On September 19, 2017 I got the biggest shock ever! My boyfriend of the last nearly seven years, Brandon, proposed to me in front of Rockefeller Center. He joined me on a business trip to New York, as he often does since it's our favorite city to visit. Little did I know that he had talked to my dad several weeks prior and was waiting until we had arrived to pick up the ring from my favorite jewelry store, Catbird, which is located in Brooklyn.
When he met me after my final appointment of the day we went for a casual stroll towards Central Park and balked at the massive security presence needed to usher Trump's helicopter into his building on fifth. Then we turned a corner and he suggested I take a picture of the church across from 30 Rock. He quickly pulled a ring out of the Whole Foods bag he was holding (how appropriate!) and asked me to marry him. We decided we didn't want to waste any time, since we are generally impatient people, and would get married in February 2018. Just five months to plan this whole shindig!
We went for a romantic dinner at Bistango in the Kimberley hotel in the upper end of mid-town. It's our favorite allergy-friendly restaurant in the city and I visit every time I'm there.
When we told our parents, they wanted to host an engagement dinner straight away. Couples often have an engagement party, which can be nearly the size of a wedding itself, but with our short time frame that was not an option. We immediately decided on The Keg since it's high end enough to be a celebratory destination, but also notoriously amazing with food allergies.
The immediate post-engagement period can be a nerve-wracking time since there are so many moving parts and they will all come about at once. So I suggest sticking with places you are comfortable with and not seeing it as a time to take risks or try new things. Try to eliminate stress and anxiety wherever possible!
People will want to have you over for dinner, take you out to dinner, throw you a party at work, and other ways of showing their happiness for you as a couple. The intention is good, but as a person with allergies it just caused me more stress. I found us passing on these invitations wherever possible because I was too apprehensive about someone untrained in the ways of food allergies cooking for me. We instead invited several couples over to our place for dinner, and asked them to bring the wine.
Cooking our own meals made me feel safer and better able to enjoy the celebration with others. Coincidentally I went for my annual skin prick test shortly after our engagement. Being in that environment helped to quell my anxiety for a short while as it always does when I get one on one time with my allergist. Having the opportunity to ask him specific questions and discuss the events of the past year puts my mind at ease. I like to say I'm the OG allergy patient, because I've been seeing him for 27 years.
My mind was spinning with thoughts of what I would eat at the shower, where we'd go for our honeymoon, would my friends expect me to drink at my bachelorette party, and on and on. My advice for this stage of the game is to relax as much as possible and just let it all sink in. Let your family know that you need some time to consider where you want your celebratory meals to be. They may want to take you to a fancy new restaurant, but if you aren't comfortable, don't be shy to say so. Be in control!
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