The Friday before Christmas, I got home from work, feeling tired and a bit disappointed that I still had to work on Monday before breaking up for the holidays. I was putting presents under the tree and Rob handed me an envelope, which he said was a little pre-Christmas present. I opened it to find an itinerary for a trip to New York, departing the next day. He’d managed to organise it and keep it completely secret, even clearing the time off with my boss – who also kept it secret, even when I said there was some stuff I’d wrap up on Monday!
We flew out business class on Saturday afternoon – a first for me, and probably a last as I drank enough champagne for four transatlantic crossings. The flight was a little delayed and the traffic was terrible getting from JFK into Manhattan, but eventually we arrived at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, which was stunning.
After a quick top-up on the champagne front, we wandered out into the clear, crisp, Christmas-lighted New York night and headed up 5th Avenue to see the sights. It was my first time in NY and I was absolutely blown away by everything I saw. By this time it was about 7.45pm and the shops were starting to close up. I wandered past crowds of people looking at the famous windows of Tiffany and realised they were still open. This was such an unbelievable New York image that I begged Rob to let me have a look around. Typical bloke; he rolled his eyes, sighed and reluctantly agreed to go in.
I looked around the first floor and saw that engagement rings were on the second floor. We had been teased constantly for months about weddings, babies and sensible family estate cars so I dragged him up to the second floor. The lift doors opened and I went straight to the far case. There were million-dollar rocks which were unbelievably sparkly. I couldn’t help myself, running around saying: "Look at this one, how about that one, it’s only $4 million!" I was like a child in a sweet shop!
As I walked past the centre case, which contained the classic, six-prong setting Tiffany rings, Rob stopped me and asked: "How about that one?" I turned round and looked again and in the glass case was a box, wrapped in Tiffany blue paper, tied with a white ribbon, and in front of it was a printed sign that said: "Reserved for Mrs Ketta Shimmin."
My hands flew to my mouth, I read the sign again and then Rob was on one knee, asking me to marry him. My eyes filled with tears and I said yes. It was only then I realised how many people were still in the shop – as around 40 people burst into instant applause.
We’re getting married on 23 October 2004.