By Arnold Jacinto and Kate Soto | 14 December 2010
My Very First Date With My Fiancée
Conventional wisdom tells us to plan based on the available resources that we have. But we have been taught otherwise – plan and the pro-vision (for the vision) will follow. This story is not about having a good plan but it’s all about having a good God.
Recovering from surgery early this year gave me a lot of time to ponder on my future. With my limited resources seeming to stall the big plans that I have, I uttered a simple prayer with the sheer desire to propose to my girlfriend this year. It was a prayer that set everything in motion.
When the 2009 Bar Examination results came out last March, it was the dawn of a new season – it’s time to talk about marriage. We have decided to have our wedding early 2012 thus she already has this expectation of an engagement proposal. Though the proposal is imminent, it was my desire not to rob her of the thrill and surprise. I figured that 2011 will be too late, and that a Christmas, New Year, Birthday or Anniversary proposal will be nothing but predictable. I wanted it to be special so I decided to propose on an ordinary day, but a universally special one – October 10, 2010.
And it’s as if my steps are being ordained. Mid this year, the company, which I have been working for, for 5 years, gave me an incentive which is unheard of. It is also about this time that it has been impressed on me to propose at Antonio’s Tagaytay. We have always wanted to dine at Antonio’s Tagaytay but it’s a far reach since there’s no access to the place using public transportation. Because it’s a special place with a facade of being unachievable, I pursued it even more and two months before October 10, 2010, I booked a dinner for two. I chose dinner time simply because aside from being romantic, I want to document the event and my digital camera does not do well on daytime shots. (This later becomes trivial a month before October 10, 2010 when my sister, who works overseas, gave me an early Christmas gift – a brand new digital camera!)
I have this conviction that before I propose, I will seek her father’s blessings and in doing so, present to them THE engagement ring as a token of my sincerity. The ring that I had in mind has to have a classic, elegant and timeless feel, everything resembling the beauty of the one who will wear it. Amidst my hectic schedule, I was able to squeeze in an appointment with this particular jeweler and when he showed me this ring – a 2010 modern classic diamond ring, the last of this amazing collection – I knew that I had found THE ring and had it made according to her finger size. (the perks of going to bridal fairs)
Taking advantage of her being away for her law firm’s monthly meeting, I took her family out a month before the proposal date. Armed with a proposal date, venue and her stunning engagement ring, I formally asked for her hand in marriage. They gave me their blessing and even volunteered to be part of the engagement plan – a plan which I even didn’t have as of that moment.
Perhaps the most difficult part is coming up with the plan because she has sent me feelers that she wanted to be beautiful on the day of her engagement without any public spectacle! Suggesting the idea of dressing up on an ordinary day will give me away, same is true if the thought comes from a family member or a common friend. I figured that she’ll least expect it when the suggestion comes from someone in her workplace, let alone from her superior, she’s barely working for 10 months in her law firm. So I mustered every courage to get in touch with the head of her firm’s Tax department through email. I asked her boss if she can compel her to go to Antonio’s Tagaytay for dinner on October 10, 2010. She agreed to help out.
Two weeks before the proposal date, she received an intra-department memo from her boss regarding a client-sponsored dinner at Antonio’s Tagaytay on October 10, 2010. Since it is a business dinner, everyone is required to come and be in formal attire. Her excitement cannot be contained knowing that she’ll be dining at Antonio’s for free.
The week of the proposal came and her schedule for the event has long been finalized – church in the morning, hair and makeup in the afternoon, go to the venue with her family (her mom seized the opportunity to buy some goods in Mahogany market). As for my itinerary, it’s going to be church with her in the morning, and in the afternoon, go to the venue so that I can already do the setup. The biggest problem is how to go to the venue ahead of her. And the provision came at the right time. On that week when I was to propose, the brand new Mitsubishi adventure which we purchased (a joint project with my sister for our parents) was turned over to us.
Sunday came with great anticipation. She knows it’s special to me because I’d be bringing the new adventure to church for break in and car dedication and that it’ll be the very first time that I’ll be able to bring my parents to our church. But more than the new adventure, what excites me is the new adventure that we will embark on later that day.
Knowing that she needs to prepare for her formal dinner later in the day, we parted our ways. I went to a friend’s residence to prepare and pick up my formal wear and the bouquet of white and red roses. I had these sent to my friend’s residence prior to Sunday in order to outsmart her keen intuitiveness. As I was dressing up, I realized that I got the wrong pair of pants! I had to rush to a nearby shopping mall to buy a new pair of pants. The amazing part is that I was able to purchase from the store which I regularly buy from, off the rack, a pair of pants that fits perfectly on me, no alterations needed, ready to wear at 50% off! It was so unbelievable that even the smallest of details have been taken care of.
I was supposed to be in the venue an hour before she arrived but because of the minor setback that I had, I came only 5 minutes before she arrived, just enough for me to arrange the bouquet of roses on our table and keep myself away from her sight…
When my family and I arrived at Antonio’s, I was busy texting my boss and my officemates asking them their whereabouts. It was a good thing that everyone of them had a seamless story to tell. I was “forced” by my parents to go in at Antonio’s convincing me to wait inside the restaurant. I was escorted by my mom and my sister to the lobby of Antonio’s where the receptionist took it from there and ushered me to a seat for two with a bouquet of red and white roses and a card with a beautiful image of a white rose. I was a bit unsettled at the idea of sitting in a table that is obviously taken! But my mind was locked in that beautiful white rose place card, I am sure I saw it somewhere. Brushing my thoughts aside, I patiently explained to the receptionist that I am waiting for a group of people who will arrive any minute that time and that I should be transferred to a vacant seat because the “occupants” of the table might create a ruckus out of the situation. I do not want to make a scene! But the receptionist insisted that THAT is really my SEAT, she refused to be explained to, and in my exasperation, I blurted out, “Eh, bakit may flowers???!!!” Then I saw him. Smiling. He greeted my mom and my sister before they scurried away giggling uncontrollably. I saw him walking towards me. I do not know why he is there standing a few steps before me. I try to recall our earlier conversation. I am pretty sure he said to me he will be somewhere out there but not here, DEFINITELY NOT ANTONIO’S!!! But why?!?! I came out mouthing to him, “What are you doing here?”, “May dinner kami ngayon with the client… Parating na sila…” Then tears started welling up my eyes. I was obviously crying but STILL I don’t know why. My mind cannot seem to connect but I knew something great is about to happen. Then he smilingly said to me, “No one’s coming, it’s just me. Walang client dinner. You’re dinner is with me…” I was floored. I was sobbing uncontrollably. He did not know what to do with me or with the situation.
Then he showed me a red box, and I cried even more. I knew very well that he had been very, very busy and had no time to buy a ring. I asked myself, “Could it be possible that the box is empty?” As if he read my thoughts, he opened the box for me to see my very own engagement ring, a beautifully-studded diamond ring which I secretly desired. I was just crying while looking at the ring and touching his arm, when he whispered to me and asked, “kailangan ko pa bang lumuhod? Ang daming tao e”. I shook my head gently in between sobs.
Then came THE question, “Will you marry me? I did not answer. Then he picked up the white rose place card (the very same card that he gave me after the 5thSunday of my Bar Examinations) with the inscriptions inside saying “Atty. Katherine Soto, Will You Marry Me?” Again, no answer from me. The one word which I was about to say eluded me twice already. Then he patiently asked again, “Will You Marry Me?” Finally, I said “YES” and hugged him while crying my eyes out.Then he slid the ring to my finger and it looked gorgeous on my ring finger. It fit perfectly. He told me he had it engraved 10-10-10 inside and “BEAUTIFUL” outside. He lovingly calls me“Beautiful”. He said the ring is me. It was the perfect surprise proposal ever. No accomplice gave him away. Every little detail fell into place. It was spontaneous, intimate and private. It was simply perfect and beautiful.
Groom speaks to end:
I told her that before her sobbing threw me in wild disarray, I would have said “I’m proposing to you before dinner because I don’t want this night to be counted as one of our countless dates. I want this to be my very first with my fiancée, will you marry me?” Her kilig eyes and smile made up for more than a consolation.
So that’s how my very first date with my fiancée went. Right now, we are in the joyous process of preparing for our wedding. We believe that a good and happy marriage (and wedding) is our inheritance in Christ. Our wedding date has been set. The very same date that we will say our vows to each other is the exact date when we officially became a couple, by then, 14 years ago. Soon we will stop counting the years as a couple and begin anew, now as a married couple. On that faithful day, our love begins … again.
Engaged Couple: Arnold Jacinto & Kate Soto
Wedding Date: Early 2012
When and Where the proposal was held: October 10, 2010, Antonio’s Tagaytay