So now that we know each other it is time for some history. Late 2015 brought with it a proposal; a proposal in the traditional sense of the word. I kind of knew it was coming, but I am happy to say I was still very surprised, which I think every girl wants. Some context first.
Paris. December. New year’s eve fast approaching. On the morning of the 30th we rose as we had done the couple of days before, to a clear crisp Parisian winter’s morning expecting a day of shopping, sights, a few drinks; the usual stuff of a city holiday. I dress accordingly. My favourite black top, under a layer or two of other tops to keep me warm, and a cashmere coat. Hair piled high. The look was, let’s say, functional and appropriate for a day treading the pavements of Paris. I will note at this point that notwithstanding the seven – yes seven – pieces of luggage that accompanied me on this holiday, each brimming with all manner of attire, from the sublime to the ridiculous, on the day in question I managed to end up wearing the same £5 black top that I purchased from Forever21 in 2000 and something. You know the one – we all have that one go-to comfort top (or is it just me?).
As we wander without a care in the world through this crisp winter’s day; in and out of the occasional shop, stopping to window shop at others. Matt is playing his usual role as amateur tour guide conveying all the necessary (and some completely irrelevant) facts as we meander our way through the Parisian streets. My guide steers me towards the right bank of the River Seine. We pass by the breathtaking Classical architecture of the Grand Palais; the Eiffel Tower in clear view across the Left Bank. I walk, as I think everyone does in Paris, constantly amazed by the beauty and atmosphere of the city; whether it is the narrow streets of Le Marais, the wide Haussmannian boulevards, and every single view of the Eiffel Tower. I am lucky enough to have visited Paris before and this time, like others, she never disappoints. I am so happy to be there.
We arrive at what I now know to be Pont Alexandre III, one of the city’s most beautiful and extravagant bridges. We walk across. Not far in, Matt stops us and we take in the view. He looks at me, drops to one knee and goes for his pocket. In one, he takes my hand, the ring ready, tells me how much he loves me and asks me to marry him. He stares up at me, waiting for an answer. He tells me that to him that felt like an eternity, his 38 year old knee straining down there in the chill of that winter’s day. All in one I was ecstatic; full of emotion welling up; and totally, totally in love. “Yes” is all I simply said, so purposefully and so automatically at the same time. Beaming, indulging my real life love story as it continued to unfold in front of me. As my fiancee rose from one knee, we kissed and held each other.
This being 2015, and society being what it is, we then of course took the mandatory series of selfies to record the special moment. We took many more shots than was really necessary; chin angled down, you know how it is. I must say I’m usually better dressed on a school run, thankfully the setting and scenery more than made up for it.
In a moment of comedy that I told Matt about later, when he dropped to one knee I almost got down there with him as some sort of instant reaction. Pity at the sight of a grown man heading to the pavement I wanted to automatically join him down there; thankfully realising what he was doing a nano-second before my own knee bent to join him there, like an altar boy and girl duo, bended knee on the asphalt of that bridge.
As we pulled ourselves away from the moment, Matt tells me that we are heading to the Plaza Athénée, one of the most exclusive hotels in the world, for lunch to celebrate the occasion of our engagement. At this point, while being the happiest woman in the world, I am in equal part dying on a cross at the thought of sitting down for lunch hair that would’ve made Amy Winehouse proud, wearing a 3 year old polyester top from Forever21, surrounded by the beautiful people in a hotel literally located at ground zero of the fashion world: Avenue Montaigne. Deep breath, we arrive, I immediately decamp to the nearest bathroom where I compose myself with a plait of the hair, a stroke of lippy, a re-touch of the eyeliner and a splash of Chanel No. 5 (always keep this legend in your handbag). I return with full decorum, fit for the surroundings and we indulge our love with champagne and a long lunch….and me having the opportunity to take in the full magnificence of the perfect diamond now forever ensconced on the ring finger of my left hand.
As if he knew I needed a small mercy, Matt told me at lunch we were going to dinner at 114Faubourg, a simply amazing restaurant that we’ve enjoyed before, for dinner in the evening. My horror at the thought of eating dinner having had more than a cracker and a coffee for lunch abated quickly as I saw this for what it was. As always, the chance to spend an evening with the man of my dreams, and at the same time an opportunity to fully atone the complete lack of sartorial input that accompanied my otherwise perfect proposal.
On the way back to the hotel Matt treated me, as he does, to a couple of pairs of exceptional shoes from Luciano Padovan. Spoiled rotten, that gave me an opportunity to push the boat right out. And I did. Dinner was, of course, Michelin star outstanding. We made our way back to our hotel for…Netflix and chill.
A prologue to this story. I subsequently found out that Matt had done “the right thing”, before the proposal. My father passed away 9 years ago and so Matt could obviously not ask my father for permission to marry his daughter in the old fashioned way. Instead Matt went for the next most senior man and asked Cole, my seven year old son, Matt’s step son, for that permission. Cole said he would consider the question and revert “after school”. After due consideration, permission was duly granted, in writing.
So that is my little fairy tale so far. A totally perfect day of many more since and to come…