The Proposal, Part 2: The Planning

The Proposal, Part 2: The Planning

Jun 25

The Planning

Planning the actual proposal day began in late May. My accomplice, Jennifer, and I went to the aquarium one Thursday afternoon with the express purpose of scouting out potential proposal spots. The requirements: a picturesque area, feasible to clear out for a short period of time, with places for accomplice photographers and videographers to hide. We found two: the back-up plan would be on the balcony above the aquarium, where the line for the 3D theater forms. The 3D theater’s shows start every half hour, so after that, the area is virtually empty.

However, the more ideal plan would be in the tunnel. If you’ve never seen the Georgia Aquarium tunnel, it’s a walkway where the fish aquarium stretches out overhead all around you. It can be seen in this picture:

After the Proposal

Taken after the proposal, but still a good view of the tank above us.

Needless to say, that was far, far more picturesque. The challenge would be clearing the tunnel, but on the day Jennifer and I visited, the tunnel was nearly empty. I was still a bit skeptical, but Jennifer insisted it could be cleared, and the tunnel would most certainly make the most picturesque location any of us could imagine.

Initially, I had planned to propose the week of June 6th. However, a vicious stomach flu sidelined me the previous week and prevented me from completing the most important part of any proposal (especially in the South!): asking for her father’s blessing. So, the week of June 6th was out, and Jennifer was out of town the week of June 13th, so that was out as well. I tentatively planned on the week of June 20th.

It’s important to note at this point that Caitlin and I have had a date for our wedding in mind for a long time (which is part of the reason I wasn’t exactly worried about her saying yes when I proposed — if we already had a wedding date in mind, chances are she’d said yes at the proposal). That date, as the sidebar of this blog describes, is November 3rd, 2012. We’ve been counting down to that day for a long time.

It was June 17th when Caitlin texted me celebrating “505!”, meaning 505 days until the wedding. That’s when it clicked: the following Wednesday would be 500 days until the wedding. Even ignoring the fact that 500 Days of Summer is one of our favorite movies, the idea of proposing 500 days early was too romantic to pass up. Plus, fortunately, we both have a history of enjoying celebrating random milestones, and so when I texted suggesting we celebrate hitting 500 days, I’m sure she wasn’t the least bit surprised. “How should we celebrate?” she asked. “How about the aquarium?” I replied. She agreed.

Fortunately, I’d already planned to meet with her father, her mother, and her brothers that Saturday, so in a whirlwind tour of her immediate family I let everyone know my plans, and fortunately no one tried to strangle me. I can only pray I am so understanding when eventually some young hoodlum wants to take my precious baby daughter away from me.

Jennifer, my parents and I met one final time on the night of June 19th to devise final plans. Jennifer would clear the tunnel and set up the picture board, as well as purchase the picture Caitlin and I took at the front stand ad affix to the back of it my hand-written “Will you marry me?”. My parents would take pictures and videos of the event. Sunira would tail us throughout the aquarium and keep them posted on where we were, and also snap some candids whenever possible (and if you’ve checked out the proposal gallery, you know that those candids were amazing). Caitlin and I would see the dolphin show at 2PM, giving everyone else a chance to arrive and get in position while we were inside.

I bought everyone’s tickets in advance the next day and passed them around. Jennifer came by and picked up the photo board, with the pictures already rearranged to show the first line of each note in the right order, as well as an easel. Everything seemed to fall into place: we had an occasion for which dressing up was absolutely expected; we had tickets that were specific to a certain time, ensuring everything had to happen according to schedule; we had a picture to be taken under completely normal circumstances; and, most importantly, Caitlin got the best manicure of her life the day before. A perfect day for a ring.

Now, I was still as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs; I barely slept or ate for a week before the proposal. But finally, the day arrived.

To be continued…
Part 1 | Part 3

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