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Carolyn C.

We planned this engagement to a T. And when I say "we, " I mean "we. " We had known a year ago that we wanted to get married in October of 2009, so we started planning. We decided to buy the ring together because I didn't feel like it was fair to put the financial burden on my graduate- student groom. We planned, designed, talked, researched and finally got the ring. However, we made one rule: the ring would be shipped to my fiancé Alan so I wouldn't see it beforehand.

So then the waiting game started. I knew he had the ring and since we lived far from each other, I thought that there was no way that I wouldn't see it coming. Leave it to Alan, however, to find a way to surprise me. I travel often for work and usually take a red eye from the West Coast back to the East Coast on Fridays. On September 12th, I got on a 10 pm flight from the West Coast, set to arrive at 6 am the next morning. When I landed, Alan called to make sure that I had arrived safely. I told him I was fine but exhausted and that I was heading home to go to bed. I told him to go back to bed and that I would call him later and see him in a few weeks.

Little did I know that he had arrived at my apartment the night before to propose that next morning. I came to my apartment looking like a mess and proceeded to carry my heavy suitcase up six flights of stairs. I walked down the long hallway to my room and the door was closed, which I thought was strange. Then I opened it, and my whole world changed. My entire colorful room was white and there were at least 100 candles. It was only 7 am, so the room had a soft sunlight glow, which the candles magnified. I was in complete shock to see him and said, "What are you doing here? " In my daze, I couldn't remember everything he said, but I know I heard the word "wife " and that it made my heart smile. I of course said yes. We then called our families and woke our friends up! That night, we went to dinner with friends to celebrate! It was really special and somewhat nontraditional.