Our Love Story: A Ring and a Date

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Part 1 | Part 2 |Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

The problem with waiting 22-1/2 years to tell a story is that….ummm…some of the details get a little fuzzy.  So here is what I know for a fact.   We definitely got engaged in February.  I had a ring at some point after then, but before the wedding.   I know that we went ring shopping right after we got engaged, but the sticker shock was a little much for us, so being broke college students, we opted to wait a bit for the ring.   I don’t remember exactly how long….

But I do remember getting the ring. I was working at both a nursing home and at McDonald’s at the time, and John was also working two jobs. (I think this must have been after our first year of school was done, because I don’t know how we would have managed two jobs each PLUS school.)

Between our four combined jobs, it was challenging to find time together.  The day that he proposed, I had half an hour between my shift at McDonald’s and the nursing home.   John met me at the nursing home in the employee parking lot, and I hopped into his car to chat for a few minutes before I had to go inside and start my shift.

He told me to open the glove compartment.  Inside was a sweet note as well as a small box, which I knew right away contained my ring.  He asked me (again!) and I said yes (again!), and we kissed.  I was over the moon, admiring my lovely ring.  But all too soon it was time to go inside and get to work.  It wasn’t till I got out of the car that I realized that the love of my life had proposed to me next to…..a dumpster.

I tease him greatly about that now, but you know what?  It didn’t really matter to me then, and it doesn’t really matter to me now.  The important thing was that he has my heart and I have his.  A romantic locale for a proposal is sweet (and would make great blog fodder) but it is not at all essential to a happy marriage.

Once I had my ring, it seemed even sillier to wait longer. Back in February our original inclination had been to get married in August. Thanks to his parents’ concern, our plan had been sidelined for awhile. But by June, that original plan started making more and more sense. We’d been dating long enough now to know that we weren’t going to be changing our minds about each other. We’d been engaged since February. We barely saw each other between our four jobs. At least if we were married, we’d see each other at the beginning and end of the day. Why not do it?

In early July, we abruptly decided that now was the time. Six weeks from now, to be exact. August 23rd. Bride magazine listed planning timelines anywhere from 3 months to 12 months. I cared not one whit. How hard could it be to pull together a wedding?

Looking back, my wonderful mother in law, who likes everything done decently and in order, must have been in a panic. But within a couple weeks we’d ordered cake, invitations and fabric for bridesmaid dresses, and had all sorts of other details well on the way to completion. A neighbor was helping us make lovely bouquets with silk flowers mounted on fans.

We found a professional photographer that friends of ours had used. His twist was unusual, but amazingly affordable. He took the pictures, and handed the bride and groom the undeveloped rolls of film. His fee? $100. A few weeks later friends of our would get married and pay several thousand dollars for pictures alone.

I chose to wear my mother’s wedding dress– it fit beautifully and had a sleek classic design. My mother in law gave me the headpiece that she had worn at her own wedding, and I bought yards of tulle at the fabric store for a veil.

Ready or not, we were getting married….


My darlin’ man will have his version of this story up on his blog very soon, so go check it out. (Say hi to him too, because he’s wonderful and adorable, even if he did propose behind a dumpster.) And if you have more of your own love story, leave a comment below sharing the exact link to your blog post, OK?


  1. celina in canada says:

    I was also married on august 23rd , 1997
    my photographer did the same, took the pics and handed me the rolls, my father in law also did wedding photog. and did the same service, the thought of sitting with a bride and trying to be patient while she went though all the pics wasnt worth it, this way if was all over and done with …

    i love reading your love story….inspires me to write it sooner than later, since its been 11 years already…

  2. Oh, how sweet! I hope you’ll sahre a few pictures of your wedding day!

  3. I love it! I guess it’s true…when you know, you know. Why wait?? How fun.

    Mine’s here:

  4. sorry this comment isn’t love story related, but I have an apple question. How long do apples last? My grocery store is having a special on granny smiths and I want to stock up, but I don’t know how long apples last. I have six kids, so I’ve never had an apple go bad. Could I buy at least a months worth. They’re 10/$1 for halloween, so a very good price, I just don’t want them to go bad and I know you are the apple queen.

  5. Wonderful chapter! I LOVE your comment about a romantic location for the proposal. Think of all of the marriages that have failed that had romantic proposals. I’ll take my Coach on the back porch of my parent’s house any day. It was for life. And that’s what made it amazing. I’m so grateful!

  6. Although hard at times I so appreciate the opportunity to share our love stories! Here’s my next one..

  7. Mary,
    This story is lovely! Are you going to have it printed for your kids? Pictures and all maybe?
    I really should do this one day….

  8. I agree. I want pictures. 🙂

    I’m trying to wrap up this story of mine quick since we’re almost out of time.

    Here’s the part where I meet his family

  9. I just wanted you to know that your story-and how young you were! is making me feel a little better about my girl’s current relationship.

  10. I like the simplicity and sincerity of his proposal!
    Here’s my third part (of four) of my love story-

  11. http://shelfie.blogspot.com/2008/10/love-story-part-7.html
    Here’s my last one.
    Thanks so much for sharing yours and getting many of us started doing this! It’s been an amazing journey!

  12. Gee, did we have the same photographer? Actually, ours was supposed to develop the film for us, but moved to Alaska instead. We still haven’t got our photos developed. Maybe for our fifth anniversary …

  13. my hubs loved the fact that we got the negatives from our photographer, too. we maybe paid a little more than $100, but we’ve only been married for 5 years, so you gotta add a little for inflation 🙂

    here’s the next chapter of our story:

  14. Here is something that I wrote for our 12th anniversary just yesterday. It’s not the whole story, but I think you’ll enjoy it anyway.
    I’ll be praying for your trip to the DR (and for Melanie’s toe to heal quickly)

  15. oh, good for you guys for just going for it instead of waiting what someone else thought was a “respectable” time! I personally believe long engagements are trouble. And I know whereof I speak, let’s just say.

    I love your love story. Thanks for sharing, and for coming up with such a great idea! My final installment will be up on Thursday.

  16. We just had our wedding day and our photographer did more or less the same. Took hundreds of pictures, put them on disc (modern times now!) and hey presto we can do with them what we want over the time.
    Go check out my next installment at

  17. I have really enjoyed reading your love story. Over the summer my kids kept asking me to tell the stories of the days they were each born.
    Recently the request has shifted to ask about when daddy asked mommy to marry him!

    My husband and I met in University in Ottawa, Canada. He was a local boy, and I, the girl from out west. Upon graduation, I moved back home to do further studies at Simon Fraser University. Mark followed 3 months later.

    When my husband proposed (october 1995), he planned a romantic dinner followed by walk in Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver. However, it started to rain (a lot!) during dinner, and his plan to propose in the gardens was thwarted. (He had just arrived in Vancouver, he didn’t know about the rain yet!) He did drive us up to a viewpoint in the park, and stop the car. He said “Wait here a minute,” got out of the car and came around to my side. He opened my door, and told me stay seated while he was getting rained on, and knelt down in a puddle to propose! I thought it was so chivalrous!

    Looking back, I think we were so young then (22 and 23 years old).

  18. That is so cute that you got married on August 23rd! That is the anniversary of my first date with my fiance and we wanted to get married on that day as well, however, its on a monday this year so instead we are getting married on the 21st of August this year, buuutttt we are pretending its the 23rd and always will



  19. Amanda Valley says:

    I know I’m reading long after the original posting of this- but I couldn’t help but laugh… my husband & I have a similar proposal… We had already been planning the wedding, finally got the ring about a month before the date… and after taking me to the movies, and driving along the lake front, he finally “officially” proposed in the parking lot of his apartment building, in his beat-up red Ford Probe!
    BUT- like you, he is the love of my life, and it didn’t matter where that proposal happened, we’re still very happily married, 7+years later with many more to come!


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