Welcome to the Jasper and Lane Blog. On this channel I want to share not only wedding tips and highlights from weddings (planned + designed, editorial styled photoshoots), but some of my own stories on my journey from single gal to spouse! You can sign up for the newsletter here to receive updates on new posts!
I knew I was getting engaged before it happened. In 2019, my boyfriend (spoiler alert, we're married now) flew to the east coast with me on a trip to meet my dad and stepmom. This was the first time I was bringing anyone for my dad to meet, which my dad was happy to bring up more than once. It turned out to not be a big deal, our trip was jam packed with fun and laugher and from what I could tell, my boyfriend had a great time as well. The day we flew back home I took out my phone to let everyone know we'd landed safely and the first notification to pop up on the screen was from my dad. His text read, “You need to call me”.
My pulse was racing. I went back over the trip trying to remember any awkward moments or a joke that didn't land. I will share that my husband (from here I will refer to him as Mr. Lane) and I are an interracial couple, which thankfully has never been an issue with either of our families. I couldn't think of anything that was out of place. Maybe my dad and stepmom just didn't like my man as much as I thought. I drove home, keeping my worries to myself, but I did call my dad as requested. Fast forward to Dad and I on Face-Time, naturally I’m anxious listening him talk about trivial stuff when finally he blurts out, “So that boy asked for my blessing, I dug it. You’re getting engaged, baby!”
I stopped breathing.
At this point Mr. Lane and I had only been together for just shy of a year, but the thought of him proposing wasn’t a shock. From the first date my husband was very clear on his intentions and the whole time we were dating I was living my best rom-com life. (Back to my dad's spoiler) Instantly, I’m shouting into my screen, “Why are you telling me!?!”
My dad — with zero cares and somehow still charming replies, “Well I don’t know. I’m just so excited!”
I was rolling my eyes so hard. I am number 3 out of 4 siblings. I'm not the first to be in a committed relationship and my older sister has a child, but sure... Dad was "excited".
My dad and I talked some more, but honestly I can’t remember about what. I hung up the phone, looking at my left hand like the ring would just manifest. Which of course it didn’t. I was overjoyed that my relationship was progressing in the way I hoped. I was beyond excited, just like my dad, for the next season of my life, but now I had to wait. I knew I was getting engaged, but when?
If by chance you're currently in a similar circumstance or if you just want to know the advice I'd give myself in hindsight, follow along:
No. 1. Make the best use of your time.
I know I'm not the only one who had a wedding Pinterest board long before they were in a serious relationship. I went back to mine with intention on the brain and started thinking about what wedding pins still resonated with me. I also started researching venues and vendors in my area. Eventually, I’d have to share my ideas with my man, but whether you have your ring or you’re an almost, an inspo-board revision is a good thing to do so that when you finally begin planning with your partner together in earnest, you have relevant ideas to bring to the table. These activities also kept me from losing my mind.
No. 2. If you have the opportunity to be involved in choosing your forever bling – go for it.
When I think about engagement rings the first thing that pops into my head is the scene from Sex and the City where Carrie finds the ring Aidan bought for her and it makes her physically ill.
It’s got to be so nerve wracking for the proposer. If you’re going in blind, there’s so much pressure not just in popping the question, but picking the ring. The symbol that encapsulates your relationship, your commitment to each other and the style suggestion of the wearer. (Maybe I'm fluffing it up a little, bit but still its a lot to get right). I love my husband and he’s gifted in so many areas, but jewelry selection… that’s a no, sis. What if I ended up hating my ring like Carrie?
Meanwhile in my day-to-day, I was on hyper-alert over scrutinizing my appearance and outfit selections. Was my hair done? Yes. Did I have makeup on? Full glam and glowing. What did my nails look like? Terrible, start getting them done immediately.
My mom started to pick up on my anxiety and when she commented on it I told her what was going on. My mom smiled and basically patted me on the head saying, “if you’re flown out across the country so your boyfriend can meet your father, of course there’s a proposal coming.”
I remember thinking that her observation was logical, possibly a little bit over-confident, but not super left field. And then what did my mom do? She confessed that she has been tasked to make sure that my ring finger was sized and to find options for engagement rings and wedding bands by my Mr. Lane.
I promise that my parents are awesome — not so good with big surprises, but still fine people. In retrospect it’s a little bittersweet that I knew about everything before it happened, but getting to look at rings knowing this wasn't a 'wishful thinking situation' was really fun. It meant a lot to me that my husband trusted my mom enough to reach out for help and that he wanted to make sure that when he gave me a ring, it was something that I truly loved. A few weeks later my mom takes me to look the a few jewelers.
No.3. Your partner is getting ready to ask you the question that will change the course of both your lives. Be patient.
My finger was sized and a ring was selected, then it was back to waiting and pretending that everything was normal. In that time I dedicated myself to being super casual around Mr Lane. For a time I was successful. I had my Pinterest revisions and it turned out I LOVED getting my nails done (if you’ve never tried Gel-X, I highly recommend it). Suddenly a few months had gone by and I was starting to go a little nutty. My dad spilled the beans in the June of that year. My mom and I went “ring shopping” in July. By October I had gotten to the point where every date night I was analyzing every detail of our plans for some hidden meaning, National Treasure style. One of these occasions was when Mr. Lane said, and this is a direct quote, "I want us to do something Instagram-worthy".
Friends....I bought new lip products, a new dress and new tops for our weekend of dates. My hair was sparkling clean. My nails were fresh. I was beyond ready and confident that this engagement was finally going down. Friday night we went to an adorable sushi place. That night I wore the new top. I went to work on Saturday and there was no engagement ring to show off. My coworkers and I speculated that maybe Mr. Lane was waiting for this evening. I didn't work on Sunday. Wouldn't it make more since to propose when I could celebrate without worrying about going to work the following morning? On Saturday, another restaurant, another new top and no proposal. I was disappointed, but I still had hope. On Sunday I wore my dress and Mr. Lane took me to brunch. It was a beautiful brunch place that neither of us had been to before. Again, we talked and laughed through out the meal and still no proposal. From brunch we went to the movies, which turned out to be a very depressing film, which was fine. At no point did Mr. Lane stop to tie his shoes or pretend to drop anything or point out an airplane in the sky with a message tethered to the wing. In his mind, we were just having a great time in each other's company. And we were. When Mr. Lane drove me back to my car I realized that out IG weekend was officially over. I was devastated and beyond confused. What in the world did "Instagram-worthy" mean to him? Was it just us spending the weekend together? Now I realize how shallow and mean that sounds. Had I not known about our impending engagement I would have been thrilled to just spend a full weekend with Mr. Lane, but I knew too much...and in my defense using the phrase "Instagram-worthy" was very, very misleading.
I wish I could say that after that weekend I learned not to get my hopes up, but I didn't. A month later I was convinced that Thanksgiving would be the day we'd get engaged. It's both mine and Mr Lane's favorite holiday. I reasoned that Mr. Lane is a very private person, getting down on one knee in a crowded place was absolutely not his style, so last month was just a disappointing fluke. We had made plans to celebrate the holiday with just his parents and my mom -- a very intimate and quiet affair. This time there was no preparation, I didn't go shopping. All five of us cooked together, the picture of a united happy family. Mr. Lane seemed comfortable and happy. I was certain that the conditions we were in were better for him to feel confident enough to pop the question. Dinner passed. The hour of card games went by uneventful. Still, I wasn't engaged. To say that I was sad on that car ride home with my mom would be an understatement and a half.
I knew that if I was going to be married, Mr. Lane was the man I wanted to share that journey with. In waiting for my engagement I started to loose sight of what Mr. Lane and I would build together and got so focused on the ring that I wanted to wear. I let myself get worked up and impatient and in my impatience I let myself doubt. What was the deal with Mr. Lane? Was he having doubts about me? Was he not as committed as I thought? I let my thoughts spin out of control instead of trusting the man that I love. If you're getting to the season of your life where marriage is a possibility you have to remember that it's not just about you and what you want and what makes you comfortable. You can't forget to consider your partner, even if you have no idea what might be motivating them in the moment. I thought that I was ready to say yes and truly I was, but I was putting so much internalized pressure on my partner to do what I wanted in the time frame that I wanted it and not giving him the space to take the next steps when he was ready. (This observation is more for my 'Almosts', but if you're already Engaged you can apply this insight in other areas too!)
No.4. In the words of the Queen of Soul herself, "Let your mind go, let yourself be free!"
With my ego and my hopes bruised (unknowingly by Mr. Lane and knowingly by my own internal monologue) I finally came to the realization that I had to relax and let things progress in their own time. I hated it. It was beyond difficult for me to accept that I had zero control. I was starting to see that it was my rigidity that was making me wildly unhappy and not fun to be around. It was my frustration and my impatience, not Mr. Lane's "inaction" that was keeping me from enjoying not only my relationship, but myself in general. Other and invoking "Instagram Worthy", Mr. Lane hadn't done anything wrong. The surprise of the proposal was long spoiled, but I was failing to see that I could still appreciate the thrill of anticipation. There was still surprise and joy to be found in not knowing when the big moment would finally happen. I needed to be patient and I needed to let go.
Thanksgiving passed and the weeks leading up to Christmas flew by. I paid no mind to any of news about the virus popping up across the world. (My experiences from being engaged during the pandemic are a subject for another blog!) On Christmas Eve, Mr. Lane and I had plans to spend a quiet evening together before splitting the rest of the holiday between our families. That year I got Mr. Lane a set of fancy pots and pans (my man went to culinary school once upon a time). He was very happy with his gifts and I loved the new purse and headphones he got for me. Again there was no ring, but for the first time in months I wasn't internally going into mini hysterics.
I remember saying that I would take a quick cat-nap and then I would help make dinner.
Suddenly, mid nap, I was shaken awake. Mr. Lane was looking disheveled and a little manic. My first thought was that the apartment was on fire. He told me no and started to pace. I watched him walk back and forth, not speaking. I asked if he was ok, which was hand-waved. My next thought was that he was surely breaking up with me. I had been moody, cranky and hyper-sensitive and not saying why for months and I was certain that he'd gotten to the end of his rope. Mr. Lane immediately assured me that he wasn't dumping me and that I needed to be quiet because he was nervous and trying to talk. Watching Mr. Lane get down on one knee to propose was an experience I will never forget. I won't share his proposal speech, but trust me friends it was romantic and swoon-worthy and worth all the months of waiting. I still call it the best nap ever. I woke up thinking that my boyfriend was going to break up with me and I ended up engaged. It was ironic how when I finally stopped pushing and placing all this internalized pressure to make things happen when on my ideal timeline, things finally started to fall into place.
Whether you're waiting for your relationship to progress or you and your love have taken those next steps and are beginning to plan your wedding. I encourage you to remember to slow down. Take stock of what is actually important not only in your relationship, but what will nourish you as an individual. If my story resonated with you, drop a comment below or say hey over on IG: @jasperandlaneevents
Photocredit: south_ofjune photography