I know the title doesn’t sound quite right, as most people go to Vegas to get married, or end up getting married on a whim while they’re there. Not us, nope, we just got engaged. Here’s the story:
Kimberly and I have discussed getting married for a while. That part is no surprise. The timing of the engagement question and the traditional presenting of the ring was a complete surprise for her. The real planning for this event started about 6 weeks ago. I had very grandiose plans in mind for how to do this. But, as is often the case reality sets in and you realize there is no way to get a King Kong Replica to climb Mt Everest with a banner that says, “Kimberly, will you marry me” as we fly by in a SR-71 Blackbird. Soon, I hope to see this accomplished for some adoring couple, but in the meantime I used what I had to work with and made the best of it, I think.
Kimberly was going to be in Vegas anyway as the photographer for the always fabulous Flagship Financial Christmas Party thrown by Eric and Hailey Kandell. So, Kimberly invited me to tag along and I decided to take advantage of the situation and plans went into motion. My good friend Jen Coombs helped me find a ring that was sufficiently blingy without being too gaudy to provide to my future wife to represent our everlasting union together (note: hint of sarcasm, since I think rings are silly but wanted to get a nice one anyway ;-)) We were immediately successful, and I thought I got the right size – I didn’t – my stealth, spy skills were rusty and I saw the ring I used as measurement on the right finger on the wrong hand, so it turned out to be too big. Nothing we can’t fix later. I then proceeded to make sure MOST of the right people knew what was going on by showing them the ring and letting then know my intentions. These people included my family, especially Griffin, all of Kimberly’s sisters, her brother, her parents, and her kids. I missed some friends of hers that I really feel horrible about, and I don’t know how I could possibly have missed them. All I can say is, my mind was occupied with the many details of this plan – forgive me, please.
Then, I had to find the appropriately romantic location in Vegas to pop the question. I looked everywhere online, I asked everyone I knew with intimate Vegas knowledge and then I found Prime. Seemingly the perfect location. Great views of the Bellagio fountains, fancy, romantic setting, the whole 9-yards. Then I got a solid recommendation from Chalyce Wilde and her brother Cam Wright, so I knew the food would be better than edible. Now, about our location in the restaurant. I was prepared to palm a $20 for the maître d to sit us in the best seat in the house, but happily and gratefully, I didn’t have to do that – I’m quite sure my suave, sophisticated, high-roller moves need a LOT of work, so I’m glad they didn’t have to be shown the light of day. All I could think about was Ferris Bueller, as Abe Froman – sausage king of Chicago – trying to palm a $1 bill to the snooty maître d in “Ferris Bueller’s Day off” (link here) And I didn’t have Sloane and Cameron to help me with any kind of clever rouse. I didn’t have to employ my big spender skills because they gave us the most amazing seat in the house, bar none! Seriously amazing, right on the water level with a full view of the fountains as they erupted into action choreographed to the Frank Sinatra songs we couldn’t hear in the restaurant (still amazing every time). Best seat in the house for sure! It was all very befitting our amazing clothes as well – we looked good. We had to for a place like this – seriously amazing. I convinced Kimberly that we needed to go to a really good restaurant and get really dressed up, you know for fun. The girl is always trying to get me to wear a suit, and while this wasn’t a suit, it was about as close as I get. So we were all decked out and ready to eat!
We were seated and once we got over the opulence of the scene, we started to peruse the menu. First on the list – bacon-wrapped shrimp. Yeah, it was as good as it sounds and the shrimp were huge, cold and fresh and the bacon was perfectly cooked – that’s all you need to know, really, until the end of the meal – the other food was as good as advertised and we were not disappointed with any of our choices. As we finished our meal and started to contemplate dessert, I had it in my head that I would move over to sit right next to Kimberly as we waited for our treats and ask her to marry me while we waited, so the dessert would kind of be a mini-celebration for us. Before I could move over, a very well-meaning server brought over a plate of their version of a molten chocolate cake with “Congratulations” written on the plate in chocolate. Yep, BEFORE I had asked her to marry me. Thus the #prematurecongratulations hash tag on Instagram, for those of you who follow me. Anyway, I didn’t panic as Kimberly really didn’t think anything of it. The lady at the table next to us decided to start guessing what it was for, VERY loudly! ”DID YOU GET ENGAGED? MARRIED? PREGNANT????” Looking at me, “DID YOU GRADUATE FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL???” No, no, none of that – they must be congratulating us for eating all the food we ordered, I offered weakly. Kimberly looked at me a bit confused and thought out loud that perhaps they sent the dessert to the wrong table. I shrugged, and feigned agreement with her. The crazy, loud lady tried to ask if I wanted her to take a picture of us. I answered a bit abruptly, and she kind of took offense, but I needed her to zip it so the surprise didn’t get ruined! She acted all indignant, but at this point I knew I had to make my move or someone was going to jack this up for me, so I couldn’t care just yet (I came back and was nice to her after all was said and done, and we’re fast friends now :-D)
I moved over to Kimberly’s side of the table with the ring in my napkin. I pulled out my iPhone and showed her the picture of me and her kids I took a few weeks ago, when I asked them if it was OK for me to marry their mom (they gave me a unanimous YES – phew!) and told her what it was. She went right into some kind of weird shock and started crying, to the point where when I showed her the ring, and asked her if she would marry me, she didn’t hear me. This is where things kind of slowed way down and seemed to continue in stop-action animation! My mind raced and she just stared at the picture trying to somehow understand what it was. She looked at me and said, “wait, what?” I laughed, asked her again and she got a huge (albeit nervous) smile on her face and said, “OF COURSE!” and we kissed, while the crazy woman next to us yelled congratulations at us, and some other lovely people chimed in too, it was kind of fun to be the center of attention, not gonna lie. The waiter came up and shook our hands and congratulated us no fewer than 4 times each and we sat in the glow of our change of relationship status, all while this was live tweeted, and documented on Instagram and Facebook for all our friends an family to follow along.
We sat and enjoyed the occasion for a while; laughing and talking and kissing – a lot and smiling at each other and I’ve maybe only been this happy a few times in my life and it was wonderful. As we basked in the moment the ladies two tables over asked to see Kimberly’s engagement ring – she proceed to whip the ring off her finger and hand it over for the ladies to inspect. Yeah, she just handed over her ring. Everyone thought it was pretty funny. Ultimately, she got her ring back, we finished off the Crème Brûlée, and paid the bill. we slowly left the restaurant, taking in one more long look to really burn the moment into our long-term memory, so we wouldn’t forget – that and the photos we paid for from the professional photographer will help too. Those things are going on the mantle…someday. Then we walked back to the hotel and rested the remainder of the evening. Well, Kimberly had to call her friends immediately to let them know how scared silly she was, but that’s to be expected with this kind of a surprise, right?!?
We enjoyed the rest of the evening, I think, as I passed out from the adrenalin drop. Seriously, OUT cold. The next morning we hit Hash House for some amazing breakfast AGAIN and just enjoyed the moments as they occurred as a newly engaged couple. So nice, so fun, so full of awesome memories. Then, as we headed out of town we took some pictures at a cute little wedding chapel and posted them to Facebook to play a quick trick on friends and family. We also stopped in at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop to check it out from the show, and we took a few pictures with a gaudy men’s ring – total Elvis style – for a couple of pics to perpetuate the idea that we got married in Vegas over the weekend. We didn’t, we thought about it, but there were actually people who threatened Kimberly’s life if she got married without them being there. I take the very seriously.
There are so many other little details I’ve probably missed but I want to post this right now for people to read, because I know there were a lot of people who wanted the whole scoop. Thank you to all the great friends and family that helped out with the surprise, and didn’t spill the beans. And thanks for all the well-wishes since the announcement of our engagement – it is all much appreciated.