To all of our Family and Friends,
A lot of you have been asking us to tell you all about our engagement. With all of the planning and detail that went into it, we decided it would be best to write it up.
Before we get into the details of the engagement, it's important to tell you about how I received permission from Ana's parents.
My original idea was to fly down to Guatemala and surprise Ana's parents but due to planned business trips, family obligations, etc, I decided that it would be best to get permission from them while we were all in Boston moving Fausy (her younger brother) into his new apartment for college. Trying to figure out when to ask them during the trip was no picnic, but as luck would have it, it was Fredy's (her older brother) birthday, so we planned a Sunday brunch at the Ritz Carlton Hotel... PERFECTO!
Ana already knew that I was going to be speaking with them, so I came up with a plan involving her and her brothers. After brunch, Ana and Fausy excused themselves from the table, and Fredy stayed behind to assist with translation (side note: her Mother and I speak all the time, but her Father doesn't speak English -- Fredy "The Hero" was needed). I began explaining how "it took me 32 years to find Ana, and when you find someone this perfect, you just want to spend every second of your life with her." I elaborated further, went on and on (in typical Craig fashion), and they gave me their permission. After some tears of joy, smiles, and a few laughs, they asked what my plans were regarding getting engaged. I explained that when I got back to New York, I was going to buy a ring, and then ask her to marry me before the end of the year. Fredy ("The Umm I Guess I'm Not So Fluent Guy") accidentally translated that as: "When he gets back to New York, he'll get a ring and they'll be MARRIED by the end of the year." Yeah, that was fun. After a minute of shock and questions from everyone, I finally said, "I'm going to ASK her to marry me by the end of the year, not BE married by the end of the year." Well, once we had that all cleared up, the tears of joy started flowing again, and we all lived happily ever after. Oh, and it was Fredy's birthday, so being that he shared his big day with my getting permission, I guess we can go back to calling him Fredy "The Hero." ;)
Next task... The Ring:
This part was supposed to be easy. I called one of my relatives who had been in the diamond business to ask if he had the kind of stone I was looking to purchase. Unfortunately, that didn't pan out, and thus began, "Project: Not So Easy To Find A Ring." It was now mid-September, and after searching for what seemed like an eternity (about a week -- but I'm tellin' ya, it felt like forever), I finally got in touch with a dealer close by my office who was referred to me by one of my clients. I told him what I was looking for and he rounded up a few stones for me to look at a few days later. The first ones he showed me: Not-so-good. Not for my Ana. So I waited for the next batch...
Waiting to choose a stone for the ring took even longer, since I had a business trip planned to San Francisco (timing check: it's now early October). While away, I received faxes each day from the diamond dealer containing all of the specifications for each of the new stones. With one day left on the trip, two faxes came through one of which described a "great" stone. He and I quickly put a plan together where, as long as the stone was "the one," I could have the ring in hand by Wednesday, October 10th. I took a red-eye flight back from SF and arrived back at the apartment at 8:30am on Thursday the 4th. I had told Ana that I was going to take a nap when I got home from the airport and that I'd call her when I woke up, which bought me a few hours to go and finalize the ring. I met with the diamond guy, and just as I had hoped, the stone was spot on. He then showed me what it looked like in the setting I had already picked out...BUENISIMO! I gave him the green-light, and we were good to go.
While all this was going on, one thing kept running through my mind: How and when was I going to propose? I was starting to devise a plan which involved a trip to Guatemala so we could be with her family, but Ana had a few business trips planned, there were several holidays/birthdays coming up, and her family had a few trips planned of their own. Weekends with out anything scheduled were few and far between. I had been discussing scheduling with Fredy, when it hit me: We had nothing planned for my birthday weekend yet, her parents and Fredy were going to be in Guate, and that weekend might be my only real shot at surprising her. I spoke with Ana's boss, discussed the whole plan, and cleared Friday and Monday as vacation days. The trip was set.
I had been speaking with all of the brothers (Fausy, Fredy, and Lee -- my brother) when I was in SF, and each played a key role in the engagement (thank you all SO much for everything).
Fausy had been talking about coming to New York to visit, and Ana thought it would be wonderful if he could come for my birthday weekend. PERFECTO! While they were putting a plan together for his trip, I spoke with him and told him that I was going to fly him to Guatemala for the engagement instead. Ana and Fausy came up with all sorts of plans for his weekend in New York: a Broadway show, shopping on Saturday, things to do at night, and brunch on Sunday for my birthday. Fausy, well done amigo. ;)
Fredy had to get everything organized in Guatemala: a car waiting for us at the airport, a reservation at a fantastic restaurant (my plan had originally been to propose to her in Guate on Friday night), and the impossible task of keeping the secret from his parents, and his sister, the entire time everything was being organized. Beyond that, he also had a business trip scheduled for late in the week, so he had to make sure that he was back in Guate for the weekend. All accomplished, successfully. Bravo Fredy!
Lee played the key role of getting the festivities for my birthday weekend in order. Ana and I started talking about possible birthday plans, but we almost had a major problem when I told her that I might have to work late on Friday. She, being the incredible person that she is, had already made a reservation for 20 at a restaurant downtown, with a customized menu, dancing, etc; she went the whole nine yards. She obviously wasn't happy about cancelling, so the next morning I spoke with Lee (FYI: he's a freakin' genius), and after some quick thinking, he called her to invite us to a last minute gig that his band (a fantastic up and coming band called "ILU" -- http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=196611400) had booked downtown. Her plan for Friday night then became simple: Dinner with Fausy and then we meet up for the gig. Lee had already locked up Saturday night by telling Ana that he got us invites to the new Bob Dylan movie premiere (he works at The Weinstein Company), and that he made dinner reservations at the Tribecca Grill (he even spoke with the manager at the restaurant about the "fake" reservation and told him all about the engagement plan, just in case Ana called to order a special desert or set up some sort of surprise). Yeah, like I said, he’s a freakin' genius. Now I know he loves me, after all he is my brother, but he also had an incentive to make this work: I got a ticket for him to Guatemala too. HA! ;) Lee, you're the best.
Sunday was easy. I called my Mom to let her know that we were going to brunch on Sunday to celebrate my birthday, but that we weren't going to brunch on Sunday to celebrate my birthday, and that if she spoke with Ana that we were going to brunch on Sunday to celebrate my birthday. :) We also had imaginary concert tickets for Sunday night. ;)
Ana and I also planned a small birthday dinner on Monday night, so that part of the weekend was all set too.
So as far as Ana was concerned the weekend plans were:
Friday: Dinner with Fausy and then go see Lee's band play.
Saturday: Shopping during the day, movie premiere at night, late night dinner after the movie.
Sunday: Brunch, and then the concert at night.
Monday: Dinner with friends for my birthday.
All of that…not happenin'.
Now all I had to figure out was how to propose to the love of my life.
Plan 1: I originally wanted to propose in Guatemala on Friday night. We were flying with Lee that morning, Fausy was meeting us there, and we were surprising her parents at the house. That idea was scrapped since the second I told her that we were going to Guatemala (which I was going to do on Friday morning), would have immediately known that she was getting engaged. Blech.. Ok, next...
Plan 2: This one was hatched on Tuesday night, and was tossed out a day later. Ana met me at my office Tuesday night to go to dinner and then to see Lee's band play (side note: Lee told his whole band about the show that they were playing on Friday night, but weren't playing Friday night, but were playing Friday night if Ana mentioned anything to them about it -- again, GENIUS). When she walked into my office she announced, "WE'RE GOING TO GUATEMALA!" I almost passed out. She said that her business trip during the first weekend in November was cancelled (little voice in my head: "she's talking about November, not this weekend, calm down and focus…you’re still in the clear…"), and that there was a sale on flights to Guatemala. Ana hadn't been back home in awhile, and already talked with her Mom (remember: her parents had no idea about the engagement plan). I couldn’t think of a way around it in the 0.000001 seconds I had to evaluate all possible responses, so I smiled ear to ear and said, "GUUUUAAAATTTEEEMMMMAAAALLLLAAAAA" (little voice in my head: “Two trips to Guate within 3 weeks of each other? Why not!?!?!). At this point my brain was mush, and my heart was pounding. I started thinking about a Friday morning proposal and I thought I had it all set, but as I said, my brain was mush. When I started asking a few people's opinions on Wednesday, they all thought I was nuts. Our flight on Friday was at 9am, and I had the car picking us up at 6am, so the proposal would have had to have been a few hours earlier. I was trying to figure out how to make it happen, but then someone said "no woman wants to be proposed to at 4am." Strike two...
Plan 3: The one that worked. :)
Plan 3 was born immediately after the squashing of Plan 2. On Thursday, October 11th, I left the office around 4pm and went back to the apartment. I bought 15 dozen roses, tore the petals off of 12 dozen, and placed them all over the apartment. I then took 2 dozen full roses, laid them out around the apartment, and put remaining dozen roses, the red ones, in a vase. Once that part of the plan was set, I picked her up at the gym and we went out for dinner. We had planned on having a quiet dinner that night, since the rest of the weekend was booked solid. I didn't want her to suspect anything, so I took her to Serafina's for dinner (a nice place, but nothing that says, "Whooooaaaa Nelly!!!"). My heart had been pounding since I woke up that morning. On the way back from dinner Ana wanted to stop off to pick up some fruit at the grocery store (little voice in my head: "I'm not going to pass out...I'm not going to pass out..."), so we did and then went back into our building. She said that she wanted to watch the latest "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" show (which by the way is a great show on the Travel Channel -- we highly recommend it) which we had recorded on the DVR back at my apartment. We get out of the elevator, and as I was putting the key in the door I look at her and say:
Craig: "You don't want to watch the show, do you?"
Ana: "Yeah, why?"
Craig: "Wouldn't you rather pack your bags for our trip to Guatemala tomorrow?"
Ana: [stunned look on her face] "Wha?"
Craig: "We're going to Guatemala tomorrow."
I open the door...she sees the flowers on the floor...I walk her into the apartment...she's looking around in amazement...she's beyond surprised... I walk her in, pick up the ring, get down on one knee, she says yes, and we're engaged. She's stunned, starring at me in complete shock.
Ana: "We're engaged?"
[smiles, hugs, kisses]
Ana: "Wait, are we really going to Guate?"
Ana: "...and all of the plans for the weekend?"
Craig: "I spoke with him, and he's going to come to New York in a few weeks instead. Sorry about that, I know you wanted to see him."
Ana: "Wait, this is why you didn't want me to plan anything for Friday night?"
The next morning, the car is waiting for us downstairs. We walk out of the lobby, and she thinks we're taking a taxi, but there's a limo waiting. She looks at me and says, "a limo!?!?" We put our bags in the trunk, she gets in the car, and Lee is sitting at the other end screaming, "HOLA MI HERMANA!"
We get to the airport, fly to Guate, and the car is waiting for us.
We get back to her house, and she hears Fausy.
Ana: "Fausy!?!?! Whoooooooooooa!"
Her Mom gets home. Surprise: Ana, Craig, Fausy, and Lee are all there.
Her Dad gets home. Surprise: Ana, Craig, Fausy, and Lee are all there.
Fredy gets home. Surprise: Lee is there.
We all had an unbelievable weekend, and made it back on Monday with plenty of time to get to my birthday dinner. ;)
Now all we've got to do is plan the wedding!
Date: June 14, 2008
Location: Casa Santo Domingo. Antigua, Guatemala.