The morning after Brandon proposed was a bit rocky.

We both went to bed upset but I was snuggling up to him by sunrise. We had a lot to talk about but we decided to put the conversation on pause. The next 3 days were jam packed so we were going to wait until our 3 hour drive from LA to Palm Springs to hash things out. Waiting to have this conversation was the best decision we made and I give 100% of the credit for this idea to my mother. I called her after he fell asleep the night before and she gave me this wise advice. Waiting allowed our emotions to turn into rational thoughts that we could communicate in a loving and productive manner. Had we started the conversation back up that morning, things certainly would have spiraled. During those 3 days, we had back to back photoshoots from sunup to sundown. On one of the shoots in Beverly Hills, we had the chance to stop by Peter Marco’s to look at rings. This is exactly what we needed: it made the process feel light hearted and was a reminder of how much we were truly on the same page. Despite the oval stone being gorgeous, we both agreed it wasn’t right for me. Peter and his wife were incredibly gracious and let me borrow a few different rings for the remainder of our time in LA to make sure we found the perfect one – they are an incredible team. More on rings later. By the time Saturday rolled around, we were done with our shoots and on our way to Palm Springs. On our way out of the city, we did what every out of towner does: stop by In-N-Out. I believe this was another critical step in the right direction. Hear me loud and clear: nothing good happens when people are hungry. 4 burgers, 2 fries, and a large Diet Coke later and we were ready to talk. We gave ourselves the 3-hour drive to hash it out and come up with our game plan.

Hashing it out looked something like this:

He shared his feelings. I shared my feelings. We acknowledged each other’s feelings. We apologized for the roles we played. And then we devised a plan. Brandon was sad because he never wants to disappoint me. He would never want any moment, much less his proposal, to be anything short of spectacular. He was hurt that I felt he had let me down. From his perspective, I hadn’t shared how I wanted him to propose and all he wanted was to surprise me. And surprise he certainly did. But I needed to own my part in how sad he was because of my reaction. He never expected me to react like that and he put everything he had into this proposal. All of the sudden, I was sad that I made him sad and I would have given anything to take my reaction back. But I couldn’t. So the best I could do was reassure him that he wasn’t wrong. I profusely apologized for how upset I was and, being the amazing person he is, he graciously accepted my apology. To all my ladies out there: if his proposal doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, handle this situation with grace. The last thing you want to do is hurt his feelings. Knowing I had hurt his feelings felt worse than my disappointment in the engagement itself. Watching him beat himself up over how he could have done it better was brutal.

My words of advice are these:

If the moment truly disappointed you, figure out a way you can make it better without making him feel like he failed. Spin it to make it your own. No one gets to tell you how to react – this is entirely up to you and you get to be as creative as you want. It’s 2018. Think outside the box here. After we shored up Brandon’s side of the equation, I chose my words carefully. He asked that I tell him what I would have wanted if he could do it all over again. I thought about it and I shared with him how I wished he would have proposed: exactly how he did it, just with all our friends and family together, supporting us in this next stage of our lives. I didn’t harp on this point. I stated it as a matter of fact – not intending to prove a point or be right. He acknowledged where I was coming from and apologized that he had overlooked how important their involvement was to me. We were an hour into the ride and we both got quiet. We sat in the car, holding hands, listening to Sam Smith, both brainstorming on how to make this better.

45 minutes later, the idea came to me. Let’s throw a party.

But not just any party: a surprise engagement party. If he wanted to surprise me and I wanted our friends and family to be there, why couldn’t we have both? He already got the surprise part down. Now it was our turn to share this moment with our friends and family in a way that included them in the process. What better way to do this than a surprise engagement party? The more we thought through this idea, the more excited we became. When things don’t work the way you want them to, you have to flip the script. Find the loophole and change the entire dynamic of a situation. There is always a way to change the story and make it something you love.  When you’re unhappy about a situation, it’s your job to figure out a way to make it your own. No one is going to do this for you. You have to do the work. You have to create the solution. Your alternative is to take what you’re given and be resentful but who wants that? Not me. Never plan the victim. I want to be known for making the best out of any situation. His proposal wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. But who said I couldn’t put my touch on this story? For me, this looked like a big, beautiful party that we were going to throw for our family and friends to surprise them with our engagement. By the time we reached Palm Springs, we both were on the same page. Newly engaged. And incredibly excited to share our news with our friends and family in our own, special way. I deliberately chose to be the author of this next chapter of our story. Brandon handed me the proverbial pen, and I sure got to writing. Xoxo Natalie  





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