The Background
I’ve never pictured myself the typical bride. If and when I fantasized about the Big Day, I envisioned a kick-ass party with my family and friends—at a Vegas hotel, to be totally honest—but never was I wearing a pouffy white dress, and my hair definitely wasn’t curled into ringlets. The groom was a faceless man, about six feet tall, and built like Clooney (who, in reality, is considerably shorter—hey, it’s a fantasy). And I was walking down the aisle toward the rabbi to the tune of “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin.

Without too much psychoanalysis, let’s just say I’ve always wanted the unattainable. For me, that meant a healthy relationship with a great guy with whom I could imagine waking up happily with every day. As much as I wanted it, I just couldn’t picture myself having it.

So that probably explains why, about four years ago, when I was first set up with The Fiancé, I was minimally interested. I remember having a good time playing board games at Guthrie’s Tavern, but, for whatever reason—timing, immaturity, self-involvement—when he called to ask me out again, I didn’t call him back. (Note to singles everywhere: I was wrong. Give people a second chance—especially those with good manners.)

A Little More Background
Last summer, in the midst of my international wedding tour, I was having one of those single-girl crises: attending wedding after wedding dateless, surrounded by married couples—which made me want to break a crate of rented Champagne glasses over my head. Not so much out of jealousy or spite; more out of the fear that I wasn’t going to meet my own special someone—that person who would share my love of live music; who would understand why I always need control of the remote; and who, even on my worst day, would find me every bit as attractive as he did the first time we kissed.

And then I re-met The Fiancé, who is all those things and more. I’d make you sick if I wrote it all down here—heck, I’m about to gag, myself. Even more nauseating is that it’s almost like he knew I’d eventually come around. Our second meeting, four years and change after the first, took place last summer at Stone Lotus, where I had headed after attending an all-day bachelorette party. (I was the sole single gal learning how to perform oral sex on no one in particular—avoid such an experience at all costs.)

Things moved pretty quickly. In October, while we were dancing at Seth and Jen’s wedding reception at Carnival, he whispered in my ear, “Some day we’re going to have a party like this.” My initial thought was: ‘Why would we have a party like this? We’re at a party like this right now.’ Then I realized what he meant: a wedding reception of our own. In the cab on the way to join up with the rest of our crew at Relax Lounge, I turned to him and told him I was in love with him. Yes, you read that right: I said it first.

The Big Event
We had plans to go bowling last Friday at Lucky Strike with friends. A couple of days prior, I had gotten a phone call from my friend Seth. “Want to meet up for a drink before bowling?” he had asked. I was quick to agree, because a) we hadn’t spent much time together lately, since I’ve been holed up in Coupleville; and b) I’m not one to turn down a drink. When I left the house around 6:45 p.m., The Fiancé was staked out down the street, waiting for his cue to come over and decorate my condo before heading to the bowling alley.

How he bowled two games in a row with a score of 100-plus—knowing he was about to pop the question—is beyond me, but he showed no sign of uncertainty or nerves. And, come to think of it, no one else let on either. Everyone, including my family and friends, knew something was happening that night.

We got back to my condo around midnight—an abnormally early night for us, mind you—and as I walked in the door, Uggs in hand, thinking how I might finally kick his butt playing Wii, I did a double-take. My condo looked like a scene from the Botanical Gardens: three magnificent bouquets of flowers, with electric candles flickering throughout.

What he said after my initial shock wore off is stuff I already knew—and, frankly, I don’t remember much more than him getting down on one knee and asking, “Sarah Abigail Preston, will you marry me?”  (I said yes.) But Friday night wasn’t the only surprise: On Saturday he threw me a surprise party at High Dive and invited all of our friends to celebrate. It’s true when people say the period following your engagement is a complete high—at least until the wedding planning kicks in.

In an instant, everything I never thought I needed turned out to be exactly what I wanted. Big wedding, curled hair, the white dress—and who knows, maybe even a little Led Zeppelin.