I have been bursting with excitement and joy to share this story with you! In case you hadn’t heard, about a month ago the Englishman proposed and made all my wildest, most romantic dreams come true.
In early August, Brandon and I were visiting England for his best friend’s wedding. We arrived about a week beforehand to attend pre-wedding festivities, help set up, and visit with his family near Cambridge. This trip was a pseudo-anniversary present from June, as we were really there for the wedding but arrived early to enjoy some time in England
On Monday, August 10, we had planned to make a functional trip to London. I needed to stock up on Fortnum and Mason products, do some research for What Would Kate Do?, and visit the LK Bennett clearance shop (obviously). I packed some Tesco sandwiches in my Longchamp and off we went.
After spending a fortune on tea and jam at Fortnum’s, Brandon said he had a little surprise. He took me on a walk down the road, through a park, and out we came in front of Buckingham Palace! We sat on the Victoria Memorial outside the front gates and ate our sandwiches and crisps. My expectations were so low that I really thought this was the high point of the day – a surprise Tesco sandwich picnic outside the palace.
Ha ha. I was wrong.
Notice: no ring! Oh how naive I was!
After I finished eating, Brandon handed me a white envelope and told me this was my real surprise. Inside were two tickets to tour Buckingham Palace and reservations for tea at The Grosvenor Hotel afterwards. I was blown away! He had planned this sweet surprise and I had no idea!
Again, with such low expectations I thought this was the big surprise. We went through palace security and skipped the cheesy audio guides so we could wander the palace together. I tried to remember all the things I learned on my private tour of the palace in 2012, and started telling Brandon about the different rooms and paintings.
Brandon knew that the Grand Staircase is my favorite room in Buckingham Palace. It just feels like a palace, and you have to imagine all the incredible people who have walked that exact same staircase. When Brandon and I got near the top of the staircase, he said we should stop and enjoy it for a moment. I looked around at the portraits, the carpet, the dome ceiling, the balustrades, and took in the beautiful room we were standing in.
When I looked back at Brandon, he looked a little nervous. Maybe it was all the people, I thought, or perhaps it was later in the day than I thought and we needed to make it back to the train. When I asked him what was on his mind, he got a little more nervous. He started saying a few silly, soppy things, and then he said the serious, soppy thing:
“I love you. In fact, I love you so much, will you marry me?”
Right there, on the grand staircase inside Buckingham Palace, my English boyfriend asked me to be his wife.
“Are you freaking kidding me?” was my response. I started shaking, looking around, and trying to grasp and take in what was happening. People stopped to stare and the room was spinning around us. All that grandeur, history, and royalty surrounded just me and him in the biggest moment of our lives so far.
In Brandon’s hand was a shiny, silvery thing that I managed to take hold of. My own hands were shaking so much, I gave it back to him for fear of it falling and tottering down the red staircase. I looked at him, and with a smile he said “uh, love, you haven’t said ‘yes’ yet?”
Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. YES!
He put the ring on my shaking finger – a gorgeous oval sapphire set east-to-west surrounded by ten round diamonds and two bezel-set princess cut diamonds. An antique-inspired setting.
It was the heaviest piece of jewelry I ever put on, and without thinking I showed it to the stranger walking up the stairs next to us. “Look! Look what he just did!” The very sweet American girl said “Oh my God, seeing someone get engaged is on my bucket list!”
It took nearly twenty minutes, lots of kisses, hundreds of questions, and a few more “oh my god”s until we finally floated into another room. Hand-in-hand, we walked through the Throne Room, the portrait gallery where William and Kate announced their engagement, the Music Room where countless of royals were baptized.
Somehow, in a foggy haze of happiness, we toured the entire palace, bought a few souvenirs at the gift shop, and strolled through the gardens hand-in-hand. I was on Cloud Nine. I was in heaven. The rain started to pour as we exited to Grosvenor Street, but I didn’t care. We skipped off to the Grosvenor Hotel and celebrated with afternoon tea, scones, sandwiches, and sweets.
A few days later, Brandon, myself, his family dogs, and his not-really-a-photographer brother went to Wimpole Hall and took some special engagement photos, which I have included in this post. I am so overwhelmed and so happy to be the future Mrs. Englishman, and I hope you love this story almost as much as I do.