Hi Blicious followers. This is Brandon, better known as ManFriend, ManWife, her other half, the one who drives her nuts, her personal chef etc. As you now know, that's all changed because we're engaged! From now until we get married, I will be known as Fianco. I say Fianco because Fiance sounds like the female should be called that. There is BOYfriend and GIRLfriend. There is HUSBAND and there is WIFE. I just think Fianco is more masculine that’s all.
Quick heads up before I go on...this is gonna be lengthy story so grab some hydration, a snack or two and be prepared to get my side of how this all went down and the months of secrets I've had to keep.
In August of 2009 at Justin & Samantha's (Brandi's older brother and sister-in-law) wedding rehearsal dinner, all of the siblings/significant others (<--- only me) were asked to give speeches. Since Brandi and I were going 6 years strong at the time, someone yelled out "When is it your turn?" while I was talking. Without hesitation, I yelled back, "Next year is our year!" I knew that after making a statement like that in front of 100+ family & friends, not to mention HER PARENTS, I had to stick to my guns! Fast forward to New Years 2010...As we rang in the New Year with her family and shared our first kiss of 2010, I made sure to remind her that this would be our year. Over the course of this year, we have traveled and shared probably the best memories of our existence together. Since she knew I'd be popping the big question some time this year, Brandi decided to share that news with her co-workers & girlfriends. Because of this, every word I said or move I made was now discussed, over analyzed & broken down to the nitty-gritty. I knew that proposing & keeping it a surprise was now going to be a tough job because I couldn't do anything without everyone thinking 'this was it.'
This past May, Brandi and I celebrated 7 years with each other by going to Jamaica for a week. It was the best trip I have ever been on. I haven’t done as much traveling as she has but it was the first time I have ever been out of the country aside from going to Mexico. If you’re a true follower of Blicious, you will have seen her many Jamaica related posts, which included videos. This was yet again another time when every one of our friends and family members thought I would pop the question. If we had dated for a year or two, it would have been a great place to get engaged. But we were celebrating 7 years…I am not the cliché type so I didn’t want it to be a dead give away.
I know that after our trip and still being “boyfriend and girlfriend,” the wheels in Brandi’s head would be turning since the next big time for me to propose would be during the holidays or New Years. Little does she know, I was thinking the same thing! How in the hell was I going to pull this off without it being written all over face? Before I could even think of proposing, I needed a ring! DUH!
NOTE: Although she gave me permission to do it with a ring pop, I politely declined that route.
Oddly enough, Brandi asked if we could set a time where we could go ring shopping. Not to actually buy one but to get a feel for what was out there, what looked good on her (which they all did!) and what kind of price ranges her style and size fit into.
We ended up at Robbins Bros. and spent a few hours there and she ended up finding the perfect ring! We walked outside with it on her finger and when the sunlight hit the diamonds, it lit up just like her face did with happiness. Right there I knew we found the one. I will spare you with conversation that I had with the sales lady because it involved lots of $$$$$$$$. Although she was very nice, helpful and informative, I didn’t have an arm or a leg that I was willing to give up for what they wanted. That’s retail diamond shopping for you. Lesson learned.
We both went home and Brandi could see the disappointment on my face after the sticker shock I just went through. She ended up going to dance practice so I called my mom looking for some advice on what to do. Low and behold, her boyfriend’s sister is a jeweler! CHA-CHING! I immediately called her up and sent her the link of the ring that Brandi picked out. She gave me a quick estimate and it turned out she could have that ring made for about 70% less than what Robbins Bros. wanted without compromising the cut or clarity of the diamonds. I just about passed out when I heard that! As you can imagine, my mood just flipped back into ‘happy mode’ especially since I had about 90% of the money saved already!
2 weeks went by and I convinced Brandi to go with me to Diana’s store in Newport to do some more “shopping.” Brandi had no idea but we were actually going down there to drop off a 50% deposit so Diana could start making the ring. I managed to slip Diana the money without Brandi having a clue! However, that was just one of the many things I had to cross off my to-do list. We had such a great conversation on our 1-hour ride home about how awesome it’s going to be once we are engaged. Diana reassured both of us that she is capable of making exactly what Brandi wants for much less than what a typical retail store would charge.
Now that the ring was being made, I needed to figure out the perfect way to propose! Would I do a weekend getaway? Nope. Too easy for her and everyone else to assume I was up to something. How about a nice romantic dinner? Eh…not really my style. Plus, I love to cook and can throw down the type of dinner you would pay top dollar for.
…Excuse me while I get that dirt off my shoulder…
Then it hit me like a train! Halloween! This has been Brandi’s favorite day for many years and we are always known for throwing theme parties! How hard could it be to convince her to throw another theme party? Well, pretty hard actually. This is where I was thrown off. She NEVER denies throwing a theme party. Why now? This is my chance! I asked her about 1 month prior and she wasn’t really thrilled on the idea. So I had one of our best friends Eric ask her what our plans were for Halloween to see if he could get any info out of her. Nothing. A week later I had my sister Angelique ask the same thing. Brandi’s response was just as vague. This wasn’t helping at all! I was running out of options at this point. No joke, 8 days before I wanted to have our party, I convinced Brandi to have a costume party!
Being the traditional type, I knew I had to talk to her parents and make sure this was all okay with them. Within minutes of Brandi agreeing to have a party, I jumped on the phone with her dad and step-mom to ask for Brandi’s hand in marriage. They both cried and said of course! Now I needed to figure out how to have them at our house without Brandi knowing. Before I could even think of that, I needed to meet with her mom and step-dad to ask their permission to marry Brandi as well. They live much closer to us so meeting with them would be much easier. The stars were aligned because just 2 days later, we were on our way home from work when her step-dad called and asked us to come over for dinner! I knew this was my one and only chance to do this in person. With the help of Derek, her brother, I managed to get 3 whole minutes of whispering time with her parents to ask them for Brandi’s hand in marriage. They gave me the green light; we hugged it out for a few seconds and went back to watching TV without Brandi having a clue as she came back downstairs.
Earlier that afternoon is when I found out that I could pick up Brandi’s ring in Downtown LA. I was trying to figure out an excuse to use as to why we couldn’t carpool the next day. Well, Brandi took care of that problem off my list without even realizing it. She had scheduled a doctor’s appointment and told me that I would need to take our other car to work. She had no idea how happy I was inside since that was one less thing I had to worry about. I met with Diana (the jeweler) in downtown and had a smile from ear-to-ear when she showed me the ring. It was perfect! It was exactly what Brandi wanted!
Later that day, Brandi headed to dance practice and I took that time to get some good pictures of the ring so I could show our immediate family members. They all loved it and thought it was perfect for her!
As the final days slowly went by, I was having a hard time acting ‘normal.’ I was so stressed out and anxious for this day to come, that I actually had to try to be normal. I thought I was doing okay up until the day before I proposed, Brandi called me out on the way home. She mentioned how weird I was being and how I wasn’t acting myself for the past week. I played it off and blamed it on the stress of both of our upcoming trips for work. PHEW! Got out of that one! Not to say I wasn’t stressing over our trips but it was the only ammo I had in my arsenal of excuses. Holding onto that ring for just 4 days was one of the most nerve-racking things I have ever had to do! I honestly don’t know how some guys hang onto it for months!
Now to the fun part! October 29, 2010 had finally come and so far, my plan was on point!
Neither if Brandi’s parents ever come to any of our parties so having them there AND keeping it a secret was probably my biggest challenge. 3 things I thought would mean the world to Brandi in an ideal proposal would be: having her parents there, being surprised and capturing it on video. Since Brandi normally handles our parties, the easiest way for me to surprise her was to let her do all the planning. Little did she know, she was planning our engagement party! Slick…I know.
Later that night, our guests started to arrive. It was around 9pm and I told a few close friends and our parents, who were waiting in their cars, that 10pm was when it was all going down. So as we are all mingling, talking and enjoying each other’s costumes, I could only think of what was about to happen. At 9:50pm I sent my mom outside to gather the other parents and I went to grab the ring. I told my mom to keep the other parents outside near the front door. My heart was pounding and I could feel my body temperature rising with anxiety. My friend grabbed me a beer and I walked over to where I would soon drop down to a knee. Earlier that day, I made about 100 Jell-O shots since our parties are always known for everyone doing Jell-O shots together. At 9:58pm, I asked Brandi, who was already in the kitchen, to start passing out the Jell-O shots. Right at that time, the song “Shots” by LMAFO came on! How ironic! I walked over to my “spot” and was the last one to receive a Jell-O shot from Brandi. She stole my thunder in making a toast and said “Thank you all for coming!! WOOOOO!!!!!” Before anyone could take their shot, I quickly interrupted everyone. Now it was my time. I slightly remember saying how great of a year its been although we have had some up’s and downs but told every including Brandi that there was another reason for this party.
At that time, I turned her around and got down on one knee. That allowed her parents to walk in and sneak up close so they could see me propose. I told her how much I loved her and how much I wanted to share the rest of my life with her. Within seconds, she was balling. I asked her to marry me and there was about a 3 second delay. It was the longest 3 seconds of my life! She finally screamed out YES, YES, YES and wrapped her arms around me. We hugged for a few seconds before I whispered into her ear to turn around. She just about fainted when she saw her parents standing there! From that moment on, the weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Between myself setting up a camera and our friends recording our proposal, I accomplished all 3 things I felt Brandi would want. All of our family and friends were able to witness us get engaged as Ken and Barbie. We took tons of pictures and had a few drinks before everyone left around 1am. By that time, we were exhausted from the amount of excitement we shared.
I am so thankful that everything happened the way it did. Looking back on it, there is no other way I would have wanted to propose. October 29th will always be a special day for Brandi and I. It’s the start of a new chapter in our lives. I have never felt so happy in my life. Every time I look at her wearing her ring, all of these memories flash back through my head and all I can do is smile.
For those of you who took the time to read this, thank you. You have now experienced a day that neither of us will ever forget. Be sure to stay tuned for wedding planning details after the holidays and New Year. We felt it would be best to ride out the holidays since they’re stressful enough let alone adding in wedding planning.
Hope everyone has a Blicious Thanksgiving and holiday season!