Our Engagement Story

In all of my blog break, this was the one post I was dying to share—how Josh and I got engaged in Europe over Christmas.

I know, I know. You hear “got engaged in Europe” and you’re all expecting a drastic, romantic proposal, full of a man down on his knee, professing his love for all to hear in a mysterious, magical foreign town. You’re probably envisioning champagne towers and doves and magic carpet rides. And none of that could be farther from the truth.

Let’s start from the beginning

Josh and I usually split the holidays with our families. His mom is in Seattle, my mom is in Phoenix, and my dad is in San Francisco, so between Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, we try to fit everyone in and keep things local.

This year, we had an itch to explore. To be alone, just the two of us. So, we planned a two week European trip to places we’d never been before—Berlin, Prague, and Vienna, just for us.

While I’ll share more about the actual planning and trip logistics (and recommendations!) another time, zoom forward to day eleven of our trip, and we’re in Vienna, Austria. I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but if you haven’t—wow. Add it to your list of must-see places, STAT. Vienna is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been, and I felt that from the moment I stepped foot in this city. It will always hold a very, very special place in my heart.

Our first day out and about in Vienna, Josh and I decided to walk about thirty minutes from our hotel to a museum we’d been dying to check out. As we made our way through cobblestone side-streets and vintage shops, we stumbled across an antique auction shop with a beautiful window display, just blocks away from our final destination for the afternoon. In the window was this gorgeous case of antique rings that I felt drawn to, and in the upper right-hand corner I saw it—the ring I knew I was going to get married in.

It’s at this point in our story I feel as though I should tell you this: Josh and I have been together for seven years, so of course we’ve talked about getting engaged and how our ultimate goal is to get married. But, to be honest, everything about the traditional way of doing things just felt off, and not quite right for us. I knew I never wanted him to get down on one knee. That isn’t us. But what is us is making a decision together, because it’s right for both of us, and because we want to.

Once I saw the ring, Josh said we should go in and try it on. I refused—“that’s an engagement ring, and we are not getting engaged on this trip!”—I said. And so we kept on walking, to spend an afternoon at the museum.

That night at dinner, we had the most wonderful meal. And it was there we spent hours talking about our future: what we want for it, how we know it’s time we should get married, how it’s what we both want. We’re ready. We know we are. And we should go back, and get the ring.

After some digging on Google Maps (note to self: if you really love a piece of jewelry that much, WRITE DOWN THE GODDAMN NAME OF THE STORE) we located the shop, went back the next morning right as it opened, and bought our dream ring within ten minutes. When you know, you know. We learned its history (it’s a sapphire from the 1960’s) and after signing a few pieces of paper, it was ours. To walk out into the streets of Vienna with, and to consider ourselves engaged with.

We spent that afternoon nervous-laughing, drinking champagne, and just enjoying being in the most beautiful place we’d ever been in together. Once our families woke up back home, we shared the good news. It was magical, and all I’ve ever wanted. Whatever your fairytale is (and whether or not anyone else wants it), you can have whatever you dream of. That, I now know to be true.