This past weekend, history was made. Jonathan Tony got himself a fiancé. You want to hear the story? Of course you do. You have a heart, don’t you?
I knew a few months ago that I wanted to ask Brittany to marry me so I went to pick out a ring with my friend Bharath. I walked into the jeweler on a Saturday morning in October and decided to say something dumb to kick it off with the owner. “I’m looking to pick out an engagement ring. I’ve never done this before… which I guess is normal.” I knew what I wanted it to be like and found a great design after looking at a few of them. The owner asked me what her ring size was and I then realized that that was something I should have found out but forgot to. So I guessed. Then the owner asked me to put a down payment on it, and then I gave Bharath a look and said, “I forgot my wallet.” At that moment I felt like the jeweler was going to ask me, “Are you sure you want to get engaged, buddy?” Bharath was too stingy to just be a good friend and pay for the ring himself, but luckily the owner let me pay him later.
I went in October thinking it would take a few weeks to a month or so to have it made. Turns out that the one I wanted was in the store already, with only a few modifications to be made. So I ended up getting it back a week later and had to hold onto it and hide it until I finally got to give it to Brittany. I’m horrible at keeping secrets, especially one that big. I almost let it slip a few times but by the grace of God I kept my mouth shut well enough. I started referring to the ring around some of my friends as “the sandwich.” The Army should contact me to help with their code words.
I knew I wanted to surprise Brittany on the spot when I asked, and I wanted it to just be her and me for that moment. But I also wanted friends to celebrate right after. I was thinking about doing it in New York when we went with my sister and brother-in-law. And then I thought about doing it later in Florida. But DC will always be special to us, so I wanted to do it while we were still there. So I set up a good-bye party for her and me at one of our favorite spots in the city, Penn Social, on Saturday night. It was really just to celebrate the engagement. As I said, I am horrible at secrets so if anyone talked to me about the party I ended up telling them what the real purpose was. Brittany just thought we were going to see everyone and say goodbye and stuff.
Monday nights is when my church meets and Brittany was going to come with me, but my friend Sam and I wanted to go scout out good places by the Capitol for the proposal afterwards. So I talked Brittany out of coming to church for the first time ever, which was pretty hard to do, honestly. (And that’s a good thing.) I lied to her and told her the service went long. I’m glad I don’t have to keep lying to her now.
I told Brittany that I wanted her and I to go to dinner one last Saturday night in DC before we met up with everyone. So we went to one of my favorite places, Matchbox in Eastern Market. The plan was to go to the Capitol afterwards and a few of my friends would be hiding in the bushes taking pictures and then come out and celebrate right after I asked her. But I needed an excuse to go to the Capitol, so I told her my roommate Mike said there was a band playing there, and that it was a nice night for a walk…even though it was about 35 degrees and really windy. You know, perfect night for a stroll.
I had told the crew that I was shooting to be there around 8pm and to get there by 7:45ish, but of course it was the one night we didn’t have a long wait at dinner. So we were way ahead of schedule. Sam, who was going to be taking the pictures, wasn’t there yet. So I had to stall.
I went to the bathroom about 12 times. Decided we should get dessert. Then I had a sudden craving for Starbucks. Went to the bathroom there, too. Brittany was walking fast because she was cold, which also wasn’t helping. I spotted a CVS and asked (and this is verbatim what was said), “Oh, do you have any gum?” “Yeah, I do.” “Ok I’m going to go in and get some gum.” I tried to wander down the aisles and she said, “The gum is up at the front.” “Oh, I thought maybe they had a candy aisle. Oh, which one should I get. Look at all the choices.” She never knew I took my gum flavors so seriously.
By the time we were walking out of the store on Pennsylvania Ave, my friends were ready. I knew where they’d be hiding so I wanted Brittany to not see them, so I started making up random facts about the architecture of the Capitol. I used a lot of hand signals. They heard us coming because Brittany saw someone walking a dog and loudly exclaimed, “I LOVE DOGS!” We were ready.
I got to the spot that Sam and I had mapped out and had her stop and look at me. I gave her a few really nice lines and then dropped to my knee and asked her to marry me. She was laughing and making excited woman noises and never actually said yes. I had told my friends to wait to come out until I put the ring on her finger, but she had her gloves on and wouldn’t stand still. So I grabbed her hand and made her take off her glove, and then they came running out celebrating with us.
All of it was perfect.
We went to the party and got to see all of our amazing friends in the city, and I have to say, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as loved and supported as I have this weekend. I know beyond doubt that people genuinely care about me. It is a gift that I am so grateful to the Lord for. I felt like the richest man in the world. Still do.
If someone where to ask me, “What advice do you have for someone about to propose?” I’d answer, “Be ready for whatever you have planned to have some changes, and be ready to improvise.” I suppose that’s the same advice I’d give for our daily lives, too. I’m a man who’s had a lot of plans and very few of them ever go accordingly. But the grace of God gives us the ability to improvise. And I can say that I wouldn’t change any of the changes. I hope you can agree.