The build-up to the weekend when I intended to propose to Kerry was manic. I wanted to take us to Paris for a break and go down on bended knee whilst we were there.
It was Kerry’s birthday on the Monday. Unfortunately I had just started a new job and they hadn’t organised my wages yet – at the same time I was organising an equity release on my house to help fund some work around the house along with the trip, the ring and the general excesses of Paris. I was broke but desperate to ask her that weekend. We had been together for more than four years – she had been patient long enough.
By Thursday the money was not in my bank and despite numerous calls and much chasing around I thought I would miss my chance. After a frantic round of phone calls the money was due to hit my account at 3pm on Friday, which it duly did. I however was 50 miles away on work and desperately trying to get home in time to book the trip, pay for the ring and get us packed up and ready to go. I got the ring just before the shop closed and left Kerry to book a four-day break with the travel agent. She thought it was going to be her birthday present.
Saturday was effortless. We made our way to Ashford the night before and caught an early Eurostar. The minute we arrived in Paris, we walked to Place de la Concorde, down to the Louvre and then down the Champs Elysees. All of the time I had the ring in my pocket and was waiting for a suitably romantic time. The tension for me was unbearable; I hadn’t been so nervous for a very long time. I felt like a hobbit on a mission as the ring and weight of expectation were very heavy!
After walking around Paris all day, we were nearly dead on our feet – but we made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I decided that it was too busy to propose there and would wait for a quieter, more intimate moment.
We made our way down to the second level whilst the sun was just setting. There was nobody on our side of the observation area. Kerry was looking over the edge of the platform so I quickly rummaged for the ring and made some story that I couldn’t find the hotel pass card to get her to come back over to me. I went down on one knee and asked her to do me the honour of being my bride. It was so beautiful… sunset on the Eiffel Tower, in the middle of the city of lights and romance, how could she resist? And what was Kerry’s reply? "What? You’re doing it here? I thought you would propose on my birthday in Sleeping Beauty’s castle at Disneyland!" Apparently I missed out on picking up on this very subtle hint somewhere in our past, but she said yes anyway. Almost immediately after she said yes the tower started to flash like fireworks – it was fantastic!
We walked back to our hotel along the left bank of the Seine and Kerry cried most of the way, partly from shock, realisation and I think a little fear. She was now 25, she was engaged and she said she felt that she was now getting older. The story doesn’t finish there. On the Monday, Kerry’s birthday, we went to Disney, where with a Mickey Mouse-shaped "diamond" ring, I proposed again inside Sleeping Beauty’s castle, in front of the good fairy’s stained glass window. She said yes again and smiled like a big kid.
We get married in May 2005. I suspect that Mickey will get more outings on Kerry’s finger than the expensive diamond I first used at the Eiffel Tower. Sometimes it really is the little things that count.