I got engaged! I proposed to Sylvia, my best friend, on Valentine’s Day, at Trocadero, across the Seine River, in front of the Eiffel Tower.
It was super exciting and super nervous.
I decided to propose her since few months ago, but it takes me until January 2015 to figure it how I wanted it to go. I wanted it to be a complete surprise. A surprise behind a surprise. It had to be on Valentine’s Day, in Paris, in front of the Eiffel Tower, complete with a photographer, and of course, a flower bouquet!
I know that she probably doesnt like a fancy or crazy proposal, so i had planned out a simple yet outstanding proposal.
I talked about it with few of my friends, my mom, and my cousin, and all them love and support my idea.
I spoke with her parents and they were extremely excited and support my idea and gave me the blessings.
I already purchased the engagement ring back in November. The ring was purchased from Jangmi Jewelry, a very reputable Korean jeweler in Diamond Districts, Manhattan, New York City. I tried to do some research to educate myself about the diamond’s cut, clarity, etc, but Mr. Kim made everything easy. He laid out a set of settings that I really like, and educate me further about the diamond. Mr and Mrs. Kim are very knowledgeable and not as pushy as the other vendors in the district. This situation of harassing people to enter your store occurs a lot in the in the diamond district. I finally picked the best settings and diamond. After I got home, I did some more research about the GIA number for that ring, and i can say that Mr. Kim gave me the best deal that I can get for an engagement ring. I feel no regret for spending money for this engagement ring.
Over the next 2 weeks, Mr. Kim sent me an email saying that the ring is ready to be picked up.
I was very excited, so I came to pick the ring up that afternoon.
When Mrs. Kim showed the ring to me for the first time, there was a feeling I hadn’t experienced before. It was like my excitement and nervous combined into a feeling that I can’t make a word of it. Excitenervousness? Yeah, let’s go with that. At that moment the proposal was no longer an idea, it was very real. My first thinking was, “sooooo shiny”. The ring looks very shiny, sparkly, and astonishing. I knew Sylvia is going to love it.
As I told you, it takes me until January to have a vision about how the proposal is going to be. Over the next couple weeks, I began contacting few photographers that is in Paris. I reached out to a few photographers that I really like, and luckily I heard back from the photographer i had on the top of my list, Julien. His work is amazing, and very easy to work with. After exchanging few emails with him about my plan for the surprise proposal, I finally had a plan in place.
I searched for an airplane tickets on the night I had the vision. Valentine’s Day is on Saturday. After few considerations, I decided to stay in Paris only for 48 hours.
I understand that a Schengen visa is needed in order to go to Paris. I looked at the Schengen visa requirements, and i found out that Sylvia does not need any visa. She can go to Paris just using her passport alone. No visa needed. Great!
An appointment is needed before applying Schengen visa at French embassy in NYC.
Valentine’s Day is 4 weeks away, and i read that it will takes 2 weeks for the visa approval. I immediately set up an appointment, but guess what, the soonest appointment date is on February 4th.
I was disappointed because i know that the chance to get the visa, to do a surprise proposal, is not guaranteed. I phoned the French embassy next day, and asked them about the problem I had. They said that it takes 2 weeks for the visa procedure, and told me to keep looking at the website every 15 minutes, because sometimes people may cancelling their appointment.
I immediately check their website, and guess what, there is an opening for tomorrow morning appointment at 11AM!
Quickly I filled out the infos, and the appointment for next morning is booked!
Yuhuuu! I sent an email Julien, the photographer, right away. That night, I began to prepare all documents that will be needed at the interview. Print out few documents, took a passport photo myself, print out a passport size photo, searched, booked and printed out a hotel accommodation and airplane itinerary.
I came into the interview place at 11 am sharp. Waited for an half hour until being called.
The woman who interviewed me, ask me for some documents , and then she asked my “you go to Paris only for 2 days?”
I said, “Yes. I want to do surprise marriage proposal in Paris.”
Then she gave me a receipt, and told me to come back on next week Tuesday 3.30pm to pick up my passport. I asked her “am I approved”?”
She said, “we don’t know. You will know it when you receive your passport”.
“Ah okay” I replied.
I feel disappointed knowing that i have to wait until next Tuesday to know the interview result. Tuesday is 4 days away, it feel so long. In the meantime, I really can’t plan anything until Tuesday. I am anxiously waited until Tuesday.
Tuesday, 3:30pm. Went into the French embassy to pick up my passport. Few people lined up in front of me. 15 minutes later, passport and Schengen visa already in hand! Yayyyy! All of my burdens came right off.
Quickly reached out to Julien, and he confirm the date.
The surprise proposal was officially a go, and I could not wait to get on that plane, could not wait until the Valentine’s Day come.
Wednesday, February 11th 2015
The day has come! Few days ago, I asked her to take 2 days off with a reason that we will be spending some quality time together somewhere nice for valentine. She was asking if its Las Vegas as I kept talking about it lately, so I said yes. And I told her to bring some of her nice clothes.
She finished her job at that afternoon, and by 5.30pm we were ready to go. I told her bring extra coat in case it gets cold, and she start asking why she need coat since Las Vegas supposed to be warm. So I said “yeah, actually we are actually going to fly to somewhere little cold. I will take you to somewhere else. Change of plan”
We arrived at the airport and then she thought that we probably are flying to somewhere colder than Las Vegas, until the check in process, she finally know that we are going to Paris. She was really happy and excited. I told her that I was planning a 2 days surprise vacation for Valentine’s Day this year. I can see her eyes become watery, and tears of joy coming out from her eyes. I wiped away the tears from her eyes, and hugged her while whispering to her “I love you”.
Arrived in Paris on Thursday afternoon. There are so many stories that I can tell you about our first experiences in Paris, but that will be on another story.
On that night, we went to see the Eiffel Tower and Arc De Triomphe.
The next day, we went to The Notre Dame, Champ De Elysees, and Montmartre.
February 14th, 2015 – Valentine’s Day.
Remember, I was planning a surprise behind a surprise. She was thinking that we come to Paris only for a short valentine day vacation.
So, today is the day.
I explained to her that we will be going to a very nice cafe the early morning, so we need to wear some nice clothes. I text Julien the night before, confirming the proposal plan.
I was planning to shoot a video, so I brought a small microphone in the front pocket. Crap, the engagement ring box is too big to put on my front pocket too. I cant fit the box anywhere without being stand out. I was afraid she is going to notice it. So i decided to put it inside the front pocket, and keep my suit unbuttoned.
We walked to Trocadero, which is only 2 blocks away. I tried to keep walking by her right side, hoping she wont notice the box. When we get Trocadero, I saw Julien from a distance and a whole new set of nerves kicked in. I said to Sylvia, let’s take a good picture while the sun is at the good position. I began mounting the camera on my tripod. I was planning to pretend to take a picture with the Eiffel tower on the background, but I actually taking a video. While she looking around, Julien approached us.
The following dialogue was all planned out.
Julien: “excuse me, my name is Julien. Can I take a picture of you guys? I see that you guys are a nice couple, I like to collect photos of couples who visit here”
Me: “yeah sure”
He then directed us over to one side of the square. I moved my tripod and began to shoot the video.
He began instructing as a bit as he snapped some more photos. After couple seconds, he walked towards us and show us the picture. Sylvia take a look at the picture and she was like “woooow! We look nice on the picture”. And Julien walked back to his spot, and now it was my time to shine.
I hold both of her hands, and called her full name to get her attention.
My heart was racing, and my voice was shaking, but I managed to get all of the words out. I told her that i have known her for more than 6 years, and we have been together for that long too, and how beautiful and kind she is. I told her that she is my best friend, and for all of these years i have known her, i know one thing certain, that is i want to spend the rest of my life with her. I reached out the box and dropped down to one knee, and said those magical four words that would change our relationship forever.
She said yes! I stood up and went to put the ring on her finger. I look at her face, and I saw how happy she was. I weep away the tears, hugged her, and kissed her, and then we were like laughing because we are happy. Then a friend of Julien walk to me, and hand over a nice flower bouquet. I had planned out with Julien for which color and flowers of the bouquet. She loves baby’s breath, so I choose a red roses with a lot of baby’s breaths. Of course she loves it.
Then Julien made his way over to us and explained to Sylvia that he is a professional photographer, and i had hired her. I booked Julien for another 2 hour and a half so we could take some more pictures.
Then we go back to hotel, so Sylvia can change her clothes and shoes.
We went several nice spots in Paris. Julien did a great pictures and such an amazing photographer to work with. Our trip ended on the love locks bridge. We celebrated the engagement by opening up a small champagne on the bridge, then we say good bye to Julien.
We went to have a lunch, and I told Sylvia all about my planning process and answered all questions she had. Finally i can let out all the stress behind this whole engagement thing.
We left Paris to go back to New York City that afternoon.
We had such a blast in Paris, and on the flight going home, i would catch her looking down at the ring and smiling. I am now engaged with the love of my life. To top it off, tonight I also received 1 edited picture from Julien. After seeing the picture, all of the stress in planning the proposal became more even worth it.
Now comes the next step in our journey as an engaged couple.
February 14th, 2015