I think it’s safe to say that our vacation to Jamaica was the best trip I’ve ever taken in my life. I plan on recapping the whole adventure, but I’m giving away the absolute best part now.
We left New Jersey on a dreary Sunday morning and 3.5 hours later, we arrived in paradise at Sandals Grand Caribbean (still can’t spell that word on the first try).
Neither of us had ever done an all inclusive before, but it was a great choice. The people at Sandals took such good care of us. As soon as we passed through customs we were taken to the lovely Sandals lounge to wait (maybe 5 minutes) for our shuttle to take us to the resort. I noticed that Chris was a little jumpy when the staff asked to take his backpack from him. That should have been my first clue.
When we arrived at the resort, we were handed a (very strong) rum punch and led to our gorgeous room. We were both pretty exhausted that first night, so after exploring the beautiful resort a bit and enjoying some incredibly fresh seafood, we called it a night because we’re party animals!
Though the rooms were very dark and quiet and the beds were super comfy, we were still up at the crack of dawn (literally the next morning) because, as we learned, peacocks love to crow (caw?) as the sun comes up. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a peacock before, and despite the fact that they’re beautiful, they make some really unsettling sounds. And that was the only con of this trip. The only one. Everything else was perfect, so I guess we’re pretty lucky.
Monday morning, feeling more rested, we had a chance to really explore, but the first thing everyone told us to do was make reservations. All food and drinks were included in our trip, but certain restaurants on the resort are more popular than others. They encourage you to make all your reservations on the first day to guarantee a spot, so we headed over to the reservations office. After booking a dinner for Thursday night, I asked Chris where we should go to dinner that evening. That’s when the first surprise came!
Chris told me that he’d sneakily booked a private candlelight dinner on the beach for us that evening. My heart started to race. Chris and I had talked about engagements and marriage before, and I had a tiny inkling that he was getting ready to propose, but I had no idea he was actively planning it! A private candlelight dinner on the beach in Jamaica sounded like the most perfect opportunity in the world, but I just kept telling myself that I was being crazy. It was only about 9:30 in the morning when Chris told me about the dinner, and he refused to answer any of my prying questions until later that evening insisting that the dinner was the only thing he’d been planning. My heart was just about beating out of my chest the whole rest of the day. I tried my best to enjoy the day and remember everything… just in case.
Oh yeah, we met a ton of cute cats in Jamaica, and after seeing how spoiled they were by the guests and staff decided that those cats have pretty much the best lives ever.
We started the day with the breakfast buffet complete with ocean side dining and fresh fruit juice. After that we hit the beach for a little while and soaked up some sun. I splurged and got a 50 minute massage, and it was mostly heavenly, but if you can believe it, that darn peacock sat outside the cabana and crowed whenever I started to doze off. Rude. After my massage, we got some lunch on the beach then went out on a two person ocean kayak. It was harder than I was expecting with the wind and the currents, but we did it! We lounged on the beach a little longer just trying to take it all in. It was beautiful and so relaxing.
Around 5, we headed back upstairs to begin getting ready for dinner, and I was a bundle of nerves. I just kept thinking, “What if tonight is the night??” Chris was cool as a cucumber though, so I was beginning to doubt myself. Still, I put on the cutest dress I brought. Just in case.
Chris began asking if we should head down super early, like around 5:30 for a 6:00 reservation, and I kept telling him we had plenty of time. I think his nerves were finally starting to get to him. When we did arrive at the beach, it was absolutely breathtaking. The resort staff did such an amazing job creating an absolutely beautiful scene. Mother Nature helped too.
Chris was taking special care to capture the moment as well, and I was beginning to wonder if I’d be too nervous to eat any of our food that night. I was just so overwhelmed. The setting was so perfect. I was standing next to the man of my dreams literally in paradise. It was all very surreal while at the same time, totally natural.
I was feeling a little anxious but mostly just really happy and thankful. The beach was stunning, the sun setting over the ocean was gorgeous, and my date was super cute too.
Luckily, I didn’t have to worry for too long. Chris genuinely surprised me by getting right to it! Once we were settled and our server had left to get some bread, Chris (still seated, with his hand in his lap under the table) very calmly began telling me that the real surprise was our love, our relationship and the way our lives had unfolded together. I just kept nodding and smiling thinking about his words and how much he and our relationship have meant to me too. The next part is a blur, but to the best of my recollection, he stood then got down on one knee, and I realized that this was it. He asked me to marry him, and I said, “Of course!” We both hugged and kissed, and everything was just absolutely perfect.
He stood and we hugged some more, then I held out my (shaky) left hand and told him he had to actual put the ring on. I was so worried it wouldn’t be the right size. It was a tight squeeze, but it fit! I didn’t cry during the proposal, but once he put that beautiful ring on my finger, the tears came. Our server had come back with the bread, and I felt so bad for her because she was just standing there awkwardly while we hugged and smiled like total goofs. We were a little too lost in the moment to do anything else.
Next, we started taking a million pictures. This one is blurry and gives me a few extra chins, but I just love it so much because it totally captures both my total excitement and Chris’ total relief at finally revealing a secret he’d kept for two months! I had no idea.
He told me that he bought the ring at the end of December and picked it up in early January. It’d been in our apartment ever since, and I was totally clueless. There was only one little clue that ever really had me thinking. In mid-February, Chris had told me not to check the mail. That was so uncharacteristic of him, that I sort of thought, “What if he ordered a ring??” I quickly convinced myself not to even let my mind wander there, but I definitely still hoped. It turns out, the secret mail was the ring insurance, so I guess I was close!
I can’t describe it well enough, but the feeling of knowing that my absolute most favorite person in the world wants to spend his life with me was incredible. I was simultaneously excited, thankful, in disbelief and surprisingly calm. We both joked about how calm we felt. It was the biggest moment in our lives while also being the most natural thing in the world. We both knew this is what we wanted, so it just made so much sense.
We were absolutely on cloud nine, and I’m so happy Chris proposed when he did because it allowed us to totally enjoy our meal one on one before we went back to our room to share the happy news.
We started with shrimp and veggies, which were delicious.
Then we each had these beautiful tropical salads.
My dinner was a seafood trio of shrimp, scallops and lobster, and it was amazing.
Dessert was coconut cream pie. We also split a bottle of champagne, so we were a little tipsy and very giddy.
I asked Chris to take a picture of me with our server since she was the first to know, and I wanted to remember every single detail of the happiest night of my life. Then, the real fun started.
Chris had already told his friends and family what he was planning, but no one on my side had any idea, so we decided to call my family and friends as soon as we got up to our room. First, we called my grandparents, and they were thrilled. They’ve always been really loving, but they can be kind of stoic, so to hear both of them crying and just being so genuinely happy for us was amazing. I’ve always been super close with my grandparents, and they’ve been married over 50 years, so getting their blessing was so important to me.
Next, we FaceTimed with my mom. I texted her and told her to be ready because I was calling, and when the camera turned on, I put my ring up to the phone. My littlest sister Molly had answered, and it took her a minute to realize what was going on because she’s 12, but once she realized she started screaming, “Oh my God! Mom come here!” When my mom saw it, she freaked out too. It was great. Finally, we FaceTimed my sister Annie, and she was also so excited. It felt like a dream telling all these people I love so much about our engagement. It was almost as wonderful as the moment itself.
After that, we FaceTimed with Chris’ family. His mom had already seen the ring (she went with him to pick it out!), but she immediately started crying when she saw it on. It was adorable. We texted as many friends as we could (can’t wait to see my phone bill next month!). Then, when we finally felt like we told as many people individually as we could, we made it 2013 official.
and put it on FaceBook. The outpouring of love and well wishes from our friends and family was amazing. Truly, we were so, so happy and are still feeling so blessed.
Debbie and Mike were at our house looking after our cats when we texted them, so Debbie responded with this.
He’s excited. Trust me.
Everything was amazing. Chris did such an awesome job picking a ring, planning the night, and keeping this a secret, so the actual proposal was just fantastic. It’s the engagement I’m most excited about though. I said it then, and I now know I was right. From the moment I met Chris I knew he was the one. I fell in love with him very quickly, and I grow more in love with him every day. As wonderfully surprising as it was to get engaged, it also felt perfectly normal. It felt like the natural progression of a good thing. I’m so excited for the next stage of our lives together, and I’m feeling so blessed that I get to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man.
Oh and we still got to spend 4 more days in Jamaica… that’s coming soon!