Amanda and Eli: Marriage Proposal in Portland

How We Met; Her Side: Eli and I met in October of 2007. I was in my third year of law school, and was working as an intern in the Domestic Violence Unit of the DA’s office in Portland. Eli was employed as a Deputy DA in the same office, but for the first several months of my internship, our paths never crossed. Then, in early fall, I learned that a man named Elijah Nadell would be transferring to the DV Unit.

I still remember the day I met Eli. When I was introduced to him, and shook his hand, a feeling washed over me that said, “Always remember this moment because this is someone special.” Call it corny if you want, but it’s a feeling I had never had before, and it stuck with me. I knew I had to get to know this guy.

Over the course of the next several weeks, Eli and I got to know each other over lunches and after work drinks. I heard about his large family back in New Jersey, and he heard me complain about law school and the looming Bar exam. We quickly became friends, and soon after I developed “let’s be more than friends” feelings for Eli.

Unfortunately, there was just one MAJOR problem with “liking” Eli. He had facial hair. A full-on beard and mustache! And I had a rule: I wasn’t attracted to men with facial hair. Of course, I made sure to tell Eli that over one of our lunches.

Nonetheless, we continued to hang out and eventually our friendship developed into a relationship that grew into a love to last a lifetime. I even got over my disdain of the facial hair. In fact, I can’t imagine Eli without it! I knew early on that Eli was “the one” for me and I can’t wait to spend our lives together.

How He Asked; His Side: Amanda knew we would be married this year.  More than that, she knew that we would get engaged last year.  She knew it because she told me so.  This left me with quite the quandary.  How was I supposed to propose, make it romantic, and keep her from seeing it coming from a mile away?  After some thinking I came up with a plan, simple and straightforward.  I would ask Amanda to marry me over a romantic dinner.

First off, nothing says romance like Tuesday.  Well OK, so Tuesday doesn’t exactly scream romance but that was kind of the point.  I needed a night out that could be romantic, without being obvious.  Also, the ring was ready on Monday and I didn’t trust myself not to blurt out “Will you marry me?” like an idiot at some inopportune moment.  It took a little coaxing, because who goes out for a romantic dinner on a Tuesday, but on June 28, 2011 we went out to dinner.

Dinner was at St. Jack, a superb little French restaurant in SE Portland.  I spoke to the maitre d’ before hand and asked to have two glasses of champagne mysteriously appear after dinner.  Dinner was fantastic, although Amanda kept asking me why I was acting funny and smiling so much.  When the champagne arrived I saw the look on Amanda’s face.  It wasn’t romantic at all.  It was that look that says “I didn’t order this and I damn well ain’t paying for this!”  I knew I had to move fast.  With the waitress half blocking my way I went to one knee next to Amanda and pulled the ring from my pocket.

I had planned on saying something about how Amanda was the best thing to ever happen to me, how I wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together… I wanted to sound cool.  However, when I got down there, all those “cool” things I had planned to say went right out of my head and all that came out was a nervous “Amanda, I love you.  Will you marry me?”

Her tearful response, “Yes!”

It has occurred to me since the proposal that I didn’t need to worry so much about being cool and pulling off the best proposal speech of all time.  I had a pretty good feeling that Amanda would have said yes no matter what words I uttered.  A point affirmed when she turned to me five minutes later and asked “Did I say yes? Wait, no, what did you say exactly?”

So there we were, in a restaurant full of people who are all staring directly at us.  I thought it went pretty well, but not everything went exactly according to plan.  During the proposal I could hear some guy behind me say “Oh my god, what is he doing? LOOK!”  followed by “Do we clap?” and then a round of applause.  Somewhere between Amanda’s crying and all that damn attention, Amanda took the ring out of the box and placed it on her own finger.  So much for me being cool, but then again she had been waiting for this moment for some time.

Shortly after, the maitre d’ swung by and we asked him to take our picture.  I have no fear of public speaking.  I love Amanda and am confident in receiving her love as well.  But let me tell you, I have never been so anxious about anything in my entire life.  The pictures from that night caught me looking terrible and sweating bullets, obviously a nervous wreck even after she said “yes.”

Our parents likely still remember our happy late night phone calls, waking them from their slumber.  Who gets engaged on a Tuesday anyway?

Photos by Swoon Photography
Proposal: St. Jack
Wedding Venue: Elk Cove Vineyards