Meet the Mosses
Kerry first met my parents at their retirement/leaving do. They were leaving to retire to France. It was a real baptism of fire for poor Kerry as he met my whole family in one go, and it's a large family! Later that night, I found out that Kerry had asked permission from my dad to ask me to marry him. I was very pleasantly surprised; Kerry isn't the most romantic of men and I had never imagined he would have been so traditional. My dad had replied that he wouldn't give his daughter away to just anyone, but to him he would do it with pleasure. This meant a lot to me. Kerry is the first boyfriend of mine who has ever had my parents' approval and whilst it's not necessary for a successful relationship, it certainly helps make it easier!
Then came the hypothetical engagement ring along with questions like 'If we were to get engaged what sort of ring would you like?' I was quite clear that a ruby would be a good choice. I like rubies; they're rare and red and are more funky than diamonds, and being a July-born baby, ruby is my birthstone. I found some beautiful ruby rings on the internet and was especially drawn to the more simple ones. The trouble with rings like these is that they do not sit well against a plain wedding band and I was very sure that I wouldn't want a shaped one. In my head, wedding rings should be simply circular, without kinks and bends.
Kerry was quite clear that he (hypothetically of course) would want white gold, and diamonds. He found the simple rings TOO simple. I think he didn't want people to think he was a cheapskate and wanted something more obviously expensive looking. We started searching together. 'Do you like this one?', 'Too fancy.', 'How about this?', 'Too big.', it became like our own version of The Cat In The Hat.
Kerry eventually found a most beautiful ring. As soon as he showed me the picture I was taken back to the time we had first got together and I had spotted a very similar ring in a high street jewellers:
I had even pointed this out to my daughter and jokingly said 'Imagine if Kerry ever asks me to marry him.... well if he does I'd want a ring like this one, but not as elaborate.' Neither did I want a ring from a high street jewellers. Not because I don't like them, but because I wanted something different; something I wasn't likely to see on someone else's finger.
Here is the ring Kerry picked out:
One of the things I love about it is that because the oval ruby is set on its side, the ring sits well against a plain wedding band. Result!! The ring arrived in the post and Kerry asked if I wanted to see it. I didn't. I told him I would see it if ever he proposed. So we had a ring, and still the hypothetical question of marriage remained hypothetical. The weeks went by, and the weeks turned to months. I had given up guessing when (or if) he was going to pop the question. Trying to second-guess Kerry is a most unproductive pastime!
In the summer we both went out to France to visit my parents. Kerry had never been to France before and so we planned a short trip away to Paris while we were there. I wasn't keen on Paris. I've been a couple of times before and it never floated my boat, but, this being Kerry's first time in France, I could understand why he'd want to go. Looking back now, I did wonder why my mum and dad stood at their door waving so enthusiastically and cheerfully as we left. At the time, I just thought they were happy to have a couple of days' peace and quiet and were pleased to see the back of us!! Little did I know that Kerry had already told them of his planned proposal in Paris. He had asked them if they thought I would say 'Yes,' to which my mother replied 'Well if she doesn't, leave her in Paris!'.
Paris was Paris; not my cup of tea, nor Kerry's either as it turned out. It's a hectic, busy, messy place. I have no idea why it's perceived to be such a romantic city. We visited the Eiffel Tower and the queues to go up to the top were wearily long. We decided not to bother, but to sit instead by the fountains of the Trocadero, where we could see the tower, rather than be looking at everything else from it, and soak up the glorious sunshine, watching the mad world go by. It was a beautiful afternoon and lovely to just lounge on the grass by the water in the sunshine with the man I love taking time out to simply relax and enjoy each other's company in a beautiful place.
At one point, Kerry rolled over towards me and said 'So will you marry me then?', 'Yes!' I declared, not even realising that this time he had ommitted the 'ifs'. 'So do you want your ring then?' he asked, 'What now?', suddenly realising that this was no longer a hypothetical question....... 'Yes!'. The ring was duly produced from his pocket and placed on my finger. We were engaged! We took another stroll towards the Eiffel Tower and asked a kindly Texan lady to take our picture to mark the occasion:
Later that evening we celebrated with a drink in a bar opposite the Moulin Rouge. We decided to set a date straight away and considered the following year. This was to be the year we both turned 40, so we decided against getting married that summer as we already had two big parties to plan. Kerry suggested the Autumn, but I really preferred to set a summer date. After a quick check of the diary we realised that two years to the day would be a Saturday (I have a sneaky suspicion that Kerry already knew this before he even proposed...) and the date was set; 11th June 2011. I like the double 11s - they sounded lucky to me. And we found out later that this date would be the anniversary of my late paternal grandmother's birthday, so there was an added bonus of sentiment to that happy date.
Both families were thrilled. On returning to my parents' house they cracked open the pink champagne and we revelled in our own happiness, chatting weddings. The planning began.