It’s hard to believe how much life can change in a single year. While it was kind of a strange year for many, 2018 was by far the most eventful year of my life. From meeting my future husband, Alfie, to moving in with him, adopting a rescue dog, finding my dream job, finishing grad school, and getting engaged—it’s safe to say my life looks almost nothing like it did a year ago.
To properly tell this story, I feel like I need to start at the beginning: Just over a year ago, I walked into a bar in Santa Monica to meet a Hinge date who I had been secretly thrilled to meet. My expectations were high, and both of us were clearly nervous, but the next 90 minutes easily ended up being one of the more disappointing dates I had ever been on. The gist of our date was: Alfie barely spoke, and I talked too much in order to fill the awkward silence. I was horrified he had never read the Harry Potter books (he reminds me of this near-dealbreaker at least once a month), and he was bummed that his USC grad student date talked way too much. I ended the date after finishing my first drink, chalking it up to a simple, yet all-too-common mismatch.
And then, something happened. As we walked out of the bar together, we kept talking. He was more relaxed and more himself. I don’t remember this, but Alfie does clearly: As we hugged goodbye, I held on for just a second too long and slightly rubbed his back while thanking him for coming out to meet me. I didn’t think this moment was a big deal, but as it turns out, it’s the sole reason Alfie thought maybe he had a shot at a second date. It encouraged him to text me over the next month to convince me to give our first date a mulligan. In essence, one hug may have changed the course of my entire life...
When we met again, he felt like a completely different person. He was confident, smart, fun, and infinitely more talkative. As we left the bar, he grabbed my hand almost in a protective way as we crossed the street—a moment I'll never forget. In the letter he wrote me to accompany his proposal, Alfie wrote: “When we met around a year ago, I thought it would be the last time I saw you. However, something inside told me to keep trying. Upon walking out of the Craftsman, I realized I had found a best friend. I can’t imagine my life without you.”
After an incredibly jam-packed year, we flew to Minneapolis just after Christmas to hang out with my family for New Year’s. Little did I know, Alfie had been planning the entire thing for over a month and my entire family knew. Alfie had planned the details with my brother-in-law, Tuck, who is a brewer at Unmapped Brewing just outside of Minneapolis.
As it turned out, the destination couldn't have been more us. All of those “deep talks” you have in the beginning stages of a relationship? They all happened at our local brewery, Santa Monica Brew Works. When we got Alexa, we started going to even more breweries, because most of them allow dogs (either inside or on the patio).
On December 28th, 2018, we slept in, drank coffee, and went to the grocery store. Nothing fancy. Around 3 P.M., Alfie, my dad, and I hopped into the car to go see Tuck at Unmapped. I hadn’t been there yet, so naturally I was excited to see it. On the way there we heard an ad on the radio about engagement rings, which for some reason sent me on a crazed rant about mass-produced vs. handmade rings (I used to work for a vintage jewelry company that sold mostly one-of-a-kind engagement rings, so I'm very passionate about the subject). Amazingly, this discussion somehow didn't tip me off as to what was about to happen (d'oh!). When we walked into the brewery, my day was already made when we were greeted by not one, but TWO huskies at the very front table. We grabbed a beer and were joined by my mom, sister, and two nephews at a big table Tuck had reserved for us.
An hour went by drinking beers and eating seasoned pretzels before Alfie and Tuck got up to get a taster flight from the bar. Alfie came back, and set the flight of four in front of me. One of the glasses was empty, which I only sort of registered as strange. I asked which beers were which, and Alfie said: “Okay so the numbers are on the board, but this one is 6, this is 7, this one’s 8, and this one is ‘Will you marry me?’”. I turned to look at him, and he’s down on one knee with a ring box in his hand. My immediate reaction was: shock. Alfie is an introvert, and I never in a million years would have expected him to propose in a public place (or at least with other people around). I immediately hugged him and buried my head into his shoulder. I remember saying “Oh my God” and “You’re insane” (for proposing in public!!!), and I’m pretty sure I said yes, but my face was buried and he couldn’t hear me. About a minute went by and Alfie laughed and asked, “So is that a yes?”. I said, "Yes!" a little louder, and hugged him tighter.
Once the world came back into focus, I noticed there was a ring on the table—my ring—a ring that we had very briefly discussed that I loved in early November. I put it on, and it was perfect. My family all swooped in for hugs, my mom and sister obsessed over my ring, and we took some photos. I'm told that a random couple at the next table witnessed the event and gave us a little golf clap. It was perfect, and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.
It's a delicate yellow gold ring with a prong-set rose cut oval diamond set East-West, with two baguettes and round diamonds decorating the band. It’s a combination of the Parson ring and the Swinton ring from a company in Texas called ILA Collection. I steered Alfie in the direction of this company when he asked what kind of ring I eventually wanted (they use AI to help you choose your diamond, which is perfect for my Data Scientist fiancé), and of all the rings they offer, he picked the exact one I had been looking at.
Congrats, Kelly and Alfie!
P.S., You can read Kelly's tips for online dating here! And, if you couldn't tell: Kelly is our in-house ring expert, after working in the industry for nearly a decade. We'll be asking her all of our ring questions on an upcoming post (including her single most important pre-engagement tip), but comment with any questions here!