So Josh and I got engaged but we did it a little differently. No, it wasn't me, a woman, who proposed..we went a step further with a joint proposal. Bear with me!
It's probably normal for most couples that marriage comes up at least once in their relationship, and it was no different for us. When I was young, I never ever spent time thinking about a dream man, dream proposal, dream dress or dream wedding; I never thought about it (probably because I was too busy planning my veterinary empire). Anyway, when marriage did come up for us, I didn't know what I wanted except it had to mean something and be special. Out of the two of us, I'm by far the better planner (in general!) and the most extravagant when it comes to romantic gestures so I thought I'd love to propose to Josh, because why the heck not?! Of course I can't keep my big mouth shut so brought it up in conversation, but it turned out he wanted to propose first (I mean no surprise). So it turned into a competition to see who could propose first, and I mean, that's pretty stressful and it would never really be a surprise because it had been brought up several times and we both knew it would have to be abroad because we both love travelling together.
So one day, it occurred to me, why can't we do it together?
I put the idea to Josh and he loved it! Then we started planning. Where should we do it? Norway. When? Easter holidays. Then the issue of rings came up. I'm not sure how it came up but we thought of getting each other rings but I didn't want Josh to spend a small fortune on a ring that wouldn't necessarily suit me so we thought of going to Portobello road to hunt them out. The first day we went, we looked around together to get a feel of the styles that were out there and what would and wouldn't suit me. The next time we went, we split and went looking by ourselves. I couldn't find a nice one for Josh as most of the mens' rings were either super thick or were signet rings but Josh found 'the one'. It was going to be the only surprise about the proposal.
When we arrived in Norway, our plan was to climb Reinebringen and do our proposal up there, but it turned out it was avalanche season due to the time of year; it was spring and the snow was starting to melt, making it loose. Being honest, we didn't really want to risk our lives (!) so we changed our plans and decided on Kvalvika beach.
We climbed through snow, over ice and I fell into two bogs. But when we made it, the views were stunning. We spent a good half an hour just taking in our surroundings. Charcoal black peaks with a light sprinkling of snow framed the sapphire blue ocean and the white, sandy beach. The sun was directly ahead of us which gave the whole place a perfect kind of glow. Finally, we got comfy and had our moment. I'm not going to go into what was said as that's between my fiancée and I but it was perfect.
Then, after we said yes, he took out a tiny black box and inside was the most beautiful ring. A deep, yet bright, blue sapphire, the same colour as the ocean, surrounded by perfect diamonds, like the ice that was scattered all around us, and a delicate golden band. Josh explained that it was from 1915 as he placed it on my finger. I still can't wrap my head around how old 102 is. This ring has lived through the Blitz, the first man on the moon, the civil rights movement, India's independence and the crumbling of the British Empire and Concorde's first flight and was made just two years after Emily Davison bravely threw herself in front of King George V's horse; women didn't even have the vote until 1918!! And now it's sat on my finger as I type this. It's the most beautiful ring I've ever seen and couldn't have asked for anything more perfect.
To take the photos of us, I set up my tripod and shutter. However it was the first time I had used the shutter so the image of the back of us was taken accidentally when I sat on the remote and the one of us facing the camera was taken accidentally when I didn't realise the shutter was set to continuous mode and I couldn't hear it over the wind. It worked out for the best because I love them!
Anyway, I don't get why joint proposals aren't more of a thing! It takes so much pressure off one partner to plan a surprise proposal. It's a lot to have to organise a surprise (especially if you live together!) that's also special for you both, especially since it's become fashion to try and make them as extravagant as possible. There's also a lot of pressure from society for it to be impressive. When people find out I'm engaged, the thing that they want to know is: "how did he propose?!" All we needed was mountains, the sea and each other. It was perfect and I couldn't have dreamed of a better way to agree to spend the rest of my life with Josh. 8 year old me didn't see this one coming!