Sponsored by Diamondport
This is a bit of a personal, loved-up post. Along with Valentines Day, this week also marked five years since JS and I got engaged. I’m feeling a little sentimental and I’m going to tell you about how I came to be Mrs Smith.
I was 20 when I met JS, he was 21. We were so young: studying, living at home and yet to dip more than a toe into ‘adulting’. JS wasn’t ever romantic in the traditional sense but he’s always been very charismatic and I had little control over how hard I fell for him. A few years later we’d moved in together (which, quite honestly, was nearly a non-starter after we decided we were capable of moving all of our own things using a horse float #PoorJudgement #NoCharismaThatDay). A few more years on, we’d learned a lot about ourselves (like, that my cooking skills leave a lot to be desired) and each other (like, that JS may never outgrow his youthful love of a good party). After seven years together, we’d bought a home and welcomed a schnoodle, Archie Boo Smith, into our lives and I’d known for a long while that in JS, I had found the love of my life.
Our time together has been perforated with JS traveling for work, often on extended trips. In mid-December of 2012, JS took off to Panama for a ‘two-week’ work trip. By February 2013, we’d been apart more than six weeks and there was no sign of the work being completed anytime soon. We had three options: JS could come home for a visit, I could visit Panama OR we could meet somewhere else. After some quick maths, we planned a meetup in New York!
A snowy NYC rendezvous
With barely a few days notice we both set off: me, burying my near-paralysing travel anxiety deep inside and J navigating several missed attempts to make it out of Panama. Finally, we met up in New York City for five very chilly, and very magical, New York City days.By day three, a snowstorm had rolled into the city. Through crazy coincidence, JS and I have been in NYC for two of the biggest snow events in the past couple of decades. Let me tell you this: the ‘city that never sleeps’ shuts down in a blizzard. It is not a time to be outdoorsy. After braving the increasingly wild weather in the morning, we took refuge in an old-world cigar bar on 50-somethingth street for the afternoon. Rugged up indoors, we watched snow billow past on the street. Several hours and several more dirty martini’s later, we went in search of some food and found a steakhouse where JS had ‘the best steak of his life’. (Later, he’d claim the steak was ‘the turning point’ toward our impending engagement.) After dinner, JS told me he wanted to take me somewhere.
People asked later if I had any inkling as to what was about to happen and the answer is yes. I knew something was up. There was a bit of magic in the air. Which is why I allowed myself to be led in circles around New York in a blizzard (an afternoon of dirty martinis doesn’t help one’s sense of direction) before we arrived on a deserted 5th avenue, nowhere in particular and certainly not the at aforementioned ‘somewhere’. JS spun around to face me and grabbed my mitten-clad hands. “Rara, will you marry me?”. There was no bended knee, no ring, but it was every inch JS: a little bit intoxicated, not entirely sure of our destination but up for anything and perfect in every way. More than a little giddy myself, I asked several questions before blurting “yes!”.
Choosing an engagement ring
After our five days of glorious, snow-covered escapism, JS went back to his project in Panama and I came home. It was another two and a half months before he followed me, which gave me plenty of time to contemplate the type of engagement rings Brisbane had on offer. JS knows I am very particular and I was glad to have the opportunity to choose a ring together. My googling told me we’d have better value for money buying from a wholesale diamond merchant. We found someone locally and after considering a whole range of options, we picked a cushion cut diamond and a halo ring design.
A torturously long wait
Despite me thinking I’d just had the longest wait of my life hanging out for JS to return from his ‘two-week’ work trip, the wait to receive the ring felt even longer. We had several missed delivery dates and a whole range of infuriating customer service. The finished product is a ring I love dearly, but the process we went through was enough to evoke one’s inner bridezilla and take joy out of what was otherwise a wonderful time. I wish we’d done a bit more research beyond stones and price to find someone who would have guaranteed a great experience.
How to have a great engagement ring purchase experience
So how do you know who are good providers and who are not? Five years later, we are now pretty spoilt with Google and Facebook reviews which quickly give you a sense of customer sentiment. I was invited to write this post in partnership with specialists in engagement rings Brisbane, Diamondport. I was initially a little cautious… I’m out of the engagement ring market and wouldn’t ordinarily recommend someone I haven’t purchased from. So instead, I did the research I wish I’d done 5 years ago.
What I learned about Diamondport
I was enormously impressed to find that Ashley Portas at Diamondport has 166 x 5-star reviews on Google and 49 x 5-star reviews on Facebook without a single review of 4 stars or lower. Plus Ash – a self-confessed romantic – has received a whole bundle of detailed, gushing customer testimonials about his care and attention to detail. Ashley is also a wholesale diamond merchant, so if like we were, you’re looking for the very best price on a diamond, he’s got you covered. Next time we’re shopping for diamonds (because honestly is there such a thing as too many diamonds!?) or I’m asked for an engagement ring recommendation, I will absolutely be pointing to Ash.
Five years on
We were married in the November 2013 (some pics here) and life has continued to deliver us love and lessons and schnoodles (Sadie Sue Smith joined our family in 2016).
JS hasn’t become a romantic, but I’ve learned that love comes in forms other than red roses or meticulously executed proposals… like a custom-built wardrobe. Or taking care of dinner while I write a blog post. Or advocating for gender equality. Or a tag on a cute dog meme during a tough day. Sometimes great acts of love look different to the ones we see in the movies.
Are you a romantic? Is your partner? If you’re engaged or married, how did your proposal happen?