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The Unexpected Birthday Surprise – AKA The Engagement


Nikki, bride to be

I’m Nikki and I work as a Customer Experience Manager for the Debenhams website. I’m really excited to be writing regularly for the Debenhams blog tracking my wedding planning process. So, for my very first post, here is how it all started…

After a wonderful year and a half together my boyfriend managed to totally (but happily) shock me by proposing on my birthday and did a very good job on the perfect timing and setting! After a relaxed day in London, surprise spa treat and a bottle of wine in the sunshine my fiancé-to-be had arranged for us to stay the night in a lovely 18th Century boutique hotel with dinner at a foodie restaurant.

After a delicious meal and post-dinner drinks we returned to the hotel where he started acting a bit weird insisting that he take the room key from me (I’m the control freak in our relationship!) Back in our gorgeous room, complete with ancient 4 poster bed, he insisted that I close my eyes for my last birthday surprise. To my total astonishment upon opening my eyes I found my boyfriend on one knee with an open ring box displaying the most absolutely gorgeous ring known to woman.

He quickly blurted out those famous words (rather quickly) to which my response was “Oh my God, are you sure?!” – and then after a quick recovery I managed to say “Of course I’ll marry you, you idiot!” The rest of the weekend was spent in a very happy haze of champagne, sunshine and girly squeals.

Nikki and Jamie

My top engagement tips

  • If you are proposed to (and it’s a good surprise) try to accept graciously – don’t respond to the big question with “Are you sure?!”
  • If you’re like me and haven’t been planning your wedding since birth and generally don’t have a clue yet, prepare for the barrage of “when, where, who and what will your wedding dress be like”questions – don’t worry they die down after a while.

Engagement ring things…

  • Bear in mind that although your engagement ring may fit well at the bottom of your engagement finger, you will at some point have to accommodate a wedding band on this finger as well so try on some bands to get the sizing correct.
  • Engagement ring insurance – very important and just in case. (you can usually add it to your home contents insurance)
  • Have a chat with your beloved about what type of day you would like, possible locations and guest numbers as different people have their different ideals (my enthusiastic “Vegas Baby!” suggestion was not quite what the future Mr. had in mind!) Start pulling a list of venues together to view quite quickly as these tend to get booked up very quickly both in the UK and abroad.
  • Don’t expect your relationship to change now you’re engaged, yes you’ve accepted to turn up on a day where you will commit the rest of your life to one person but smelly socks will still be left on the floor.

I’d love to hear from anyone planning a wedding too, you can leave me a comment below.

Next instalment: Wedding Venue shopping and The Guest List negotiation!

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  • Your flatmate

    Please can I be included on the guest list Nikki seeing as I am your faithful, tidy and patient-about-discussing-the-cost-of-seat-covers flatmate?!

    Much love and love the blog! xx

  • Jamie (the other one)

    Very good, love it!

  • Amanda

    I too am planning a wedding next year – we want to have a big reception on a campsite and have everyone stay over for a couple of nights. Having problems securing a site – but I am sure we will do so soon. Have started on a fitness campaign as I don’t want to be married how I look now. I was not planning on having a wedding ring – but have changed my mind so am saving up for that now – didn’t realize how expensive good jewels are.

  • Jane

    My fiancee and I are also getting married next year and havent done a thing, the first thing for us is the venue, but havent a clue where to start, anyone with any advice?

  • Kathy

    Hi Nikki, Congratulations! Your other half sounds very romantic! We are planning a wedding for April next year, one year on from the engagement. We are enjoying tackling each decision together and hopefully, bit by bit, it will all fall in to place and there will be little to no stress in the last month before the wedding. Fingers crossed.. Good luck with your venue hunting. K

  • Nikki

    Hi Jane/Amanda,

    Look out for my next blog which details the venue hunt and which will hopefully share with you some tips which should help you all decide – wish I’d had these to start with, this wedding thing is definitely a learning curve!

    Hope all your wedding plans are coming together.

    Nikki, bride to be