Our Engagment

A surprise proposal in Roman ruins after months apart...Spoiler alert, I said yes!

Our Engagment

A surprise proposal in Roman ruins after months apart...Spoiler alert, I said yes!

Throughout five years of dating, Ian and I had hardly been apart for more than a few weeks at a time...so after four months of studying abroad, I missed him like crazy! It took me a while, but I finally convinced him to fly over to Rome and go backpacking with me once both our semesters ended. The only problem was mine ended ten days earlier.

I planned to travel alone for ten days before Ian could arrive, and although my mom hated the idea of me traveling alone, she agreed on the condition that I send her an incredibly detailed itinerary. I sent it to her, and after googling Cinque Terra, she immediately picked up the phone and called me. "I didn't know places like this existed...I'm booking a flight right now!" I was thrilled- I would get to show my mom...and sister and aunt, as it turns out...the country I'd grown to love over the past few months!

I planned an ambitious ten day tour of Italy, starting in my town Castiglion Fiorentino, and on to Assisi, Florence, Venice, Cinque Terra, and Rome. We set off on May 3rd, arriving back in Rome the same day Ian landed, May 13th. We would all have one overlapping day to explore Rome together.

I woke up early to get ready and asked my sister help me with my makeup. I wore a €7 dress I had bought in Germany and a combination of two lipsticks I had bought in Florence because one was too bright and the other too dark. After four long months, I was so excited but surprisingly nervous to see him! We walked to the airport and my heart was actually pounding as I waited for him at International Arrivals...but as soon as he walked through the door and smiled, I felt a huge sigh of relief. I ran and hugged him...he felt familiar and safe.

I told them to pack light...

We took Ian back to the hotel to drop off his stuff and freshen up before heading into Rome for the afternoon. It was a thirty minute shuttle into the city and I was eager to start catching up with my boyfriend and showing my family around on their last day! I was nervous for everything to go smoothly and we almost missed the shuttle because my sister decided to run back to room to change shoes at the last minute (this is important later), but we made it!

We had a fantastic evening walking around classic Roman landmarks...running into friends at the Pantheon, eating gelato at the Trevi Fountain, shopping for souvenirs, and eating our fill of homemade pasta! Finally, we walked back to the bus stop for our 11pm shuttle back to the hotel.

We were a little early to the bus stop- which happened to be the gorgeous Altar of the Fatherland monument- so Ian and I decided to walk a ways on our own since we hadn't had a chance to be alone since he arrived. We walked around the side of the monument and spotted a lovely, long staircase that we couldn't even see the top of in the quiet darkness, and we decided to find out where it led. We held hands and walked up the mystery staircase, telling each other how much we missed each other, loved each other, and never wanted to be apart again...it was pretty much a movie scene. Once we reached the top, I looked around amazed! We had found a beautiful piazza, or plaza, with a grand statue of Marcus Aurelius in the center.

I looked back at Ian, expecting him to also be looking around in wonder, but he wasn't. He was looking straight at me. He got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. I squeaked "Ian!" immediately started crying, forgot to say "yes," and threw my arms around him!

I vaguely noticed my mom and sister taking pictures in the distance, but not much else. I couldn't stop thinking about how shiny my ring was! Once the tears subsided, I realized it was the ring that I designed! At the time, I was a custom jewelry artist at David Gardner's Jewelers and had (of course) told my coworkers exactly what I wanted...He had used the four months I was gone to sneakily work with them to create my dream engagement ring! I couldn't stop hugging him until finally I met my family and we walked back down to board the bus.

We all had early flights but stayed up late calling friends and family with the good news anyways. The next morning, my family boarded a flight home and Ian and I were off to spend our first week as fiances exploring Switzerland, Croatia, and Paris!

People always ask me if I was surprised...and yes! Ian was saying all the things you would expect to say after being apart for four months...it just so happened to be a perfect intro to a proposal!

Once the secret was out, I loved listening to all the pre-proposal stories- including all the times someone almost gave it away! For instance, if my sister hadn't run back to the hotel room to change shoes at the last minute, the proposal might not have happened after all...She ran back into the room to find the ring laying right in the middle of the floor! Apparently Ian had dropped it, no one noticed, and we almost took a half hour bus ride into Rome without the ring! *Side note: This is a great reason for proposals to be on the first day of a vacation as opposed to the last...Not to mention we got to tour Europe as excited fiances instead of Ian being nervous about proposing all week!

My mom and sister were so relieved when Ian proposed- they had been so tense all night waiting for it!

At the Pantheon they thought, "This is so beautiful, surely he'll propose here!"...But he didn't.

As we were eating gelato, "What a sweet moment, this is his chance!"...Nope.

At the Trevi Fountain, "Allison loves the Trevi Fountain, this is what he's been waiting for!"...But it was under construction.

Ian said he had wanted to pop the question at the Trevi Fountain but since it was under construction, decided to wing it and "wait for the right moment." I guess he knew what he was doing because a romantic walk to a surprise piazza in Rome, with my family standing by, was perfetto!