#McMillion Wedding: The Proposal of the Universe, Sept. 19, 2010

by Emily McFarlan Miller

I was at a stamping party (yes, I said “stamping party”) at my in-laws’ when another young woman stopped me: “You’re the girl from the book!” “The book” is the wedding photo album I’d made my husband’s and my parents for Christmas using Shutterfly. Evidently, it had been circulating around the party before I’d arrived.

“If I get married someday, I want my wedding to look just like yours!” she said.

I took that as a pretty high compliment, particularly since I planned the whole thing in less than a year and back before we had Pinterest. As in last year.

That’s right: Joel and I will be married a year this month.

It doesn’t feel like its been that long. At the same time, I can’t believe we’ve condensed everything that’s happened since into 365 days — not even! Needless to say, I’ve been thinking about all those things, all those other things we’ve learned and the party that started it all.

And while the marriage part is the most important (and I have the privilege of sharing some of that now on Start Marriage Right), I thought I would share a little bit of the wedding part here this month (inspired by Come On, Ilene‘s wedding series). Just in case you might want your wedding to look just like ours, too. And just so I have an excuse to pin wedding-y things like everybody else.

But first things first…

Proposal stories never make sense. I realize this. They always are long and rambling, full of inside jokes, narrated by someone too excited about the whole thing to actually make sense while describing it.

That’s why I’m giving you an “out” — both a long version and a short version. Or you just can look at the pictures and make up a story to go with them.

Long story, short

The whole proposal was well-attended by the the police, the Zodiac Killer, the saints and that guy who had a really hard time parallel-parking his car on the streets of Chicago. After all that, I said yes.

The long story

At first, I couldn’t understand why Joel was so insistent about going on a date to see a crappy Michael Cera movie at the dollar theater. Although, “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” turned out to be pretty good. And Coast Sushi Bar afterward was really, really good. But when he suggested afterward that we go for a walk… down by Lake Michigan… and have dessert… Then I knew where this was going. He was recreating our first two dates. (Two years ago, the crappy Michael Cera movie was “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.”) He was about to propose.

And then I got nervous.

It’s a long drive from Bucktown to Belmont Harbor, and the closer we got, the more nervous I got. Another car pulled in behind us when we stopped at the park. No one got out, and we couldn’t see who was inside. Which made me not just nervous, but completely freaked out.

“I think it’s the Zodiac Killer,” I said.

“I think it’s the police,” he said.

To make the long story shorter, I made Joel go talk to the Zodiac Killer, who turned out to be the police after all and who kicked us out of the park, which was closing. Which meant we had to think of another scenic locale for our… uh, “picnic.”

We ended up at St. Hedwig Catholic Church, not far from Joel’s apartment. And within seconds of setting up our picnic beneath the statue of St. Hedwig, he dug the ring out of his backpack and asked me to marry him. No long speech. No one knee. No big deal.

After all that, I said yes.

For the rest of our official engagement photos, see our “Chigagement” album on Shutterfly. For photos taken immediately after Joel’s proposal, see our “Proposal of the Universe” album.

Photo credit: “Chigagement” photos by the incomparable Shauna Bittle.