PW Reader Ring: Amanda & John!

Amanda's ring!

Amanda’s ring!

The couple: Amanda Neuber and John Haggerty from Philadelphia.

The ring: My ring is an oval diamond surrounded by a double halo and set in a white-gold double band. John and I talked about getting married on our very first date. It was one of those “when you know, you know” moments that everyone hears about but no one believes will ever happen to them.




About 10 months into our relationship, my mother offered us the use of her engagement ring. (My parents' house had been robbed in 2010, and although just about all of her jewelry was stolen, her wedding set—which was dated and didn't fit anymore—didn't get taken. "It should have been gone," she had told us. "There's a reason it wasn't stolen, and I want you to have it.")

The oval stone was perfect, but since my parents were married in 1979, the setting needed some updating. John took the ring to his good friend, Barry, of Barry Jay Jewelers in Springfield. Because he knows that I am a control freak, John let me have one meeting with Barry to discuss my dream ring, and to get sized. I brought a Pinterest board, obviously. I thought the idea of a double halo was cool, and I knew I wanted white metal. After that initial consultation, John (lovingly) forbade me from having anymore say, and he and Barry took it from there! The results? Amazing. It truly is my dream ring.

The proposal {Ed note: This section comes from John!}: For Amanda's proposal, I put together a scavenger hunt. I contacted a handful of places that have some significance to us, and asked if they’d be willing to help out in a small part of my proposal. They were: The Urban Saloon (where we first met), Fado Irish Pub (where we “really” met and admitted we were interested in each other), A.Kitchen (where my brother, Mike, was working), Matyson (our first date), The Academy of Natural Sciences (our first work date), and, finally, the Philadelphia Art Museum stairs (our favorite place in Philadelphia). For each of these places, I had designated a card with a written clue inside to help her figure out the next place she was going. She was also able to “phone-a-friend” for each clue if in case she needed help, or emotional support. The clues were pretty easy, so I just figured she’d need to talk to someone. Those people were our siblings, in a joint effort.

I left the first card on the front door to our apartment when she went out to get her nails done.

I dropped off each remaining card at their designated locations as I made my way to the Art Museum stairs to wait. I reached the Academy of Natural Sciences before I received the inevitable text from Amanda trying to figure out what was happening (which included a bunch of “???!?!??!?!”). I just replied with a “You have your clues, no texts, no calls.”

The anxiety began to sink in at that point. I remember driving down the Parkway to the Art Museum thinking about whether I left any details out, if I gave the cards out of order, etc. When I parked and reached the stairs, however, I began to get my first texts from the siblings, letting me know she was headed on the right path. I actually began to relax, as much as I could in a suit on a 90-degree day in Philly.

I met Gary at the top of the stairs, where, both sweating, we retreated to the shade. I “hired” Gary, a photographer and one of my best buds, to fulfill the only proposal request Amanda had: that it be photographed. After about 45 minutes, and after all our siblings had relayed to me that she had passed her mark, it was just a waiting game. Fortunately, it was only a few minutes before I spotted her car coming down the Parkway and around to the back of the Museum to park—or so I thought. Gary, being a sleuth, went around the west side of the museum to catch her as she approached the front of the stairs, the way most people do. Amanda had other plans. As she does each day when she works out at 6AM, she drove her car up and behind the museum around to the front, and was on the east side. Gary and I see this at the same tim,e and he runs back to the top of the stairs as she parks her car and gets out.

She begins to walk towards me, but Gary isn’t ready, so I stay still. She has a confused/hysterical smile on her face, and she begins to wonder why I’m not moving towards her. She clearly knows what’s happening by now and continues towards me. Sweating, I catch Gary darting into a nearby bush to set up. She spots him. It’s over. Waterfalls. I go up to her (she says she blacked out by this point), hug her as she’s sobbing, and kneel down to ask her what she’s doing for the next 60 years or “sometin’” (borrowed from Rocky/wasn’t planned). Then I ask, “Will you marry me?” and opened the ring box. The words sounded so strange and the moment so vivid I felt like it almost wasn’t real.

She said yes.

There was a crowd of people gathered, and I heard gasps and applause. Then I got up to hug her and she yelled “GARY!” She ran over and gave him a hug. Tears everywhere, she seemed completely disoriented. Mission accomplished. I quietly asked her if I could put the ring on her finger. "Oh, yeah! The ring!" She immediately fell in love with it. She told me she was starving, and now that it was all over, I was too. We stalked an ice cream truck at the base of the stairs, and it wound up being a great photo op. Right after that, I whisked her away to go see her parents in the foreign land of New Jersey, and, oh yeah, attended a surprise engagement party that night at our house.

She said yes!

She said yes!

The band: I definitely want even more sparkle (because why not?)! Barry Jay thought ahead and created a lip underneath the halo and set the stone in way that the wedding band will fit underneath it. That way, I can choose any band I want. Time will tell what that is.

Read other PW Reader Ring stories here

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