First of all, we are already married. We wanted to support our vendors by making recommendations to other couples... so we came here to write up some reviews (please do so for your vendors, it is good for them and good for other potential clients!).
Eleanor and I met at church in early 2008. There are not a lot of "singles" around and we noticed each other and went out on our first date in July 2008 (She made the first move, but her email to me was stopped by my spam filter).
Neither of us is very young (I'm 44 and she is in her mid-30s) and we both had the attitude of "seriousness" about getting married. I was dating with the hope of finding "that someone" but had gotten to the point in my life where it was a very real possibility that I wasn't going to get married. I wasn't unhappy, but resigned to that possibility.
We started dating and both felt pretty quickly that this was something "real". I proposed at dinner on New Years Eve and she (obviously) said "Yes".
We then proceeded to the crazy wedding planning stage and our adventure with the "Wedding Industrial Complex" as Eleanor is fond of calling it.
We moved in together in late May 2009 and were married on 5 September 2009.
We honeymooned in Hawaii for one week starting one week after our wedding.
My father had met Eleanor and had the clear sense that things were serious. He called me one day and asked if I was considering asking Eleanor to marry me. I said "Yes" and he said that he had something for me.
He drove over to my apartment and brought out a necklace. It had been given to my grandmother by my grandfather on their 50th wedding anniversary. It was a very 1980s setting (I don't think I have a picture, but I'll look) and a beautiful, fairly large pear shaped diamond.
He said that my grandmother would have loved for me to use it as the basis for the engagement ring.
Both my father and mother said that I should let Eleanor pick out the setting for the stone (I later learned that for logistical reasons, my father bought an engagement ring which my mother was not super fond of).
This sounded great. I had a beautiful stone and I was freed from having to try to pick out the engagement ring myself. Win! Win!
So, I asked Eleanor to marry me at dinner on New Year's Eve at the end of 2008 and presented her with the necklace.
We went to a jeweler friend of Eleanor's mother to pick out a ring. I sat around, made idle suggestions, but she found a ring with a pear shaped tanzenite(?). She loved it and the stone from my grandmother fit perfectly. Even better, the setting was designed by the jeweler, so it was a unique piece.
The jeweler made a custom wedding ring (shown) that interlocks with the engagement ring. Eleanor wears her ring on her right hand as she is left-handed.