She Said Yes!
A Ring Story...
It's always amazing to hear the proposal stories our couples have to tell! Some are sweet, some are funny, sometimes (ok, often) we tear up while reading them. Ingrid & Courtney's was no different, except that they are friends with the super-crazy-amazing-talented Anna Sheffield who designed their rings especially for them. No biggie, just the most jaw-dropping, stunning rings we've ever seen. So, we asked Ingrid & Courtney to tell us their proposal story, but also, their ring story!
From Ingrid & Courtney...
I originally took Courtney to Anna's shop in Soho, before her beautiful Atelier on Ludlow existed. There were just a few samples at that time, which we had the pleasure of feasting our eyes on. Anna is so impeccably talented and a true old spirit. She's both of this world and part of the fabric of many worlds, but above all, she's a truly compassionate individual and designer. What she creates is shaped by the connections she sees between people and the beauty of the stone.
When Courtney and I were at her shop, we were about to head to a friend's wedding (also lesbian, who got married in Fort Green park in Brooklyn). I had my eye on a black diamond rosette ring, but when Courtney tried it on I realized she needed something more tailored to her unique boy/girl qualities. An in-between with the same sparkle. And it was around that realization that Anna's assistant showed us a prototype ring, which several months later during a beautiful hike in Mount Tam, Courtney proposed to me with! The raw pink diamond was the inspiration to design the setting in yellow gold, surrounded by pave white diamonds, which currently sits in my matching wedding ring. Anna worked with me on a design for Courtney's engagement ring and wedding band, which I proposed to her with in NYC around her birthday, on my soil (I used to live in Brooklyn).
I was already planning to propose to her in Portugal summer 2013. I was working with Anna and Naomi on a custom designed ring with black diamonds set in rose gold. I was taking my time since I figured I had 6 months and boy was I surprised when Courtney took me hiking and popped the question in a shady, tree and moss laden area. She beat me to it!
I had to switch plans. I didn't want to wait until Portugal and since she proposed around a day or so after my birthday, I had her upcoming April birthday in sight. Anna and Naomi were awesome in working with me to get the ring done and shipped in time for my "it's your Birthday and we are celebrating in NYC" announcement to Coco.
When we got to NYC we headed to Brooklyn. I wanted to take her to the East River Ferry after a pit stop at Marlow & Sons. We ran into Leslie Satterfield and I had a chance while Coco was in the lavatory to show her the ring. And then it started raining. And got pretty cold. This was not what I had in mind.
I remember texting my Brooklyn pals - they were all asking me about it since there was a pre-arranged series of dinner parties and cocktail celebrations on behalf of Coco's birthday and our engagement. I recall writing "it's just not going to happen today..." and off Coco and I went on our chilly, rainy exploration of Brooklyn. I took her shopping at ID and we had some time to kill before dinner #1. As a previous flea market vendor, I suggested we take a long, windy route to the Williamsburg flea market site. It was Friday and people still hadn't fully commuted home from work, so it was nice and quiet. We walked over to the waterfront, past the ferry, and there was a small, private inlet. It seemed perfect since NYC across the east river was covered in fog, so similar to San Francisco.
I attempted to distract her by suggesting she take a picture. She sweetly looked at me confused, looking out to the mass of grey before her. "Sure," she said and I handed her my phone with one hand and dug deep into my bag with the other, searching like a kid for the last bit of candy, or in this case, the most radiant jewelry I have ever purchased in my life in a little white box. Coco says I did a swooping motion down to one knee and took her hand - I'm glad she remembers it that way - and as I looked up at her (what seemed like a great distance) I said "Courtney, from one coast to another, from my peninsula to yours, and the SF fog here in Brooklyn, will you marry me?"
I opened the box - presenting the contents to her in gentleman regality. In slow motion her eyes widened - "oh my god!" she yelled as the ring basked in exposure. She took her leather glove off (yes, it was that cold out in April) and my hair was in a torrent of wind (I swear San Francisco followed us) and I slipped the gorgeous ring on her finger. It was a perfect fit. And she beamed - I knew that the ring suited her to a "T" - and we smiled, embraced, giggled, and ran off to find some warmth. It didn't matter that the elements around us were so raw - we felt the kind of happiness that beamed from our inner campfire to the rings beholden on our hands that connect us in so many more ways than one.
Initially, I had planned on proposing to Ingrid during our pending trip to Portugal this summer. However, when I received her ring in the mail in January, I knew I couldn't hold onto such a beauteous thing for too long, it would be impossible to wait six months. Fast forward to February, a few weeks prior to Ingrid's birthday I had gone on a hike in Mt. Tamalpais, the views were gorgeous and I instantly knew I had to bring Ingrid to a magnificent lookout to pop the big question.
Let the prepping begin, Ingrid loves a mystery story, the more Sherlock in her life the better. So I decided to do a little photoshop work on a map of Mt. Tamalpais and its many trails. On the map I included a personal trail including highlights and milestones of our relationship. Rather than an X marking the spot I placed a heart with a question mark. I then created a coded message using Morse code to ask "Will You Marry Me?"
Then it was her birthday. With secret props in my hiking bag, we set out for Ingrid's birthday hike. First, a picnic and then a series of unpredictable events. We embarked on the first trail - Ingrid got vertigo! Yes, we had to turn back. Time for me to improvise, we set out on another quick trail to a secluded lookout point to relax and take in the view - Blasted! A hiker decides to pop a squat and meditate right next to us, or rather practically on top of us. Ok, flustered, I suggest we seek some privacy and continue down option C, a trail I had no intention of taking her on, but what the heck, I have to pee and there's a ranger station close by. Finally, with patience running thin and a ring burning a hole in my pocket, we sit down under a canopy of trees and I take out my home-made map and field notes pad with my coded proposition. "Why don't you pick the next trail," I suggest. Ingrid takes the map and thinks it a birthday surprise. After she reads it she's beaming and then I flip open the pad with a Morse code legend to help her decode. When she finished she couldn't stop saying "What!?" "Courtney Howard! Are you serious?!" this repeated for about a minute (longest of my life). I replied does "Soooo, does what mean yes?" She then said "of course!" At that time, I was on the edge of my seat, heart racing, and had almost forgotten to pull the ring out. When I presented her with the ring her her mouth dropped and her eyes opened wide, she couldn't believe it. Giddy with delight, she basked in the diamond's pink light.
As we drove back towards the city, I had one more surprise for her, I suggested we celebrate with a little pink bubbly at Cavallo Point. When we arrived, I pulled up to the valet check-in, popped the trunk, and pulled out an overnight bag for the two of us. Champagne, dinner, and spa treatments followed. The rest is history.
Photos By Leslie Satterfield of Lovers & Dreamers Photograpy