Some Kind Of Wonderful: The Proposal

August 17, 2016 by Kerry DeVilbiss

Our story starts with a chance encounter and an adventure of an evening. The rest is history. Speaking of history, if you’ve followed the first two blogs you know this has been quite the journey for me. I never thought I’d be here, writing a wedding blog for the Baltimore Bride. And now that I find myself in this place, I know there is no place I’d rather be. It’s been some kind of wonderful.

Will proposed in the rose garden at the National Cathedral. One spring morning months prior we had found ourselves with an unexpected lazy Sunday with no places to be or plans ahead of us (side note, this never happens). At this point in the relationship we had already played tourist at all the famous Washington landmarks. My fiancé take great pride in being a true Washingtonian, and I wondered if he had any special places that extended beyond the National Monuments that he’d never taken me to before. In fact he did, it was a place he spent a lot of time as a kid. Without knowing where we were going, we were soon on our way. Two metro bus rides and a long walk up the winding incline of Wisconsin Avenue, I saw the towers rising high above the DC landscape. With its intricate masonry work, flying buttresses, and luminous stained-glass windows, the National Cathedral was completely breathtaking. However it was the rose garden that Will really wanted to show me. Tucked away on the Cathedral grounds was a worn limestone wall covered with ivy. The plaque on the wall read, “Bishop’s Garden.” The entrance an archway, under it gothic wooden doors complete with wrought iron hinges and handles. On the other side, paved pathways wrapped their way around acres of lush garden; a tapestry of green boxwoods and perennials with billowing oak and beech trees. The most beautiful flowers were the roses, in hues of soft pink to deep red. Since it was May and the flowers had just begun to bloom and the fragrant smell carried throughout the garden. We walked the garden and for a moment the world on the outside of the wall fell away. I could see why this was such a special place.

Months went by but I often thought about that day in the garden. Fall came with its crisp air, falling leaves, and football. One weekend we made lunch plans at a French restaurant to meet a good friend who was traveling from New York City. Whether we were headed to lunch at a fancy French restaurant or a trip to Ace Hardware, I had spent the better part of the last three months walking into every social situation prepared for Will to drop to one knee. I sensed Will was planning something and the not knowing was increasingly maddening (which by the way, he relished). Months prior I had jokingly made my one proposal request to my then-boyfriend: Please don’t propose to me while I’m wearing yoga pants. Please make sure I’m dressed in something at least semi-formal because pictures are forever and no one wants to see photos of Grandma in her lululemons. So when I asked the dress code for the restaurant and he replied, “very casual, wear jeans” I figured it was just another day. Over lunch, the three of us were busy catching up on life and eating fancy French foods I couldn’t pronounce, when Will received a phone call. When he hung up the phone he looked tense. Apparently he had forgotten his suit jacket at the National Cathedral where he had a business meeting earlier in the week, and we’d have to go pick it up on our way home. Now, I realize it takes some suspension of reality to make this scenario believable, but I also know how my fiancé feels about his suit jackets so I wasn’t too suspicious. It was getting closer to dusk so we soon gave our hugs and said our goodbyes and headed to the Cathedral.

Once we arrived Will asked me to wait in the car while he went inside to look. I excused myself from the backseat for some fresh air which was unusually warm for a November day. Would the flowers in the rose garden still be in bloom, I wondered. I found an old bench on the lawn at the entrance of the Cathedral and sat. I wasn’t sure what was happening but my heart was racing and every minute Will was gone felt like a lifetime. As I sat, I tried to steady my heart and reminded myself to breathe. I arched my head to soak in the incredible sight of the Cathedral, and I remember taking a photograph thinking I didn’t want to forget what I was feeling in that moment. Finally, Will was coming towards me from the front doors, but without the jacket. What was happening? “The gardener has the jacket in the Bishops Garden,” he said as he got closer. At this point I was holding back tears. I held his hand and we made our way down the pathway to the garden. We walked through the door towards the rose bushes, which were still in bloom. It was there that he dropped to one knee and said some of the most beautiful things about how much he loved me and pulled out a ring box from his pocket. Everything stopped and went quiet as my head tried to catch up with my heart. Yes. Yes. Yes. I said Yes!

Just then from behind me I heard, “Congratulations, Dee!” My amazingly calm demeanor turned into a flood of sobbing. The only people who call me by my nickname are my two best friends. My best friends who have known me since we were kids and who have stuck with me through the entire journey, friends who I love and adore, friends who don’t live anywhere remotely close to DC. So it couldn’t possibly be them. And yet, when I turned around they were both standing there with a bottle of champagne and flowers. Will had flown them to DC to be there for the proposal. Ok, at this point big tears were rolling down my face. Then another surprise, the two tourists taking pictures behind the rose bushes were actually other friends capturing the entire moment on film. Hugs and champagne followed (and I cried more because, champagne).

As the day was winding down, and the sun was setting, the six of us made our way back home to continue the celebration on the roof terrace. And when the doors of the elevator opened, the party of six became a party of sixty, as a room full of familiar faces yelled surprise! Not only had Will planned the most amazing surprise proposal he had also planned the most amazing surprise proposal party. I am one lucky gal for sure. We celebrated the special evening with friends and family recounting the proposal in the garden. I was overwhelmed with love. When my head hit the pillow that night I remember feeling such gratitude for where life had taken us and where we were going next, together.

And then I woke up one morning and realized that amazing night was almost a year ago, and the engagement ring on my finger meant a wedding was to follow. So, let’s plan a wedding.


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