I Said “Yes!”
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Oh my goodness, I’m not even a sentence into this post and already — especially seeing this picture again for the hundredth time — the happiest tears have sprung back to my eyes. Because it’s still sinking in that a week ago, the most extraordinary man I’ve ever met got down on one knee and took my hand and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.
And I said “yes.”
A thousand, million, zillion times, “yes!”
And then afterwards, let’s be real — I totally lost it. ? Because I felt like I had been ready and waiting for this moment for years and years. But even in my wildest, most hopeful dreams — especially during those long seasons of waiting, hoping, believing it might be possible to meet someone amazing — gosh, I just never imagined that it could actually be this good. That he could be this good. That the reality of life together as “us” could be this good.
But it truly is. It’s so good. And my heart could not feel more peaceful and thankful and joyful and just…full.
Oh my gosh. Guys, WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!
And for those of you (like me!) who always want to hear all the details of a proposal, I thought I’d pop in today and share the full story. ?
Actually, many of you who follow me on Instagram already caught the first part of the story last Thursday night. (And a few of you even guessed the ending before I did!)
The whole night began when Barclay mentioned that he wanted to cook me dinner on Thursday night as a thank you for being supportive during his ultra-busy month of shows with his Christmas band, which was wrapping up their final gig the day beforehand. Seemed reasonable to me. ? Plus, I always love our date nights “in”, and was just excited that he had a free evening again.
Sure enough, he showed up promptly at 5pm, mentioning that his aim was to have dinner on the table for us by 5:30pm (<– which he knows is my dream, because I’m an 80-year-old early-bird-dinner-lover at heart, and love eating the second I’m done with work.) But I admit that I was a bit amused to see him walk in the door with an enormous box of groceries…for just the two of us. This was not entirely surprising, since Barclay doesn’t keep an “extensively-stocked” kitchen, and literally does 100% of his grocery shopping at Costco. ? But still, it was a noticeable step up from his usual chopped-salad-in-a-bag specialty.
Still, though, any momentary suspicions were relieved when he announced that the theme of the date night was “a winter picnic” (<– which was super-cute, being that we are always talking this time of year about how we miss our summertime picnic dates). I offered to be his sous-chef, but he poured me a glass of my favorite wine and insisted that he just wanted me to relax and hang out and let him do all of the cooking. So I plopped down at the kitchen island and we turned on some Christmas music and caught up on our day while he cooked.
I was assuming the meal would be like every other meal we usually cook together — just a main course and salad, with maybe a cheese plate before or after (<– Barc’s specialty).
But after he served the third course, and it looked like there was more to come, I figured I had better document this absolute feast that he was preparing. And I was glad I did, because it kept coming and coming! (Ha, so much so that I regretted filling up on that big cheese plate at the very start. Whoops.) Here are the photos that many of you saw on Instagram — six courses! Each one was absolutely delicious, and had some special meaning to the two of us. For example, the ginger salad was his take on our favorite salad we each order before sushi each Monday night, we make a cheese plate together for a snack probably weekly, he knew that roasted asparagus was one of our favorite veggies, and bacon — well, he knew my love of bacon.
It was all incredible. And oh my goodness, by the end of it I was so full. ?
Then, as we were finishing up the final course together, Barclay mentioned that he had written me a card, which instantly made me smile.
You see, last Christmas, he and I had discussed before the holiday that neither of us are big “gifts” people and were more into investing in shared experiences together. So we agreed to pass on buying each other Christmas presents. But, I had asked him if he would write me a card for Christmas instead. And he did. And I wrote him one. And it was perfect. :)
Anyway, when he pulled out the card, I figured that was him being thoughtful again and continuing our little tradition. And the card was absolutely beautiful. But I will say…my little antennae did go up for the first time when I noticed that he was following my eyes on the page super-intently when I neared the end of the card. And once he saw that I had reached the end and read the final line…”I love you so much, and choose you with all of my heart”…
…he instantly dropped down on one knee beside me.
…and pulled a ring out of his pocket and asked me to marry him.
…and I freaked out.
Haha, I mean it. ALL of the smiles and shrieks and laughter. ALL of the happy tears and cries of joy (which pretty quickly turned into not-so-classy-but-happy-sobbing). ALL of the kisses and hugs and holding each other tight and both holding up my hand again and again and again to look at the ring. ALL THE FEELS.
And it was amazing.
We probably sat there on the couch for at least 20 minutes just freaking out about the-rest-of-our-life-ness together.
Oh, and then I finally got around to asking him how got ahold of this!
The ring is was actually 102 years old, and was my Great Grandma Allie’s engagement ring that I inherited years ago. It’s tiny and simple and beautiful and perfect and I had dreamed of wearing it someday. But it was at my parents’ house in Wichita. And — yeah, yeah, I will admit — I had been keeping a wee bit of an eye on Barclay the last few times we were in Wichita to see if he might have slipped away for a bit with them to ask their blessing and get the ring. But he hadn’t! (And I was starting to get a little impatient about that not having happened…) ?
Well, turns out that while I was in Korea last month, Barclay went above and beyond to make that meaningful as well. On the day after this enormous event that he helped coordinate at his work (like, imagine weeks of overtime leading up to this thing, and exhausting long workday the day-of), he woke up early on a Sunday and made the 6-hour round-trip drive to Wichita to spend the day hanging out with my parents…and then of course, asked for their blessing and picked up the ring.
Finding this out, of course, prompted another round of happy tears.
It meant so much to me that he did that. And also meant so much that he’d had a similar conversation with his parents, and that they were all “in” on the big surprise and excited for us. All of their support has meant so much to both of us along the way.
Anyway, by this point in the night, I was still a sobby, smily mess. But Barclay told me that he had one more “tiny little dream” for us that night — he wanted to know if I’d go back to El Pueblito (where we had our 7-hour first date) and share a margarita to celebrate together. I couldn’t imagine a better idea, so I grabbed some Kleenex and my furry coat, and we immediately hopped in the car and drove over.
As we were pulling up, the reality of all of this was beginning to sink in more and I asked him how on earth we were going to tell our friends. But we agreed to just soak it all up with just the two of us for awhile, and then maybe call some family and friends after our margarita. Well, turns out…
…this amazing surprise was waiting for us.
Tons of our dearest friends were all there at the restaurant waiting for us, and greeted us as we walked in the door with a huge cheer and lots of hugs and two big margaritas for the future bride and groom. And I was 100% surprised. (I mean seriously, I’m good at sniffing out surprises, but I think I was in such a deliriously happy haze that this one hadn’t even occurred to me!!)
As it turns out, Barclay had arranged the whole thing with them and the restaurant owner (who told us we should get married on our first date) beforehand. And throughout dinner, he had been texting them periodically to tell them when to show up. Apparently he had been a little anxious because we were running behind schedule during dinner — which I then delayed with All The Tears after he proposed — but it all ended up working out perfectly.
Perfect, perfect, perfect.
When we arrived, everyone instantly asked us if we had called our parents yet to tell them the big news, and we mentioned that we were thinking of doing so afterwards. But they insisted we do it soon, so we Facetimed my parents and shouted out to them that “WE’RE ENGAGED”! They cheered on the other end, and we cheered, and everyone smiled and cheered. Ha, but unfortunately it was so dark and the music was so loud in there that we couldn’t hear much else, so we decided to catch up later and called Barclay’s parents as soon as we left the restaurant and could hear again. Which we did, and the smiles continued.
Well, turns out that the other best part about him proposing three days before Christmas was that we were able to spend the entire holiday continuing the celebration with friends and family….including our two other dear friends, Erin and Jeff (the two on the right), who also got engaged the same week. So fun! (Also, those are two of our matchmakers there in the middle, Lindsay and Will, whom we will always have to thank for bringing us together.) So much love to be thankful for this Christmas.
Anyway, the whole thing felt magical, and meaningful, and exciting, and fun, and so like us. And it made me so thankful for the millionth time for this incredibly thoughtful man who I now get to marry. And much more importantly, spend the rest of my life with, which just feels like the wildest and best thing ever.
I love him with my whole heart. And he loves me with his.
And not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for the incredible gift that this all is.
And, as always, not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for the incredible gift that all of you are.
So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for all of your sweet encouragement and support over the years leading up to this point. Barc has been asking this week when I’m going to share the good news with my readers, and I’ve been offline ever since last week taking some time off and soaking up time with friends and family in town around the holidays. But I feel like this is the post that I’ve been dreaming about writing for literally years and years now. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading along, and I promise to keep you posted on plans ahead! ?
I’ve been following you for YEARS and was single for many of those myself. So many of your honest posts about the ups and downs of single life really hit home for me. I got engaged earlier this year to the man of my dreams (!!!) and am in the midst of wedding planning now. I am SO happy for you. Engagement has been such a joy (and I expect marriage to be even better!). I hope you love this season of your life as much as I am. Congrats!!!
Congratulations! That is an incredibly sweet story, and it sounds as if two great people have found each other.
SOOOOO excited for you! Enjoy every moment of it. You will be a beautiful bride. Congratulations!!!
So happy for you both!!
Congratulations! You’ve been such an inspiration with your series about singleness. And then watching you met this incredible guy, and now getting engaged to him! It makes me believe in love with all my heart, even if I haven’t met one yet. Congratulations again!
I’ve followed your sweet little love story for years and am SO happy to hear this! A thousand congrats! Such as sweet engagement story :)
Longtime reader, never commenter – but I just had to comment on this sweet story! Congratulations! Life is good. I make your food on the regular, and I was also a music major in college (now a lawyer), but I love your sweet posts about life, food, and your dating journey. :-)
YAYYY! omigosh I am SO HAPPY for you! What a perfect proposal–and party! It’s so beautiful and wonderful, and I’m so excited for you two!
So happy for you – a million congratulations!
Long time reader, and love how you’ also share a bit of your life along with recipes! Congratulations sweet Ali! What a beautiful & sentimental story to share! Well done Barclay! Wishing and praying for the continued best of love for you both!!!
Another long time reader over here. SO HAPPY FOR YOU! This post made me tear up – your joy is so visible on both of your faces!
I think I’ve commented on all of your posts/stories/etc but I am so excited for you both. :) And I was an ugly crier too when Taylor proposed to me… it was one of those uncontrollable reactions I didn’t know was even possible, lol. I think more (happy) tears = more love. :) <33333
Congratulations Ali!!!! I started reading your blog right about when you and Barclays got together. It has been so heartwarming following your journey. I wish you all the best with your future marriage!
OMGOMGOMG. I am SOOOOO happy for you! I remember when you wrote that post about online dating. I’m so glad you met someone as amazing as Barclay. You guys radiate with love for each other. CHEERS.
I just started following your blog (I started cooking only recently), but this story made even me tear up! What a wonderful way to begin your journey of marriage together! Congratulations!!
I totally remember when you told us that you had a crush on him you were not sure how to proceed! Totally happy for you! Cannot wait to meet him. Congratulations!
Congratulations! Reading this made me tear up and remember when my husband proposed :) now I’m sitting here sniffling with gratitude (and pregnancy hormones)
Ive been following your blog for a little over a year now and just love everything about it! Congratulations to both of you – he really did an amazing job with this proposal!! ❤❤ can’t wait to read about wedding plans and continuing to follow your fairytale!
SO beautiful and touching! I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! <3
Crazy timing! I will admit, it’s been a crazy year and I haven’t hit the site I don’t think since last Christmas season because it was right after you started dating and then I randomly woke up this morning thinking – I bet she marries that guy, I should go check her page and see if he has proposed yet and then sure enough – its the post for today! When you know you know and I could tell from your tone even back then (not unlike the restaurant owner apparently) that you found your puzzle piece. Congrats!!!
Crying happy tears for you! What a perfect proposal evening. SO happy for you!!!!
This is so sweet! Congratulations!!
Wait……how about the recipes for the scrumptious food Barc made???
I am grinning ear to ear – so happy for you. Congratulations and thank you for sharing your joy!
Congratulations! What a beautiful story!
What a fantastic fantastic time for you! This pot brought me to happy tears :) xo
Congratulations!!! What a beautiful story! Definitely brings hope that dreams can come true :)
Congratulations!!! Praying Gods blessings upon you in the days ahead
That ring! The thoughtulness! The happy tears! This is so exciting. Thank you for sharing it with all of us. congratulations!!!
Ali, that is the SWEETEST proposal story that I have ever read! Oh my goodness! I’ve been following this blog for years and I don’t think I’ve ever commented once, but I was so moved by this post. It’s funny that even through a blog post, when you first introduced your guy, I thought, “They’re totally gonna get married.” And now you are! So happy for the two of you. Sending prayer and many blessings your way. Yay!
Awww the proposal was perfect! And beautiful! I may have teared up reading it and seeing your happy pictures. I’m so happy for you!
I came to your blog a few years ago (through some Google search or another) and have visited periodically, usually on a hunt for an “ultimate” recipe. I loved that you were from Kansas City – my hometown – but I guess I missed the part where you were dating my favorite-babysitter-turned-favorite-local-musician from back in the day! I’ve known the Martins forever – we grew up right down the street, and Doozie and I went to school together starting in kindergarten – and as I’m sure you know, you definitely hit the in-law jackpot. Congratulations and best wishes on a wonderful life together!
Congratulations!! I have literally watched you grow from afar! I am a Lizzie Kate fan for years. I am so happy for your dreams coming true in God’s plan and timing!! Enjoy, enjoy!
What a precious story! Congratulations!
So beyond thrilled for you both. Congrats!! All the happiness in the world!
I’m just so happy to see this news! Have been following your blog for years and feel like I know you, it is such a thrill to see such a magical moment come true for you. Best wishes from MN!!
Congratulations! I wish you two years of happiness and love together.
I am beyond thrilled for you both! You deserve all of the happiness in the world! Congratulations! xo
Oh my goodness, congratulations!!! It was exciting to hear the news on social media last week and even more exciting to hear the absolutely wonderful story behind the proposal!
I’m so so happy for you both. Congratulations!
Congratulations! That is a beautiful engagement story. I love how your fiancé weaved in so many personal touches that are meaningful to you, and got your family and friends involved. My husband and I have been married for over 10 years and we’ve been a couple for almost 15 years. We also have a “no gift” tradition (in terms of material things). We also prefer to spend on shared experiences (as a couple, or sometimes with our son), and it’s worked so well for us. We’ve shared some amazing dinners at top restaurants, and taken some great trips. For our 10 year anniversary, we took our son to the Florida Keys, and for my 40th birthday last year, we went to a wonderful inn and spa. Every year, we take our son into Manhattan to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and the Rockefeller Centre tree. These are memorable experiences for our family that I enjoy more than any tangible object that my husband could buy me. I hope you continue making great memories together as your relationship grows and progresses. Have fun planning the wedding!
Oh Ali! I am crying big tears of joy for you and Barclay! Your proposal is beautiful, perfect, and so special! I loved reading every word of it and the photos are such treasures! I’m thrilled for you both – hugs and best wishes on your future together! xo
Ahh you have me feeling all the feels!! I have been reading your blog for years but rarely comment – I am SO happy for you! What a beautiful story :) Many congrats!
Congratulations!!! That is the sweetest, most thoughtful proposal!
I am so, so, so excited for you! What a great story and sounds like you have a wonderful man. You are so deserving of love and I have happy tears in my eyes for you right now. Best wishes to you both.
Congrats! Thank you for sharing your personal life with us!
AHHHHHH!!!! Congratulations!!! What an amazing proposal and story that you’ll be able to tell for years to come!
I have to be honest and say that I’d been wondering during the past few weekend trips or big dates that you posted on Instagram if a ring was coming! ;) It sounds like Barclay had the perfect evening planned, though, and I am so excited for you! Though I don’t know you personally, I feel I have gotten to know you through your blog and it truly does seem like you are just he perfect match! A million congratulations!
Aghhhhhh congratulations!!!! I love how you share your life through the blog and this post especially captured all the love and joy. Congrats!