What’s Step One?

I was originally going to write this post about finding the first step of wedding planning. But”¦it makes more sense to start with what’s actually step zero of wedding planning—getting engaged!

I’m almost positive that every girl has dreamed at least once about the perfect proposal. If you haven’t, then you clearly haven’t been on Pinterest. Like many women, I too once sighed and dreamed about how amazing my proposal might be. I even went so far as to daydream about Mr. Whale booking a secret photographer to take pictures of the proposal.


Have you ever seen something so disgustingly cute? (Image from Marry This! / Image by Shay Stephens)

But of course, I didn’t fall in love with the type of guy who would think of doing such a thing. I fell in love with a guy who is so bad at planning that he consistently runs out of breakfast cereal, because even after 30-plus years of eating breakfast, he can’t figure out how much cereal he’s going to go through in a week. And he’s supposed to plan a romantic proposal? Not a chance.

Knowing how hilariously bad at planning he is, I knew I had to make some compromises with respect to our engagement. For at least a year, I knew that the proposal was coming eventually. We had discussed marriage in that giddy “I know you’re the one but it’s not official yet” way for a while. But I was pretty sure that unless I let him know that it didn’t have to be a big event, he would just never get around to doing it.

What worried me the most was the ring. That ring is a BIG part of the proposal planning process (accidental alliteration, anyone?). I had two desires for my engagement. I wanted a beautiful ring (duh). But simultaneously, I wanted to be surprised by the proposal. (It’s so hard to surprise me. I figure it out EVERY time, even when I’m not trying.) I wanted my face to look like this when he proposed.


Image from Mom Gets a Life / Image by CBS Entertainment

So I definitely did not want to go ring shopping and then know that a proposal would be coming soon, because the surprise would be ruined. And so, I eventually just had to make a compromise in my mind. I decided that I didn’t need a ring for the proposal to be special.

That did the trick! I wasn’t stressed out about what ring he would pick (or whether we would ever get married). And he wasn’t stressed about trying to plan some super-special proposal! And he proposed!! Yay! (More on that next time.)

Did anyone else have a ringless proposal? Was it still wonderful?


Mrs. Blue Whale

College Park, MD
Wedding Date:
May 2013
Pretty Little Wedding Shoes
The Beanstalks Are Married!
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  1. Member
    mssmiley 349 posts, Helper bee @ 4:38 pm

    i’m not a ring person and never have been…. so FI and I went ring shopping several times. I’d also email him pictures of what I liked…this gave him lots of ideas of what to choose. and it just so happened that a girl who i used to work with was working at one of the jewelry stores we went to, so he ended up buying my ring from her. i’m sure he appreciated having an opinion from someone who knows me. i love the ring he picked out so much!

  2. otter Member
    otter 1321 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:38 pm

    Ohhh, this is such a tease!!! I want the proposal story IN FULL! :)

  3. Member
    00rubyred 68 posts, Worker bee @ 5:52 pm

    FI proposed to me sorta out of the blue I knew it was coming ( he blabbers when he drinks and he had a bit to much at his birthday celebration) We were on the couch in pjs talking about doing a haunted bar crawl for halloween when he just stopped and said how wonderful I made everything and asked. It was magical

  4. Member
    mrshovzilla 670 posts, Busy bee @ 7:31 pm

    Yep! And it was glorious! Plus, I got to pick out my dream ring and its amazing! Double whammy 😀

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Wedding Wardrobe, Guest @ 10:45 pm

    This is a similar case to ours or at least partially. I wasn’t a surprise after all as I knew it will come that proposal but as for the ring I was the one to tell him what to buy- he was stressed not to pass through an embarrassing moment of going to the shop and change the ring as if being one incompetent guy:))))

  6. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:49 pm

    Kind of. I wasn’t expecting an official ring proposal after the “ok, let’s plan a wedding” proposal, so the ring was a complete surprise

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Big Fat Indian Wedding, Guest @ 11:41 pm

    Awesome blog i like it… such a great post..

  8. Member
    mvest 389 posts, Helper bee @ 4:32 am

    We were in bed when DH proposed to me. He didn’t buy the ring until almost 7 months later.

  9. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:42 am

    PBear apparently thought about doing a ringless proposal, but the ring was almost finished anyways, so he just waited a bit (and about drove me nuts, but that’s another story)

    unrelated note, looooove your profile picture. that’s so awesome

  10. mswallaby Member
    mswallaby 2070 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:43 am

    I can’t wait to hear the full story! :)

  11. Member
    Teeny287 59 posts, Worker bee @ 6:04 am

    I love that first photo. My engagement was while my family was on vacation. My [now fiance] had told me that he couldn’t make my family vacation to Gatlinburg, TN last spring. I was bummed but excited to have the vacation anyway–with or without him. Well he told my family he was going but not to tell me. My mom accidentally blurted that he was surprising me by complete accident so I ended up knowing he was coming after all. Therefore, I figured something had to be up and my suspicions of a proposal engulfed. However, I was still completely shocked about when he did it. My fiance is very shy and personal about things. I never in a million years thought he would propose to me in front of my family. But of course he did and everyone around me knew…they were all waiting for it. How did I not notice? I had emailed him photos of my dream ring but it was online and he wasn’t sure of the warrenty so he went with a local jeweler and bought me something completely different and I love it. Plus the ring I always wanted is traditionally more of an anniversary ring so I will have it later. (best of both right?) lol…Congrats on your engagement.I am looking forward to more of your proposal story. :)

  12. Guest Icon Guest
    Army Amy*, Guest @ 6:05 am

    I had a ring at my proposal, but my brother (who just got married in September) proposed to his wife with a ring pop. She is super stylish and he wanted her to have a say in the ring, but he didn’t want to serve up nothing. I thought it was so sweet! And so did she – she said yes and later they picked out the most gorgeous ring together!*

  13. Member
    Ms.Bookworm 215 posts, Helper bee @ 6:19 am

    I went shopping for the ring with my now husband…but he waited 4 MONTHS after he bought it to give it to me! I was still crazily surprised even though I knew eventually it would happen.

  14. castle Member
    castle 1191 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:42 am

    Can’t wait to hear more! :)))

  15. Member
    lovelyduckie 756 posts, Busy bee @ 7:17 am

    LOL I dreamt of a secret photographer too, but he proposed after an exhausting hike up a mountain so I’m tankful there was no photographer. I liked my proposal a lot, it was as adorably awkward as he is about this stuff. He got down on one knee, looked at me, and froze. He kept looking at me waiting for an answer but he forgot to ask the question lol.

  16. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 7:25 am

    @00rubyred: haha! If girls had to propose, that’s probably how I would have ended up doing it :)

    @Miss Otter: You shouldn’t have to wait too much longer! :)

    @MrsHovzilla: Nice! That’s definitely a perk of the ringless proposal! Sometimes the big planned out surprise isn’t best!

    @Miss Panda: Yeah, that’s probably my favorite pictures that’s ever happened :)

    @Teeny287: It’s so nice when a guy puts a lot of ever into it. It sounds so sweet, even if your mom did ruin some of the surprise haha.

  17. Member
    Highness 82 posts, Worker bee @ 7:29 am

    I’m so picky and and wasn’t sure what was going to stand out to me that the FI proposed with 3 little tin rings from claires and then we got to spend a couple months ring shopping. Yes months. But it’s an awesome ring and I even had custom made guards I can’t wait to wear it in 9 days!!

  18. bluewhale Member
    bluewhale 638 posts, Busy bee @ 8:00 am

    @lovelyduckie: Bahahaha! That’s awesome!

  19. Member
    sopraffina 36 posts, Newbee @ 8:05 am

    I’m glad there was no secret photographer, because I looked like crap. I had a strong feeling it was going to happen at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant in Vegas on our vacation. I bought a $300 dress for the greatest night of my life. During the plane ride, he kept commenting that he had to keep an eye on our luggage because he had a “big surprise” in there. Then, when we got to the hotel at midnight, I put on my raggedy old pajamas. He got down on one knee next to the bed while I was reading the hotel information book. He proposed and immediately started talking about how he got insurance on the ring and I could get free cleanings whenever I wanted to, before I even said yes. I didn’t cry, but I didn’t let my disappointment show. He later said that he didn’t wait because he hadn’t eaten in days out of nervousness and was also afraid to leave the ring in the room until our dinner two days later. I should also mention that he had told me he had his late mother’s engagement ring. When I saw my ring, I knew it was a modern ring, and it is gorgeous, but I also knew that his dad didn’t like me enough to let him give his mother’s ring to me. It was a weird night.

  20. msfox Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:57 am

    That’s *exactly* how ours was.. nothing special (well, the timing that is) and no ring. He asked me on a random Sunday night when we were watching a movie, and we went and got the ring a few days later (he said all the choices overwhelmed him, heh)!

  21. Member
    bretonvirgniia 1656 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:48 am

    I had a ringless proposal in St Lucia. My hubby was planning to let me pick one out in St Lucia (I didn’t find one at a reasonable price and the lady was trying to scam us :s) When we got back to Toronto we went ring shopping together the next day and he and I went and bought one. He re-proposed to me at the Eatons centre so he could put the ring on my finger properly :)

  22. Member
    jacofblues 1468 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:54 pm

    Awwww thats so good that you came to terms with it all! I love how you made two alliterations there 😉

  23. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 11:44 am

    Ours was a ringless proposal! Mr. D ran out of time before we went on our road trip during which he proposed — he technically had two gift shop rings that didn’t fit, though, and a $30 amber ring we bought the next day, but it took a month or so to get my ‘real’ ring.

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