When Curtis and I were approximately 8 weeks into dating, he made the comment “I already know how I would propose to you.” which was weird, for a number of reasons, most of them being that I did not feel that I gave any indication of what I would want out of a proposal. But I did remember jamming out to Paper Rings earlier that week when we were both in the car and figured… yeah, that’s probably it.
So anyway, fast forward a little less than a year, and I can tell that he is practicing paper ring making. And he waited so long that by this point, we have already basically planned our elopement (and my bridal shower). So there wasn’t really a lot of time left. Therefore, I knew that it was coming, exactly when it was going to happen, and how. Which is exactly the opposite of what I’ve always dreamed.
So it comes to the night I know it’s going to happen, and he’s put a sticky note on the door that says “come on in,” and then the door is locked… so I unlock the door and walk in and all the lights are off. He took the flowers that he had gotten me a few weeks earlier and made a little path down the hallway with them along with one (1) single candle from the fireplace mantle. Like just sitting, lit, in the middle of the hallway. One candle. And of course, the song “Paper Rings” is playing from the computer speakers in the bedroom.
So I follow the flower path to his bedroom, and he is just in the doorway of his bedroom, on one knee, in a suit. And he starts talking to me. But the music is blasting, and it’s dark, and I am not really getting any of what he’s saying. So I tell him to like, turn on the light and turn down the music, so he gets up and does that, and then comes back to one knee.
He says “I am so excited to spend eternity with you!” and then stands up and hands me a little “ring box” that he made by taping together two canvases that he and his kid painted. And I just am like “ok? You got a question or something?” and he’s like “oh!” and goes to get back on one knee and I’m just like “…Curtis… this is really bad” and he goes “…is that a no?”
Now let’s rewind for a MOMENT. First of all, I had been telling him for MONTHS that if his proposal was bad, I was going to say no. Also, because he is such a D&D nerd, I thought it would be really cool if, when he asked me to marry him, I gave him a 20 sided die (called a D20) and told him to roll for persuasion. But I didn’t want to have him accidentally roll low, because I was already planning on saying yes, so I found a D20 where all the sides were 20. And when I knew he was going to propose, I made sure to have it on me.
So like… should I have said no? Absolutely. He proposed to me in his BEDROOM, and not only that, but in the DOORWAY, so that while he’s down on one knee, I have the beautiful backdrop of his unmade bed with a pile of laundry on it. Like people go to the ends of the earth to get the proposal vibes right and he couldn’t even go for a WALK? I was so upset. But I already had the die!
So when he asked, “is that a no?”, I took out the die and handed it to him, saying “roll for persuasion.” And instead of saying “oh my GOODNESS THAT’S SO COOL,” he just rolled it and said “20!” and I was like “bro this is the coolest thing I’ve ever found and you’re not going to even comment on how cool it is?” and he was like “yeah it’s cool but I’m trying to focus on you” and I was like “dude but what about the fact that I got this for YOU” it was a mess.
Anyway the ring he made was INCREDIBLE. So like idea: 10 but execution: 2
The Me Showing Him What a Proposal Should Be
I was all bent out of shape about how he proposed and how it should have been better so I decided that in addition to being bitter about how he proposed, I was going to show him how to do it the RIGHT way. But instead of calling it a proposal, I called it me “accepting the proposal.”
So I told him that I would be gone that night and would get home after he got there. I parked my car down the street so he wouldn’t see it and would really think that I wasn’t there. I made his favorite crockpot dinner so it was the first thing he smelled when he walked in, I decorated the place big time (like with confetti balloons that said YES and hanging lights and pictures of us from the ceiling) and then made a scavenger hunt throughout all the meaningful things or places that were within like 50 feet, each with a reason I wanted to marry him. On the TV, I even brought up the start screen for the show “13 Reasons Why” (this was on our 13 month mark) and then taped notecards that said “I WANT TO MARRY YOU” (so it read “13 reasons why I want to marry you) and I realize the tone is a complete and total mismatch but that’s kinda what I thought made it funny.
The clues took him to the first place we cooked together (kitchen), place we first kissed (couch), first place we took a roadtrip to (it was on the map I had on the wall), and a bunch of other places. Clue #12 was in my room (which was CLEAN with NO LAUNDRY on the bed) where I was, dressed in my elopement dress that he hadn’t seen yet, and with my guitar. When he came in, I was planning to sing him a song I wrote for him, but I didn’t finish it, so I just started singing random stuff like “I was gonna write you a song and sing it but I didn’t finish it” and it kinda morphed into Buddy the Elf’s “I love you, I love you, I loooooove you” song.
Then the 13th clue took him to the game cabinet, where I had made him a card game about our relationship. It mirrored the game “Dungeon Mayhem” which was one of the games he had that I actually liked playing with him.
There is a whole post on this here but long story short we went to Burger King to Have it Our Way and wore crowns and he put an onion ring on my finger and we had our first dance in the WalMart parking lot and then we had hostess cakes and it was perfect.
The Wedding Planning
We had three invitations that we gave out to different people – one that was specific to the people who knew me really well, one for like 8 people that knew Curtis really well, and one for people who we wanted there but weren’t necessarily super close to either of us.
Mine said “After many prayers, the mother of Tyffani is pleased to announce that her daughter has finally found Curtis (someone who can “handle her strong personality.”) Please join us to express congratulations and condolences”
The general one said: “Tyffani and Curtis have decided that they love each other so much, it’s time to get the government involved.”
And Curtis’s? Well that’s one secret I’ll never tell. I mean, I can send it to you personally, but I won’t publish it for the world.
On the back, we put QR codes for the registry and the RSVP. We had two for registry: one that linked to our amazon registry, and one that linked to this video:
It saddens me that not enough people probably watched that. All the creative genius just for it to go unappreciated.
We had a taco truck. Nuff said.
We rented out a beautiful bed and breakfast about 10 minutes away from civilization. His family from out of town stayed there and we had the ceremony out back.
I bought my dress off Wish for like $37. Then I waited until the week before my wedding to decide that I kinda didn’t like it and wanted to do something to it… but I’m not very old at sewing. So my grandmother and stepmom came to the rescue and redid the ENTIRE top of the dress. See before and afters.
I will never understand how people can spend THOUSANDS of dollars on plants that will DIE. I figured that we would already have enough nature, what with it being an outdoor wedding, so we really only needed bouquets. And so a few friends and I went out the morning of my wedding day and picked some weeds from the side of the road to make bouquets out of.
People call them weeds, but I think they are beautiful. They grow on the side of the road and they seem to pop up everywhere. They are resilient. They are omnipresent. And I love that I can’t help but drive past them every year around this time and remember my special day.
I tried to have a “digital guest book” with a tripod and camera and props and white boards so I didn’t have to look back in 40 years and be like “who’s that?” when reading people’s names in a guest book, but only like 6 people actually did it. I blame the poor placement, which is ultimately my fault.
We decorated the trunk of Curtis’s car and put a sign that said “GIFTS – because they’re going to end up here anyway” and was that tacky? I don’t really care, because it means I didn’t have transfer gifts from a table to a car at the end of the night.
I ordered a bunch of face masks and wrote our wedding hashtag – DEGRAWWYEAH – on them, because what’s a more covid appropriate wedding accessory?
Instead of a ring bearer, my niece was our ring BEAR. I got a ring box that looked like a D20 and sent it down the aisle with her to give to Curtis, who had no idea that I had gotten it. My stepkid also dressed up like a dog and was “Best Man’s Best Friend.” My bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Wannabe by the Spice Girls, and I walked down the aisle to the clean version of “All Eyes on Me” by Bo Burnham. Our brother in law was our flower dude and he absolutely killed it. Nobody “married” us, I really just treated it like my stand up comedy special. We exchanged some vows, exchanged our rings, and then went in for the open-mouthed kiss (of course).
Some people smash a vase or walk around the altar, but I decided that our “joining of the hearts” symbolic gesture would be for Curtis to drink out of my red cup.
You see, when I was a child (youngest of 4), we went through a lot of dishes, and so my dad suggested that we each choose one cup and use that cup only. I think he meant like “per day,” but I committed. I chose the only red cup we had, and for the REST of my life, that was MY cup. Nobody else dared drink from MY red cup unless they wanted to incur MY wrath. So, to symbolize that what is mine is now Curtis’s, I let him drink from my red cup.
I haven’t seen that cup since the ceremony. I’m actually a little distraught about that.
Some people cut the cake and then feed each other. Instead, I had my friend make us each a smallish smash cake and we had a cake eating contest – like hands behind your back, faces only — the whole deal. The cakes were actually way too big to be smash cakes and yet, in my commitment, I finished mine – which means I was the winner – not only of the competition, but also of some nausea.
Some people do a first dance. And actually, I had been wanting my WHOLE life to do a dance off in place of a first dance, but in the hustle of wedding planning, I didn’t find time to choreograph dances or patch together songs to go back and forth to. But I DID write him a song, asked someone to help me “produce it”, and played that to dance our “first dance” to. Harass me for that and I might send you the mp3.
I made 5 playlists – the wedding welcome music, the aisle procession, the dinner hour, the dancing, and the Taylor Swift hour.
I have a lot of things I would do differently if I could do it over. I joke that now I know how to do it better for my next wedding. But there’s gonna have to be a funeral before that happens because Curtis’s only way outta this relationship is in a body bag.