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! ?
Thank you for sharing your story! You had me filled with happy tears and squels along with ya. Wishing all the best for your future together.
Ahh! Ali! My sister in law made one of your recipes on Christmas Eve last week. She said to me “this is gimmie some oven’s recipe” to which I responded, “I’ve been waiting for her to get engaged! I think it’s going to happen soon!” :-) Hooray for you and Barclay! Blessings upon blessings as you prepare for this exciting time in your life!
Congratulations! May you be blessed with many, many years of happily married bliss!
This story had me tearing up! So incredibly sweet! Very happy for you both, many congratulations. :)
Wish you both all the best!
Congratulations what beautiful news! Wishing you and that special man a lifetime if joy and happiness!
Congratulations Ali!! I knew you two would be engaged when you first mentioned him on your post!
????? We are all so happy for you two. You guys make each other so happy and are so perfect for each other. It’s a beautiful thing.
I am so happy for you and Barc! What a wonderful holiday love story. Congratulations to the two of you and may you live happily ever after!
Congratulations!!! I don’t know you guys, but LOVE reading your stories. Love your recipies as well. All the best in your new life togehter. How wonderful to see you in love.
Congratulations! I’ve been married 36 years to my best friend and your engagement story brought tears to my eyes. Wishing you both so much happiness always. ?
Congratulations!! I’ve been reading your blog for years, and I could not be happier for you! Enjoy this amazing time in your life! There’s nothing like it!
Wow! So very happy for the both of you. Best wishes for an extremely happy and joyful life together.
Ahhh congratulations!! I’ve loved following your snippets of life on the blog and am so so happy for you!!
Many, many congrats! What a fun story and an exciting night!
I am so happy and excited for you!!!! Thank you for sharing your story. May you both have a lifetime of blessings. <3
Congratulations you guys, may you have a blessed marriage. Your a great couple and deserve all the happiness. Looking forward to seeing the wedding pics. Have. Fabulous New Years! Happy!
Thank you greatly for sharing your story! Us readers have had the wonderful opportunity to follow this journey of yours and supporting you each step of the way…happily (and with a full healthy belly). I remember your first picture together. You two just fit. It felt right. I may speak for many in that we hope to continue to follow this new chapter of your life through more beautifully illustrated delectable meals. Your fan and food mate, Christina
Giiiiirrrl! I am so happy for you! Congratulations. May you & Barclay continue to be blessed and blissfully happy. ☺
Omg, a million congrats and I’m so happy for you. You seem to have reeled in a major keeper and I’m so excited to feel like I can share in just a little of your story so thanks for sharing!!!! I wish you two all the happiness in the world!
Congratulations! I wish you both a wonderful life together.
Oh my gosh congratulations!! I was literally squealing as soon as I saw the title of the post – I’m so happy for you both! Sending you all the prayers and blessings with lots of love and hugs xx
Ali, Congratulations! Both of you make the most of this absolutely wonderful beginning. I’m at the end of my life and you’re at the beginning. I could tell you everything I did wrong, but that would be wrong ’cause yours and Barclay’s “wrong” is going to be different. Always communicate, especially about those things you don’t want to communicate about; don’t ever think the other one can read your mind (cause he/she can’t); forgive. Have a wonderful life!
Ali, so so so happy for you both!! Congratulations and best wishes and so HAPPY for you? Thank you for sharing your journey with us-not just the recipes but YOU!
Congratulations!! What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing it with us. The entire night sounds like every girl’s dream come true ☺️
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I was so happy and thrilled for both of you when I opened my email and saw the “I Said ‘Yes!'” topic. How sweet and generous of you to share all the great details. I have to say: That. Card. You both write so beautifully. Here’s to a long, happy, and healthy life together!!
Congratulations! I’m so happy for both of you. Wish you all the best! xx love from Portugal
My cheeks started hurting when I got near the end of your story! Why? Because from the first sentence, I had started smiling! I don’t even know you and I think I teared up!
Thank you for sharing your amazing story with us and CONGRATULATIONS on your next chapter in your life! Your story truly made my heart smile! So happy for you both!
Congratulations Ali and Barclay!! So happy for you! I hope you had a lovely Christmas and Happy New Year!
Congratulations to both of you. Your story is inspirational and will bring hope to many. Thanks for sharing.
Ali! I’m so happy for you. I just love your blog and am so happy that I stumbled across it. You give me hope of finding “the one” someday! Congrats girl! You deserve all the happiness the world is offering you! =)
Congratulations Ali and Barclay! That was a really sweet proposal story to read, I love the care and thought he put into preparing the meal,writing a letter and driving to ask for your parents blessing, which makes it really special. I look forward to reading about your future wedding plans, many happy wishes! :)
CONGRATS ALI!!! My heart is so happy for you! I have been so busy and not blogging, let alone following blogs!! But I was just bombarded with a smile seeing yours and your good news!! Happy New Year to you and beau. <3 Crista
Congratulations Ali! I had a feeling this would happen before the end of the year!
Best best best wishes to you both!
Well, congrats….but that ring is so small. You are better off going with a standard gold band.
Congratulations! I am so happy for the two of you!
Many congratulations to you and Barclay! Can’t wait to read about the adventures ahead for you both!
This is just the sweetest!! I totally cried!
How sweet, and thank you for sharing your wonderful news with us! Your post was so well written and well documented with photos that I felt like I was right there with you! Congratulations, you sound like a perfect couple, and I wish you much happiness.
CONGRATULATIONS! No one deserves happiness more!
Congratulations and best wishes to you both.
OMG I had a feeling, I just had a feeling after reading all year how happy you guys are together. Thank you so much for sharing the story of this amazingly special day for you. It was a joy to read and I wish you both all the happiness in the world. So excited for you both. Made me teary – I love true love. <3
Ali, a thousand congratulations! I’m thrilled for you. I’ve never seen you smile as big as you did that night.
And to Shannon, who commented before me about Ali’s ring: Do you see the beaming smile across Ali’s face? Did you read the part about the ring being a family heirloom, exactly what Ali had always wanted? If you have ever read the headlines on tabloids, I think you know that the size of a woman’s diamond has absolutely no correlation with the success of her marriage. My mother always told me, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”—something to consider the next time you’re tempted to leave a snarky, materialistic, backwards, “Congrats.”
Congratulations! So excited to read about your happy news! Yours sounds like the perfect engagement. Best to you both.
Congratulations Ali!!!! I’m tearing up reading this, it’s so incredibly sweet. I remember reading the very first post where you told us you were dating and now you’re engaged!! all the good wishes and vibes to you two ❤❤
Congratulations, what a beautiful way to propose! I wish you both so much happiness together, what a special couple you are, he’s amazing.
Congratulations!! I love your blog and am so, so thrilled for you!!
Congrats! Congrats! I’ve been following along with you for years-through your “single in my 30’s” posts and have always felt kindred. I’m the same age as you and also finally met my person (and also just got engaged) so I understand the joy in finding the one after years of waiting. Congrats! I’m so thrilled for you!
I love your story so much! It gives me renewed determination to wait for the right guy, the one who makes me a priority and treats me as well as your Barclay treats you. Congrats and best wishes on a long happy life together!