The couple: Zofia Wleklinski and Alex Wolicki, Philadelphia.
The ring: My ring is 18k-white-gold with a round center stone surrounded by a halo of small round-cut diamonds. The band is a split shank with small round-cut diamonds extending halfway down the sides. The ring is an original design from Max Weiner on Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row.
I had been sending Alex not-so-subtle emails with pictures and links to rings I liked: very ornate, antique rings. One day, we were out running errands around the city together and he just blurts out, "Ok, so I have been trying to get rid of you so I can go look at engagement rings. I don't know how to do it without just telling you, so do you want to come or go home?" And although I had never thought I would want to go try rings on with him, I immediately found myself excitedly saying yes. (I mean, I was going to put shiny things on my finger ... not an opportunity I could pass up!)
At the first store he had on his list I asked to try on one of the ornate, vintage rings in the first case I saw. I put it on and immediately hated it. We tried on a few more and I found that I liked a more simple ring with a thin band—a style I had never looked at before. I was immediately glad I had decided to go with him!
We moved onto Max Weiner, and there I saw the most beautiful ring that immediately caught my eye. I tried it on and couldn't take it off. It was just perfect ... and well over budget. Max said we could exchange the diamond for a smaller and less clear cut to bring into budget, which was something that I was fine with doing—and so with that, we left the store and I was finished looking. I knew that I had found one I really loved and that now, he had a good idea of what I was looking for. Never did I expect to receive the exact ring I had tried on in the store.
The proposal: Alex and I had plans to go to London with his family to celebrate his sister's 30th birthday (she currently lives there), and so we were also planning a four-day trip to Paris for a romantic little escape. But then, after making the difficult, long-debated decision to leave my job with Philadelphia Teaching Fellows a few months before we were set to leave, I made the financially responsible choice to back out of the trip. On my birthday, though, Alex took me out to dinner and surprised me with a plane ticket to both cities. Little did I know, he had been planning my proposal and refused to change his plans, so there I was, back on for the trip of a lifetime.
I had previously told Alex that although I had been to Paris before, I had never been to Monet's gardens and would love to go on this trip—but then, thanks to Alex's generous offer to support us both, I had begun my new career in public relations with an internship, and was making no money. I didn't feel right planning much, and left most of it up to Alex.
That Thursday in Paris, Alex and I woke up in our gorgeous hotel room, and he told me he had a wonderful day planned that included going to Monet's gardens! We had a wonderful morning in the city, and then when we arrived in the quaint town of Giverny, had a quick lunch of baguette sandwiches at an outdoor cafe. It had been raining on and off, and so once we arrived at Monet's house, decided to tour the gardens first, figuring that if it started raining again, we could go inside and tour the house.
I had brought my fancy professional camera and was snapping pictures left and right, but Alex kept telling me to hurry up so we could go to the water gardens (Monet's Japanese-inspired garden where he painted the famous water lilies). Once there, he ushered us along the outer edge where there were fewer people, and then found a bench along the back wall that overlooked the entire garden. I was showing him my artistic shots when he asked me to put the camera away, and then launched into a speech about how much he had enjoyed our years together.
It was at this point that I realized it was actually happening, and remember telling myself, "Focus, focus—this is the moment!" but I honestly still don't remember much of what he said. He then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. (I do know that after I asked, "Is this really happening?" I said yes.) We sat together on the bench and I got a good look at the ring ... and it was the ring! The exact one I had tried on in the store. And it was even more beautiful than I remembered.
The band: I am going to get my wedding band from Max Weiner, so that I have a matching set. I want a very thin band that matches the one on my engagement ring, with the small diamonds that extend halfway down the sides.
Read other PW Reader Ring stories here.
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