Ralph and Sasha were going to Paris, and Ralph knew he wanted to propose. But he hadn’t gotten a ring yet.
Ralph, a marketing copywriter, and Sasha, a program manager at a foundation, had been living together for a few years, were committed to each other, and had even talked about one day having kids. When they planned a romantic two weeks in Paris, the idea of a proposal was in the air. “Sasha even brought it up out of the blue,” says Ralph. “She suggested we get married in Paris without telling anyone, and surprise them when we came back as husband and wife.”
But Ralph wanted to do things the traditional way, so he decided he’d propose to her on the trip Paris, then they’d have a whole family wedding back in New York. Of course, he had done absolutely zero prep work: no ring, no speech, no idea where or when he would pop the question. “Somehow–and this seems insane to me now–I just thought I’d figure it out when we got there. You know, wait for the right opportunity.”
Ralph’s proposal story is worth an entire article in itself, but we’ll just stick to the basics here. He proposed to Sasha with a small painting he’d seen her admiring at an artist’s stall in Montmartre, a moonlit landscape that reminded her of a dream she’d had. He popped the question during an evening stroll by the Pont Louis Phillipe, within sight of Notre Dame. By the time they returned from the City of Lights, Ralph and Sasha were engaged. But the question of the ring was still unresolved.
Sasha didn’t particularly care that Ralph hadn’t given her a ring. “I can buy my own jewelry,” she says, “and I never thought of myself as someone who wears diamonds.”
But then her mother mentioned that she had a ring Sasha might want to see. Sasha’s grandmother had gotten a mid-marriage “upgrade” to her engagement ring, and it had passed down to Sasha’s mom. One day, Sasha went to her mom’s house and tried it on, more out of curiosity than desire.
“I definitely went in with a cynical attitude,” says Sasha. “You know: ‘This is so not me.’ But the second I put it on, all my anti-diamond prejudice went out the window.”
“I don’t remember exactly,” says Sasha, “but I think I may have squealed the first time I put it on. Which is not my personality at all. I was like ‘Pretty!’ and didn’t want to take it off. That’s the power of diamonds, I guess.”
Ralph found himself in an enviable position: his fiancee was sporting a beautiful rock, and he hadn’t had to shop for it or pay for it. “I never took credit, but people would assume I had picked it out,” he says. “I’d correct them. Eventually.”