comments: 52

EngagedTen years ago today Andy asked me to marry him! It happened after a long day of driving through the mountains. He'd had the ring in his pocket the whole time. We'd driven from Missoula to Great Falls, headquarters of the Buttrey grocery store chain, whose history I was researching and writing for them. We went out there to pick up a box of old photographs and documents. I was crabby all day. The project wasn't going well. I don't think I stopped talking about how badly it was going for one minute. We drove back to Missoula as the sun was going down. The mountains rose up, glowy blue and speckled with snow in the twilight. On the side of the road, several cars were pulled over. When that happens in Montana, you pull over, too, and go see what everyone is looking at. It was a herd of elk, about 100 yards away. The stag stood protectively in front of all the rest of them, staring hard at us, watching. Snow blew past in swirls. It was one of those stunningly beautiful Montana moments.

But no, this isn't where he asked me.

We got back in car and I insisted that we go to Pizza Hut for the salad bar. Doesn't that sound . . . nevermind. I had a craving for a salad with hard-boiled eggs and bacon bits and icy peas. Andy wanted to go somewhere nicer. Ohhhh, no. No, no, only Pizza Hut. Then we remembered: It wasn't open for some reason. Oh, was I mad. Now could we go somewhere nicer? No. I must have flabby pizza and germy salad, so we headed for the strip. Tower Pizza, whose oak-paneled interior hadn't changed since the '70s. When we walked in I heard a commotion behind me, and turned to see one of their giant pendant lamps swinging, and Andy holding his forehead -- he had walked into the light fixture. What the. I power-walked through the restaurant to the salad bar. I got my salad and sat down and ate it without waiting for him and ranted about the project some more, munch, rant, munch munch, rant.  !!! [Lordy.] When I finally looked up, he was gone. I turned and saw him on both knees next to our booth, holding out a ring. I have never been so surprised, except for the time my roommates threw me a surprise 21st birthday party and I walked all the way through the house, talking (not very nicely, no doubt) about several of the people who were at the time hiding in the house only feet away, and then stopped to go to the bathroom with the door wide open, still talking about people (while peeing), and came out to see my roommates doubled-over laughing in the kitchen, and then everyone popped out and screamed "SURPRISE!!!" and I tell you I almost fell flat to the floor with shock (and complete embarrassment). The shock of being proposed to in that moment was second only to that. Of course I said yes and helped him slide into the booth beside me. His shirt was sopping, sopping wet with nervous sweat. Everyone in the place clapped. It was one of the best moments of my life. I don't think I'd ever been picked first for anything, ever, ever. I felt utterly, thoroughly chosen. We'd known each other for years before we even started dating. If you'd asked me, when I met him in 1989, if I thought we'd be married someday I would've said not in a million, bo-billion years, man. It seemed as likely as becoming a zoologist, or a strawberry farmer, or a detective. So, go figure. Anything can happen.

I loved being engaged. Loved it. I liked the wedding, too, but the engagement anniversary always feels much more special to me than the wedding annivesary, somehow. And just in case you were wondering if this was still a craft blog, it is. I made that dress! Oh, and this is the picture I was talking about in this post about my grandma and her apartment building.


What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it.

What a great story! He really loves you, germy salad and all :)

That photo is lovely, you are both beautiful!

Alicia, you absolutely crack me up! I am dying laughing over the surprise party incident. You write so beautifully.

what a sweet and funny story! and i just about fell off my chair when you said you made your dress!! wow -- amazing.

what a great post~ love it! i love that it was so unexpected and in a pizza joint! how memorable! and..what a beautiful dress!

HOW GORGEOUS ARE YOU? And I'm getting married soon so I swooned over this story! Great stuff!

Oh that is so so sweet. And you look so beautiful. It's amazing what good taste you have, like the best ever, I mean your wedding picture doesn't look dated at all, how is that possible?!? Hehehe. Great story.

Lovely story. We might all behave a little better if we could see into the future!

so pretty! love your wedding photo. and um, I made my wedding dress too. that is not what a handmade wedding dress is supposed to look like - all gorgeous and perfect.

your engagement story is awesome! I love engagement stories. they're often such a comedy of errors. ours is the most boring 'so do you wanna' kind of story.

and I love when you write about oak park because I feel like you live here with me :) we were just standing outside st edmund's being blasted by bells after a saturday morning breakfast at george's.

Your posts are always filled with so much suspense! I knew you are married, from the gorgeous photo, but somehow you held my attention and I anxiously read waiting for your answer! Wonderful!


Your poor darling walking into the light fixture, how nervous he must have been!

Your wonderful dress. You made that? And I thought I had sewing potential. Oh forget it!

Your lovely smiling face in that photo. You're stunning!

Your horrible day magically turning into one of the best days of your life.

Thanks for sharing.

As always, great story!
Funny, i saw you on hgtv this morning!! I love your studio.

Happy Anniversary, you two love birds! I love reading your amazing story- of course I'm crying- and now I have to continue giving State tests! I love you!

Oh, so funny. What a beautiful story. I had to laugh because it really reminded me of when my hubby proposed...
He was late (getting my ring) picking me up for lunch on my work break. I was extremely irritated. He wanted to drive all the way ACROSS town to "our place"-the coffee shop where we had our first date. Well, I absolutely insisted that if HE wanted coffee, we should just go to the Peaberry's across the street since we were short on time already *cough, cough*(I was also being a brat). Anyway, I was in the middle of complaining about my day, when I look over to see him on the ground. I thought he fell or dropped his napkin or something and I was like, "what the heck are you doing?". (and yes, I'm that stupid) I was actually irritated because I was trying to tell him something and he was goofing around practically under my chair. Well, thank the Lord for sweet, understanding men. Of course, I said yes.

By the way, you look absolutely gorgeous. Has anyone ever told you you look like Courtney Cox? (that's a compliment by the way. just in case you don't like her.) What a beautiful dress, too.
...oh, gosh. sorry for the book. I love engagement stories. Happy engagement anniversary!

Well, if you're not one of the most gorgeous couples I've ever laid eyes on...

I love that phrase you used, "feeling utterly, thoroughly chosen". There is something incredibly powerful in that.

You looked truly beautiful in that dress! Love the story, very sweet. I'm engaged so I'm deep in the wedding planning trenches and loving it. Thanks for sharing!

Beautiful couple, beautiful story!

too funny.. and sweet! :) congratulations

Happy Anniversary to you too! Today I'm celebrating my two year engagement anniversay. Your story is way more fun than mine.
We picked out my ring together and when it was ready the, now, husband picked it up. We went to dinner, at the restaurant of our first date, and all through dinner he was too nervous to ask. When we got home he was relaxed enough to finally ask. He was very sweet and we couldn't be happier!

I enjoyed the engagement story and the link story....my my bless you and Andy......

crafty smafty..this is stuff we are made of!
tell it again, tell it again...

How lovely!

*whisper* psst! We always celebrate our engagement anniversary, too!

I love engagement stories too. Happy 10 year engagement anniversary! Isn't is just amazing how fast time flies? My hubby and I celebrate our 10 year anniversary this year too and while it seems impossible that it's been a decade. You, Andy and the dress are all glorious. Thanks for sharing!

What a beautiful photo and a sweet sweet post - u are such a gorgeous couple!!
Had to laugh at the germy salad bar - i too was addicted to those bacon bits u sprinkle on top!

Oh Alicia, you made me tear up. What a lovely proposal story! I know how you feel, my hubby proposed to me on our 3-year dating anniversary and the date is so much more meaningful than our wedding date. Cannot believe you MADE your dress! WOW!

Happy versary to the two of you. Alicia, you look gorgeous (that dress- you made?!! beautiful!), I see your face and feel like I know you (more than blog know you) but can't place it. Your dress, your groom, you, your day, all wonderful.

You've made me a little nostalgic for being engaged too, it was a very fun time. In honor I just ate an insane amount of sugar free Jello instant cheesecake pudding. There..I celebrated...xo

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com