28 August 2012

Our Engagement: How it Happened!

First things first, I want to say thank you all so, so much for all of the congratulatory comments and emails.  It made our engagement that much more special and exciting and we both enjoyed reading through your messages over and over again as they came pouring in.  It once again made me appreciate being part of such a special community and left me feeling so blessed to have met so many amazing people from all across the globe.  So again, thank you!

I thought today I would share a bit more about our engagement :)

Early in August, Jurg let me know that he wanted to treat me to a weekend away at a game lodge for our anniversary {four and a half years to be exact!}.  He told me that he'd been looking for a lodge for quite some time, but hadn't been able to find "the place" yet and asked me to also join in on the hunt.  I quickly came across Wild and Free Private Game Lodge and we agreed that it looked like the perfect retreat for a weekend full of delicious food, game drives, and rest and relaxation.


... I would be lying if I said that I didn't suspect something might happen when Jurg spilled the beans about our weekend away.  I'm usually the designated trip planner out of the two of us, so the mere fact that he was attempting to plan something on his own was out of the ordinary.  Combine that with the fact that it was in celebration of our anniversary and the fact that he wouldn't let me split the cost of the accommodation with him, and I definitely thought a proposal might be on the cards.

Still, I couldn't be certain.  The two of us had never been ring shopping together or anything, so the anticipation building up to that weekend was absolutely killing me.  I decided not to let anyone in on my hunch {except for my co-worker} in case it didn't end up happening.

We arrived at the lodge late Friday evening and by Saturday morning I was seriously doubting my intuition about a possible engagement.  Jurg was just acting so normal.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner Friday night and were up with the sun on Saturday for an early morning game drive.  That afternoon we lounged around the pool and read our books and Jurgen looked as though he didn't have a care in the world.  That evening he even made a point of making sure we would be back from our sunset game drive in time to catch the rugby game.  Maybe it's just me, but I feel like if I was about to commit myself to someone for the rest of my life, rugby would be the last thing on my mind!  Oh, Jurgen.

In any event, that night we had dinner with the other guests out by the fire and then headed in for the night.  Once we got back to our room, I did notice that Jurg seemed to be acting slightly strange.  At one stage he said my name like he wanted to ask me something, but after I responded he just stared at me with this conflicted look on his face and then changed the subject to something irrelevant.  That night before bed we soaked in the jacuzzi and stared up at the milky way in search of shooting stars, all the while talking about how wonderful the weekend had been and how we didn't want it to end.

We finally headed for bed with still no sign of a proposal.  Since we were checking out the following morning, I went to sleep convinced that this indeed was not going to be "the weekend" after all, but told myself that it had still been an incredible weekend nonetheless.

Sunday morning, Jurgen shook me awake while it was still dark outside.  Despite my pleas that it was too early to get out of bed, he insisted that we wake up in time for sunrise since it was our last day on the reserve and since he wanted to make sure we that we maximized our weekend away.  I stumbled out of bed and onto our balcony only to discover a bottle of champagne and two champagne flutes.  We soaked in the jacuzzi as we waited for the sun to peak over the hills and Jurgen started to re-cap our relationship {in the most adorable way}.  He included lots of mushy details and said all of those things that make a girl's heart go pitter patter.

And then, just as the sun started to creep into view, he was down on one knee saying the words that made me melt into a million pieces.

.... And of course... I answered with a resounding Yes! 
{I think I must have said yes at least ten times} 
as he placed the most gorgeous ring {that he designed himself!} on my finger. 

 After the initial moment had sunk in there were lots of hugs and kisses and jumping up and down and general giddiness to be had.  We phoned our parents to let them in on the good news and then headed to the main deck for a nice champagne breakfast before phoning any of our friends or extended family.  Throughout breakfast I just kept saying over and over again things like "Oh my gosh, we're engaged!" - "This is so exciting!"- "I can't believe we're getting married!" and Jurgen just kept nodding and saying "I know" with his cute little smirk.

On the way home we finally sent out a mass text message to all of our South African friends and family, and it was only after that, when all of the calls and messages started pouring in one after the other, that the whole thing truly started feeling real.  That night as I made the rounds with my American peeps over Skype, it was the perfect cherry on top to what was already, quite possibly, the best day of my life thus far.

And yes, I can now say with absolute certainty, that it really is as magical as everyone says it is.

Since last Sunday we've been basking in the excitement of being newly engaged and are planning to host a little celebration with all of our Jo'burg friends as soon as I get back from the States.

Pretty soon I'm sure I'll be thrown into the craziness that is planning an international {and multi-cultural} wedding, but for now I'm still getting used to showing off my sparkly ring and referring to Jurgen as my Fiance {it feels so weird!}.

So excited to go home {this Thursay - eeeps!} and celebrate with everyone in California!

- - - - -

Also, today I'm guest posting over on Nicole's lovely blog {La Mia Vita} about some of the ways I prepared myself for the transition into ex-pat life.  Nicole is originally from California, but just moved to Madrid to pursue post-graduate studies in Spain!  She leads one very exciting life and in the unlikely event that you aren't already in love with her blog, I suggest you hop on over there now and make a new friend.  See my post here!


  1. Jenna, I am so thrilled for you and Jurgen - what absolutely wonderful news! You guys are such a cute couple and I am so glad I know you in the real world and not only in the blog world :)

  2. Oh this is so cute and Jurgen did so well!

  3. Ah-freaking-dorable. I love that you were honest about suspecting it was coming (which doesn't make it any less magic, I found out!)

    Please do keep us updated about planning an international wedding abroad!

    Stunning ring. Congrats again!

  4. What a beautiful setting to get engaged!! So so so so happy for you two! Wish I could give you a hug!! ;)

  5. maybe one of the coolest places to get engaged!!!
    congrats again lady~

    xo the egg out west.

  6. There is nothing quite like an African sunrise to use as a backdrop when making a lifelong commitment!!!

    Well done Jurg on remembering all elements: suspense, the setting, the romance, the mushy stuff and the beautiful ring!!

    By the way, which room did you guys stay in...they all look stunning??

  7. Ahh, such a sweet story! So excited for you! I love that he had it planned for a sunset proposal! And seriously he did well on that ring!

  8. Awww, congratulations! That is so, so cute! Your ring is gorgeous.. I can't believe he designed it himself. Impressive! :)

    - Kendra thedarlingblog.com

  9. what a sweet story. congrats! now let the fun of planning begin (: can't wait to read all about it.

  10. Congratulations, what a cute story! and beautiful ring!

  11. Congratulations Jenna! I am SO happy for you! And I can't wait to follow along as you plan your wedding... Please tell me you'll keep us updated on your blog? ;)

    Have a safe trip, and I hope I get to see you while you're here!


  12. ohh so sweet!
    even though i just found your blog Jenna i wish you guys all the very best for your new journey ahead!
    It made me smile and feeling happy seeing and reading just a happy engagement!

  13. Oh my gosh, CONGRATS JENNA! I'm so happy for you guys! I loved loved loved the proposal story, it's so sweet and all the photos are great! Your ring is STUNNING by the way! So excited for you!! xoxo

  14. Found your blog from La Mia Vita...
    What an amazing setting for a proposal! He did a great job. Congrats to you guys! How exciting!

  15. Such a great story. Congrats lady! Have fun at home!

  16. I absolutely LOVE Jurg's proposal plan! Specially the fact that he left it to the last day... making it an even bigger surprise. And OMG... during sunrise... in a jacuzzi! It really has got all elements in it :)

  17. YAYYYYYY! You are so cute and your ring is so beautiful and everything sounds so romantic!

    I am serious about somehow taking your engagement photos. Teleport over?

  18. LOVE THIS!! haha I'm so happy for you - Congrats!! You might not ever get used to calling him that btw. I certainly never did. I can't wait to see what you guys decide to do for the wedding :)

  19. so exciting! yay! so romantic. and it's been three months and I still have a hard time calling Jon my fiance - haha :) planning an international wedding brings challenges, certainly, but also lots of thrilling options and traditions - enjoy it!

  20. congrats darling! i love reading me a good engagement story. can't wait to read more about the wedding planning, traveling, etc... all in all, LOVE your blog so definitely following ;)

  21. I hope my guy can keep it a secret from me too. I want to be surprised! :) What a sweet engagement story!

  22. You need to write a book, sounds like the most romantic proposal EVER!!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. He ROCKED that proposal!!! Seriously! I cannot even begin to tell you how impressed I am with the way he did it. It was incredibly romantic.
    And for the record... rugby should be a part of every engagement story :)

  24. WOW!!! What a special proposal - well done Jurgen!!
    And that ring is just too stunning for words!

    So excited for you Jen - such an exciting adventure and journey lies ahead for you both! And nearly Cali time....

  25. your ring is stunning and you look SO happy! So many congratulations!!!

  26. Oh my gosh - congratulations!! Your ring is beautiful!
    ♡ Lexi @ Glitter, Inc.

  27. i am just so thrilled for you guys and can;t wait to hear all about it and see the ring when you're home!


    How exciting!!! What a precious engagement story!!!!!! And that ring...WOAH!! It is stunning and y'all look so happy!! Congrats!! SO happy for you two!!!

  29. nice! congratulations!!!! :D

    visit my blog? http://raellarina.blogspot.com
    and if you like it, feel free to follow dear!

  30. EEEE SOOOO excited for you Jenna! Marriage is awesome...especially when its to your best friend.
    The ring is a beauty!
    Can't get over how breathtaking the lodge view is:)
    Cheers friend!

  31. Hey Jenna! Omg that's so amazing! Congrats!! That sounds super exciting!! :)

    Btw, it's Michelle! I still have my self hosted site, but me and my friend decided to start another blog together about life in Europe :)

  32. So many congratulations to you guys!!! I love reading such a sweet story...makes my heart happy!

  33. Jenna! I can't believe I missed this! Congratulations!!!

  34. Oh My Goodness! Loved hearing even more details! Amazing! so happy for you guys!!! Also the part about Jurgen acting so cool about the whole thing and wanting to catch the rugby match made me laugh! haha Hope to see you both soon!!

  35. What a cute story & how good did he do with the proposal & the ring?! You are one lucky lady. I just recently got engaged a few months ago & you're so right - it is as magical as everyone says it is! I'm still smiling ear to ear myself :)

  36. Congratulations! Any man that can design a ring like that all by himself is a keeper. Can't wait to read about the wedding planning.

  37. Gorgeous ring!


  38. congrats! I have been catching up on all your posts - and thought this one needed a big - Congratulations :) xo


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