The couple: Erin Pollock and Mike Gilbert of Horsham.
The ring: My ring features one large, square-cut diamond surrounded by 16 smaller diamonds in a white-gold and platinum setting. My favorite element of the ring is the twisted double band, also lined with smaller diamonds. I didn’t believe in picking out a ring myself or emailing links and pictures (I only wanted a ring that he had taken the time to pick out himself, and assured him he knew me well enough and that he had never disappointed me before!), but I also didn’t leave Mike completely in the dark. When he first brought up the subject of getting engaged many months before, I had only mentioned that I preferred a square cut. He had asked a couple times if I wanted to stop in the jewelry store and point a few out, but I had always declined.
Nevertheless, when I stopped in Jared to have a couple necklaces cleaned earlier this year, I somehow found myself glancing at the engagement ring section during my wait. I noticed a ring with a twisted band and snapped a quick shot on my iPhone. Then, I later casually/not-so-casually mentioned to Mike that I liked the design and showed him the picture. I told him it didn't have to be that exact ring. Weeks later, unbeknownst to me and with some help from a friend who covered for him while he shopped, he bought a similar, yet even more gorgeous ring at Jared. I couldn't have done better myself, and to me, not seeing the ring until he opened the box and asked me to marry him only added to the surprise and made it that much more special.
The proposal: This past June, we planned a road trip to Boston as part of an idea we’d come up with years ago to see all of the MLB stadiums. We both enjoy a good baseball game (admittedly Mike more so than I), along with checking out local sites and restaurants in new cities.
By the time we went on this road trip, we had been dating just over four years, and had lived together for two. I don't think there was ever one defined moment where we sat down and asked, "Do we want to get married?" Still, it seemed to be more and more obvious that we were happy and wanted to spend our lives together. The timing felt right. Therefore, being a woman, the idea of a trip for just the two of us did conjure up that little voice in the back of my mind that said, "It could be this week!" But as we travelled from city to city (we also made stops in Cooperstown, NY to see the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Salem), I gave up on the idea of a ring this time. I should have known that Mike would be so clever and sneaky as to wait until the end of the trip!
Mike said that he wanted to see more of Boston's Freedom Trail, which is a path in the city that takes you to its many historic sites. It was a miserable, muggy day, it looked as though it would start pouring at any moment, and I was getting tired from walking (I must have been a joy to be with!). When we arrived at Boston Common, the sun had started to poke through the clouds, and I lightened up. Mike suggested we take a stroll and explore, so we did just that as we took in the beauty of Boston's famous public park.
"There's supposed to be a public garden somewhere around here," he mentioned, so nonchalantly. "I heard it's really nice." I checked Google Maps for the location and found that the Cheers bar was right on the other side of the garden. We could go there after our walk! I was oblivious. (One notably funny moment on our walk: when we came to the children's area of the park with a jungle gym and small pond, Mike seemed a little agitated. "Is this the garden?!" he said. I was confused by his frustration and let him know that we hadn’t reached the garden yet. "I just heard it's nice!" he joked. Somehow I still hadn't caught on.)
We crossed Charles Street over to the garden, and Mike grew a little quieter (not a normal occurrence). The garden was gorgeous. We walked over the bridge and looked down at the lagoon, where other tourists were riding the Swan Boats. As we reached the other end of the lagoon, Mike motioned to a spot under one of the willow trees and said, "Let's walk over here and look at the ducks!" I laughed. "Yea, sure."
We stood there looking out on the water with some ducks and even a couple of swans swimming around. It was at this point that Mike turned toward me, and I half heard him say, "So I wanted to talk about us and how great we are together ..." Right then, I realized what was happening.
I always thought I'd be hysterically crying at this moment, but I was really too shocked to cry. In between my interjections of “OH MY GOD. SHUT UP. STOP IT,” he asked me to marry him, opened the box, and I felt my stomach jump up to my throat. I think I let out another "OH MY GOD," rather than a "yes." We both already knew what my answer was.
I couldn't believe he'd actually found a way to surprise me. We sat down on a bench as I asked him, "Who knows?" It wasn't until he told me about asking my parents' permission that I started to cry. He'd done everything so flawlessly. We were out in public, but secluded behind the branches of the willow tree. It was traditional but very "us." I loved everything about it, and I can't wait to marry my best friend.
And by the way, after calling our parents and my sister to tell them the happy news, we still made it to Cheers to celebrate!
The band: From what I understand, the shape of my ring will most likely require me to get a custom ring to fit it. I'm thinking of something white gold to match—something a little simpler, but maybe also a slightly antique-looking to compliment the unique design of my engagement ring.
Read other PW Reader Ring stories here.
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