Stefy said yes!

Two days later it still feels weird to say it, but Stefanie and I got engaged this weekend! I’ll save the back story for another time (I’m working on separate posts), but here’s how things went down on Saturday…

Well, since I wasn’t able to talk with Stef’s parents about proposing before her birthday weekend back in September, my mom recommended Sweetest Day as an alternative, which I thought was perfect.

Last week I drove into Bloomfield on Friday after work, and we went out for dinner and a movie in Royal Oak just like we’d normally do on a Friday night (side note: we saw The Darjeeling Limitied, which was a HUGE disappointment — don’t waste your time).

Afterwards we came back to the house and watched some TV up in Stef’s room. Since I already knew that the weather was supposed to be nice on Saturday, I casually suggested going over to Cranbrook (where Stef went to high school, which is next door to her house) to go for a walk and take some pictures before the MSU football game.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. Before going to wake up Stefy for the day, I went out to my car to grab the ring, and put it in my the pocket of my sport coat. Once that was squared away I went to wake up Stef and we came downstairs. Teri made us a nice little breakfast, and we hung out and watched some TV. Again, nothing out of the ordinary for a weekend like this.

I took my shower while Stefy got all dolled up for the day. Before leaving for our walk, she wanted me to open my Sweetest Day gifts: the new Eric Clapton Autobiography and Stephen Colbert’s book. I thanked her for the presents, and apologized profusely for “forgetting to get her anything for Sweetest Day.”

A few minutes later we hopped in the car and drove over to Cranbrook. It was already gorgeous outside, probably in the low-to-mid 60s with a slight breeze. The temperature was pretty mild (for late October), but part of me was worried that Stef would get chilly and ask for my coat. The square box in my pocket would’ve been hard to pass off as a box of Altoids, and I wouldn’t have wanted to tell her no. Thankfully, this never happened.

We and I walked around the grounds at Cranbrook for the better part of an hour as Stef showed me some of the different highlights. Several people have asked me this, but during our little jaunt I really wasn’t nervous at all. For the most part, it just felt like a fun stroll around my girl’s old stomping grounds, which was the whole point. After a while though we came up to the beautiful fountains over by the art museum, and I decided that this was the place.

I started talking about how we had been together for three years and two months (on Sunday), and that I was kind of fibbing when I said I forgot Sweetest Day.

It’s a long story, but the day Stef and I started dating I asked if we could be “Zack and Kelly for real.” Any reference to Saved by the Bell in a marriage proposal sounds pretty cheesy, but I couldn’t resist. I started talking about how at the end of the show Zack and Kelly finally got married, and then I pulled out the little box from my pocket.

The ring box was inside the green Tiffany box, so I asked Stef if she wanted to open it. She said no. When I started to put it back in my pocket she grabbed it and pulled the bow off. I pulled out the ring box, got on one knee, and asked Stefanie if she’d make me the happiest guy in the world and marry me. She said yes.

The whole exchange took all of two minutes, and it was something of a disembodied experience for both of us. We were both standing there, smiling and hugging and smooching for a few minutes before some people started walking up behind us.

Not wanting to make a big scene in front of total strangers, we walked around for a little while and took a few pictures, but basically high-tailed it back to Stef’s house at that point. Of course, the place was empty when we got there (Stef’s folks knew what was going on, but they wanted to wait until we’d be back). So, we both whipped out our cell phones and started dialing everyone in our phonebooks: my mom, my dad, Stef’s older brother, my grandma, friends, extended family, etc.

Both of us managed to rip through about an hour’s worth of calls before Teri and Justin got home. A few minutes later Sean and Marina showed up with a huge bouquet and a bottle of champagne. Shortly after that Tim got home, and we all had a toast in the kitchen.

While I was certainly sad that my folks couldn’t be there to join us, it was really nice to have such a warm reception from Stef’s family, and it was just one of those moments I’ll never forget (one of many from this weekend, actually).

The rest of the afternoon is kind of blur at this point. We watched the MSU-OSU game and answered some more phone calls, but that’s about it. Teri had made dinner reservations for us at this local steak place, Big Rock, for 7:30, so we had a nice dinner with the Spiros that evening.

So here’s the deal. Stef will be starting grad school in Chicago in January, so we’ll probably set a date for sometime after she finishes her masters degree in 2009 (which points towards a summer 2010 wedding). There’s obviously lots of planning to do, and while 2-2.5 years seems like a long ways off, it was still fun to start brainstorming some wedding ideas with Stef’s folks over dinner on Saturday.

So yeah, it was obviously a pretty great weekend, and both of us are really excited right now. Thanks to all the well-wishers out there. I consider myself pretty lucky to have found such a great girl, but it’s also great to know that we have such a strong network of support.

Anyway, here are some pictures from this weekend, which is what you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy!

Photos from Paul’s Wedding + a Quick Re-cap

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Okay, you can see the pictures from Paul’s wedding, along with a few from the BNL concert at Pine Knob and my cousin Jake’s graduation party, here.

QUICK RE-CAP: The wedding was a lot of fun. It was a small-ish ceremony (about 100-150 people), but just the right size. Paul and his groomsmen set the tone by walking out with fake Fu Manchu mustaches. Of course, they quickly discarded them before Rochelle started walking down the aisle.

The ceremony was short and sweet. The minister read these rather lengthy explanations that Paul and Rochelle had written about why they were marrying each other. Both of them were really cute.

There was a dessert reception in the church hall right after the ceremony, and Stefy and I stocked up on all sorts of yummy goodies. We sat next to the maid of honor’s parents during the reception, and had a nice little chat with them.

After the bridal party was done taking pictures, we finally got a chance to congratulate Paul and Rochelle in person. I was glad we got a few minutes to say hi and snap a few photos with the happy couple.

Once they were done cutting the cake and things were starting to wind down, Paul took the stage and explained how, since he wasn’t able to DJ his own wedding, he wanted to play us out with the song he usually puts on when he works at other receptions. So, he starts strumming his guitar, and as soon as I heard the first few words, I knew what he was up to: “I’ve been really tryin, baby…”

Yep, Paul sang Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get in On” in front of his blushing bride, all their guests, and… her parents.

Man-oh-man, it was bust-a-gut funny. The best part was when Paul got hung up on a lyric and asked the audience for the next line, and Stef was the one to yell it out to him! God, it was hysterical.

Anyway, Stefy and I took off shortly after Paul’s serenade, but I was really glad we stuck around long enough for the musical portion of the show. All in all we had a great time, and I was so happy that we were able to make it to Paul’s wedding.

Congratulations, buddy!