3) The Perfect Ring – January 2004

I found the perfect ring in January of this year. After going through the stress of buying the perfect ring for the perfect girl. I needed to find the perfect way to propose. I wanted to involve some subterfuge and insure that she would be comletely surprised.

The proposal to happen around her birthday. I
told her we were spending her bday in the Chicago for a friend’s
wedding. The wedding invitation came in the mail for the weekend
of her birthday. I was going to be part of the wedding party so
I got fitted for a tux in California and purchased our tickets
for Chicago. She was none too pleased to spend her big bday in
the cold winter of Chicago (she’s a California girl).

We flew to Chicago and went down to baggage claim
in a rush to make the wedding rehearsal. Only our bags did not
arrive. After lecturing her on
the benefits of carry on we made our way to the luggage counter
when I stopped. She seemed angry with my lecturing so I asked her
to open her bday present. Being at baggage claim in the bowels
of O’Hare two days prior to her actual birthday wasn’t her ideal
place for opening her bday present.

After a brief protest she finally
relented and opened the gift. It was a guide to Paris, France. “So
I guess we are going there this summer?”, she remarked. “Actually”,
I replied “Those are where our bags are going. We are going to
Paris today.”. When it finally hit her that we were not staying
in Chicago, she burst into tears and thought it was the best

present ever.
After her euphoria subsided, I explained to her that this was all a hoax. There
was no wedding, I created a fake wedding invitation, fake itineraries
and hotel reservations, even tuxedo measurements. Her parents gave
me her passport and I was able to check her in without her knowing
our final destination. I also had to reset expectations with her.
I told her that this trip is for her birthday and I hoped that
she would not be expecting anything else to happen. After a few
years of dating, she knew where I was going with it. She agreed
and was just happy that she was going to spend her bday in Paris.

Upon arrival and brief battle with jet lag and
motion sickness we made our way through Paris. I was resigned to
spending the first day scouting
for the perfect locale. Only our families knew of the plan. The
day was perfect and the weather was beautiful. Atop the Eiffel
Tower seemed too crowded if not too cliche. We walked to the Louvre
and it didn’t feel right. Ille de Cite maybe? Ille de Saint Louis?
Venturing through a city I have never been before with an engagement
ring in my pocket wasn’t the most carefree thing in my life.

After visiting the Notre Dame we wandered upon
the garden behind the famous cathedral. We were both pretty tired
from the journey so we decided sit on
one of the benchs in the garden facing the Seine. It was a glorious
afternoon and as we sat there I noticed the company we kept. It
wasn’t the young parisian lovers that the city is so known for.
But rather older couples, that stood the test of time, enjoying
the same beautiful afternoon. This was the place.

After mentioning a few words that were only meant
for her ears, I turned to face her and got down on one knee. The
look on her face was one of understanding
what was happening and not understanding at the same time. She
expressed sheer confusion as I opened a small little black box
holding her engagement ring. Through tear-filled eyes I asked
her to marry me and she weepingly whispered, “I do” into my ear.
She’s an amazing girl who doesn’t like to talk about herself. I
am truly blessed to have been able to give her a proposal she’ll
talk about for the rest of her life.

Proposal Story By:

Mark Balagot

Aliso Viejo,

The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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