Guys who want to buy an engagement ring will do one of two things: either bring their partner in to pick out the one she wants, or buy one they think she would like. Well, let me tell you my story.
First, I should mention that Sarah is not one to wear jewelry. I learned that early on in our relationship when I bought her a heart necklace for Christmas and we returned it and got a coffee table set.
After five years together, though, it was time to buy a ring. I wanted it to be a complete surprise, so bringing her in to pick out the one she wanted was not an option. I didn't think getting one off the shelf would work, either. I got the bright idea that maybe I would try to design a ring. I had an idea what I wanted, but I wasn't sure if it was possible.
I asked around about the jewelry stores in town. Of course, everybody had a different opinion on where to go and why. I like to support the locals more than the big chains, so I decided to walk into Jewels on Ninth.
Choosing the perfect ring with a little help from my new friends at Jewels on Ninth
When I first walked in I was completely nervous and not even sure if I could explain what I wanted, or if it was even possible. I got super lucky, as the store owner Heather was the one who greeted me and started to make me feel a little less nervous. She asked me all the right questions and was very positive and excited to get the process started. She said she would work with her team to come up with a couple of ideas and show them to me.
I went back up North for my shift, and I think maybe a week went by when Heather called and told me they had some ideas they wanted to show me. I was floored, because the ideas they came up with were exactly what I had pictured in my head. She said the ring would be ready in six to eight weeks. I figured no big deal, take your time.
I think it was five weeks later when Heather phoned and left a message saying the ring had arrived and I could pick it up anytime. The tone in her voice sounded excited, which was contagious and got me excited. When I got back for days off I went into the store and was greeted by Heather and all the staff with huge smiles on their faces. She showed me the ring, and it was perfect!
Popping the question: First try goes down in flames
The first part of this stressful journey was over. Now for the really hard part: popping the question. I didn't want to do the normal cliche things every guy does in every movie, with flower petals or the ring in her food or in a drink. So one night I built a sign out of rope soaked in white gas, surrounded by steel wool attached to a timer and a 9V battery. It would say “marry me” when it lit up. However, stupid me forgot that I was just gonna short out the battery, because I applied tinfoil to the back of the wood so the whole sign wouldn’t catch on fire. I must have gone through three batteries before I finally gave up on that.
Popping the question: Second try interrupted
So the next idea I had was just a nice dinner at home. Being from the East Coast, I got two lobsters, some crab legs and mussels (and a salad, just to have some greenery). Halfway through the meal a buddy showed up and hung out with us for the evening, and by the time he left my nerves were shot and it was late.
On my next days off I was determined to get this over with. I was tired of being nervous she might find the ring, which was silly because I hid it in the one place she would never find it or even look - my gun locker. But I also wanted to hear her say yes. I mean, I knew she was going to, but there is always that little chance she might not.
Popping the question: Third try gets it just right (Almost)
So I made her a nice steak dinner. It was lovely weather outside, so we ate out on the deck. As she was putting a piece of steak into her mouth (not the best timing), I put the box on the table and said, “So...”
That was it. There was no pouring out of feelings or a speech. I simply froze and said, “So.” Lame, I know, but when she opened the box and realized what it was, her eyes lit up and a huge smile came across her face. She knew exactly what I was doing and said Yes!
A few months passed and one night Sarah and I were talking about our wedding bands. I said let’s get something simple and easy, because most of the time I won't be wearing mine anyways with what I do for work. She laughed and said, “simple is no longer an option.” Take note on this, guys. Engagement rings and wedding bands come as a set for a reason. I had no idea.
The purchase was a flawless awesome experience
So off again I went back to Jewels on Ninth. I walked in the door and was greeted by everybody, including Heather, asking what Sarah’s answer was. I said, well, I guess we gotta design a wedding band now. Heather said not to worry about a thing, that we could figure it out, but she would need the engagement ring back in order to fit it perfectly to the wedding band.
She sent pictures of how the wedding and engagement ring would look. I loved what Heather and her team came up with, and I told her to go ahead and make it. The rings came back and I was super happy with everything.
Throughout the whole process Heather never once said, “That can't be done,” or “No, that isn't possible.” She made sure that everything was flawless on her side, which made for an awesome experience.
A year and a bit after saying, “So...” my girlfriend became my wife. I still catch her now and then staring at her rings, which she absolutely loves to this day.
The perfect match
Patrick and Sarah O’Donnell were married on August 29, 2015, at Fort Steele, British Columbia.
Sarah’s rings: The engagement ring is an 18K palladium custom designed branch ring with a 0.52 Canadian Maple Leaf diamond. The wedding band was designed with a row of diamonds for additional sparkle.
Patrick’s ring: The wedding band is a special order palladium 7mm band with a brushed centre.
PHOTO: Arrangement and photo by Kelly Frampton
TOP PHOTO: Was taken by Kelly Frampton along the shores of Kootenay River near Fort Steele, BC.