. I pulled out the box and opened it towards her. She screamed and grabbed me and kissed me. I still don’t think she ever really said yes. I slid the ring on her finger and reveled in the moment just watching her. She was beside herself (okay, I was too). At this time my sister and brother in law had figured out what had happened and they came over for just a minute to give us hugs and say congratulations. They continued across the bridge to give us a moment, which was very sweet of them. I think we just stood there holding each other. I must confess that much of it is a blissful blur.
We walked over to where they were and Susan began making her phone calls to her family, my family and a few of her friends. I can’t believe how excited everyone was. Thank you. That really finished the night perfectly for us. Darin got some photos of us before we left the bridge and I am excited about that. How many people have photos of their engagement?
We finished the night with a fantastic Italian dinner (thank you Amy and Darin), before walking back to our apartment. I don’t think it could have been any more perfect. Everything just fell into place and I wouldn’t change a thing. I experienced it and it still feels like something I saw in a movie. With a setting like this, I don’t see how it could be any better. Standing in the middle of Rome and finally getting my Italian Princess…finally.