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Proposal in SF/the Bay Area. Budget of $2k for weekend.

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
Hi all,

So I probably won't be doing this until our two year anniversary, which is not until next April. As SF residents know, it's still kind of coldish in early April. At any rate, here are some ideas I've had. What do you think? I warn you, this is an obnoxiously long post. I am writing it almost as much for my own benefit as to solicit ideas. Please: give me any and all ideas you have. Tell me if you think anything is stupid, cheesy, or impractical.

First, a little background. I am late 20s, and she is mid 20s. She's a grad student; I'm employed. She is really not into "fancy" things; or, at least, that's what she represents outwardly, to me and the rest of the world. Real talk, though? She likes nice things. She certainly doesn't need nice things, and perhaps likes things that are simple and timeless, but she likes nice things. She is somewhat into the outdoors, but not a hardcore hiker. A casual hiker/appreciator of outdoorsy things.

I think it's also fair to say that "young" is in her wheelhouse--she is very age-appropriate, as it were. So, to give an example, she would probably prefer a cute French bistro like Artoise to Fleur de Lys, since Fleur de Lys is dressy and dark and expensive, and Artoise is cute and young (but still romantic) and bright. That kind of thing.

Anyway. So here's the deal. I have budgeted $15k for myself "all in" for the engagement, including the ring and the weekend. I have divided this up in $12k for the ring, and $2k for the weekend/planning, leaving myself a $1k cushion to be distributed as needed. I hope it won't seem crass to talk about budgeting issues and to put a price tag on everything, but I would rather give you my estimates and spell things out. It will help me work things out in my head.

So, here's the weekend in a nutshell.

Hotel (~$500)

I am currently debating between The Omni and Hotel Monaco. While The Omni is kind of older, it's also probably the best value in SF. Hotel Monaco, however, is a great hotel, romantic, and a bit "younger" than The Omni. But service at The Omni is known to be great, and I'm pretty sure if I let them know that we just got engaged, they'll throw some champagne or breakfast or something our way. Anyway. Thoughts on hotel choice? I know the price I quoted is perhaps a bit optimistic, including tax and everything, for two nights. But I am pretty good at finding deals on this stuff.

Friday

I would probably have to take the day off from work. First thing I would do is go run some errands:

(1) I would want to get a flower arrangement ($80). I am thinking the place from where I've sent her flowers for the past year and a half: Edmond's Plaza in San Mateo. Her ring is going to have a sapphire as the center stone, so I thought something like this might be appropriate. Something with blue or violet accents to white roses.

(2) I would want to get some chocolates ($35). This I know very little about, except that she really doesn't like dark chocolate and really does like milk chocolate. That led me to Cocoa Bella, which does an all milk chocolate box, again in a pretty blue package. Quite well-reviewed, but definitely open to suggestion on this.

(3) I would of course want to get some champagne and wine, for both Friday afternoon, Friday night and Saturday night ($260). Friday night is easy: a bottle of Dom '02 ($130). I would prefer the blue Warhol bottle (to kind of stay with the theme). I would also prefer to have a couple of new champagne flutes ($70) for our first champagne toast back at the hotel, as an engaged couple. I am open to suggestion here, but I would like to keep the set reasonably priced, if possible. What do you think of two of these Kosta Boda's? Remember that she's into simple.

Anyway, she likes rose wine, and we have drank a lot of California wine, and she likes things sweet, generally. So I thought this Domaine Carneros ($40) hits most of those for Saturday night.

For the wine for Friday afternoon, though, for reasons I will explain later, it will be a very simple Malbec ($20).

(4) Finally, I would want to get the car detailed (wash, wax, and interior) ($100) and pick up a little bookshelf speaker system ($130) for an iPod (which I would supply).

Okay, so I would go to the hotel in the early afternoon for check in (before picking her up), tell the hotel desk staff that I plan on proposing, and try to get a bump in the room quality or any free things they want to give away. (Should help that I have a ton of stuff in my hands that I want to stage in the room.) Then I get them to let me into the room and arrange the flowers, chocolates, start to chill the champagne, pop the flutes in the fridge (if there is one, if not no big), and plug in the iPod stereo and put a playlist of our favorite love-y type songs on repeat. (Low volume, obv., so as not to annoy other guests when I'm not there for hours.)

Then I go pick her up from her place, leading her to believe that this is just an ordinary staycation (so she has some stuff packed for a weekend, but it's all casual). We then, in the late afternoon/early evening, drive to Half Moon Bay, listening to one of the various mix CDs we've made for each other. We go to "our spot" -- a kind of ordinary place in Half Moon Bay on a bluff overlooking a little beach where there are often seals, you know, doing their thing. But it's where we had our first kiss and watched our first sunset: sitting on a log, drinking Malbec out of plastic cups. So I would bring some Malbec (a wine neither of us even particularly likes, lol), and some plastic cups, and sit on the little bluff with her and watch the sunset. And just before it does, I would kind watch the reflection of the sun setting in her eyes, like I've always loved to. I would try to casually position myself on one knee (though she would be sitting, too) to do this. And I would tell her that I love her, and that every sunset I've watched in her eyes has renewed that love. And then I'd ask her if she wanted to watch the reflection of the sun setting for a change, and I would give her her ring.

Hopefully, y'know, she says yes.

So we put the ring on, she does her crying thing, we hug and kiss and watch the sunset together, the earth moves beneath us and the stars align etc. etc. In reality, it is foggy as hell, there is no sun, it is drizzling, it is freezing cold, etc. Let us really hope that doesn't happen. (Actually, thoughts on how to deal with inclement weather?)

So then we drive to SF. I tell her we're going to get dinner. She protests that she's just wearing casual clothes, and that that's all she packed. I tell her that's okay: we're going cazh. tonight.

We go to L'Ardoise Bistro in SF, and have a nice, rather than extravagant, dinner ($150). Then we drive to the hotel (where, if I have any luck, I have negotiated the ultimate engagement benefit: free parking). We come back to the room, enjoy the champagne, chocolates, music, flowers, and . . . etc.

Saturday

She is always a late riser, and I'm really doubting Saturday will be an exception. So she finally rolls out of bed around 11:30, takes a bleary-eyed shower, asks what we're doing that day. I have already eaten a real breakfast of bacon and eggs, and have even thoughtfully gotten her her favorite: a latte, croissants, and brie ($15). I tell her that we're taking it easy, but that we're going to dinner tonight. She tells me that this makes her super anxious, since she doesn't have anything fancy at all for this weekend and if she had known she would have tried to bring something. I tell her not to worry. I've got it covered.

I take her first to go get an early afternoon facial, mani/pedi, and eyebrow stuff (whatever that is, I have no idea) ($130). I figure that she will want to take a few pictures of her ring, and so the mani/pedi seems helpful for that. (She will have brought the camera since she thought we were just bumming around outside.) Then we go get her makeup done at Sephora, and I pay whatever minimum I have to / buy something there to make that happen ($50?). So we walk out of there with her having had her makeup done and now having some stuff she likes.

Though she might prefer to go to some little boutique shops to look for a dress, I have to draw the line somewhere. I can't walk around dress stores all day. So we go to Saks or Nordstrom (realistically, Nordstrom) and she finds a little cocktail or day dress she (hopefully) likes but would never otherwise buy ($280) and some shoes to go with it ($120). She wears it out of the store.

This, I imagine, has been an exciting but kind of tiring process for her, so I give her a little reprieve, and we drive up to Sonoma to recreate an evening we had together when just nothing was going wrong and everything was right and a random man in the town square called out to her to tell her how lovely her dress was, how lovely she looked, and how lucky I was. (I of course agreed.) We ate dinner at The Girl and the Fig there that night, and so I imagine we would again ($120). It's about an hour, but a pretty drive. Plus, this gives us time to listen to another mixtape, as we really love to do. Plus it is bound to be a little warmer in Sonoma than SF, which will be nice.

We watch the sunset, eat dinner, maybe get a quick drink at a bar, and then head back.

We get back, drink a little champagne, etc.

Sunday

Late check-out.

Unless I miscalculated, this should put me just under $2000 for the weekend.

Thoughts? How might I tweak this? Nice touches I haven't thought of?

Thank you! Sorry for an obnoxiously long post!
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,329
I have my own tastes and would budget things differently. Cheap hotel, extravagant dinner, like Fleur de Lys. Expensive clothes, but Crate and Barrel flutes. Riedel Sommelier series are very nice, but I don't mind drinking from a thin, machine made Spiegelau or Schott Zweisel.

I would switch out the Cocoa Bella for Recchiuti. http://www.recchiuti.com/101.html?area=01

I'd go to K&L and see what wines they can hook you up with, rather than Bevmo. I also hate wasting good Champagne, I can't possibly finish a whole bottle between two people; the bubbles really fill me up. They have a split of Krug Grand Cuvee, if it doesn't have to be vintage. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=100177 Or perhaps Billecart-Salmon http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=100060

Getting my makeup done at Sephora is not really my idea of a good time. I like to make myself up. $130 for facial/mani/pedi/brows?? GASPSSSS. She's prob not going to want to do a facial that day, so I'd skip that. I'd actually skip all of that and put it into the dress and shoe fund. Just in case.... there's ALWAYS a very pretty, expensive pair of shoes that is just begging to go home.

French bistro food, even very good bistro food, twice in two nights. I'd go to La Folie, perhaps.
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
Good for you for having put so much thought into this. I'm impressed!
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
JulieN|1310446503|2966996 said:
I have my own tastes and would budget things differently. Cheap hotel, extravagant dinner, like Fleur de Lys. Expensive clothes, but Crate and Barrel flutes. Riedel Sommelier series are very nice, but I don't mind drinking from a thin, machine made Spiegelau or Schott Zweisel.

I would switch out the Cocoa Bella for Recchiuti. http://www.recchiuti.com/101.html?area=01

I'd go to K&L and see what wines they can hook you up with, rather than Bevmo. I also hate wasting good Champagne, I can't possibly finish a whole bottle between two people; the bubbles really fill me up. They have a split of Krug Grand Cuvee, if it doesn't have to be vintage. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=100177 Or perhaps Billecart-Salmon http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=100060

Getting my makeup done at Sephora is not really my idea of a good time. I like to make myself up. $130 for facial/mani/pedi/brows?? GASPSSSS. She's prob not going to want to do a facial that day, so I'd skip that. I'd actually skip all of that and put it into the dress and shoe fund. Just in case.... there's ALWAYS a very pretty, expensive pair of shoes that is just begging to go home.

French bistro food, even very good bistro food, twice in two nights. I'd go to La Folie, perhaps.
(1) She wouldn't really be into Fleur de Lys. Too old, too stiff, and, as I said, she will be dressed casually. Anything extravagant but casual?
(2) Does Recchiuti have an all-milk-chocolate box?
(3) Haha, we can finish a bottle between two people. We have, several times. It's funny, I thought of the same thing; a split of slightly better (or at least the same) champagne to save on cost, but I don't know. I think a small bottle sitting there chilling would look less . . . grand than I would like. Does that make sense? Vintage doesn't matter. Why would it? I want something that tastes good. Krug is definitely a good champagne. I've had Billecart . . . wasn't wild about it.
(4) She likes getting her makeup done, but I think slightly prefers to do her own. Why wouldn't she wants a facial that day? I'm not talking about a peel or anything. Just the mint crap they slather on your face. Anyway, I'm totally open to axing this whole portion, but what then? What should I consider instead?
(5) Even if I wanted to get her to pay, like, $400 for a dress or $200 for a pair of shoes, I couldn't. I just know I couldn't. I think the number I quoted ($400 all-in) is reaaaaaaaaaaally pushing it for her. She gets stuff at TJ Maxx. I get that it would probably be better to just say screw it and get her a $600 pair of Loubotins or something but I don't see that happening.
(6) Interesting point re: French bistro food doubling up. We have to keep The Girl and the Fig, but the first night has to be casual, because, as I said, she will be dressed casually. She's not a foodie, and neither am I. I would rather go get a burger. So thoughts on the most extravagant, yet casual and somewhat young, place there is?

Thank you for the recommendations! Please let me know re: Recchiuti and alternatives to mani/pedi etc. etc.
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,329
1. Nopa, Delfina Restaurant, and Absinthe Brasserie are all casual. From pictures, L'Ardoise does not seem to be as refined (in terms of plating) as these restaurants. Haven't been to Delfina, but I preferred Absinthe's food over Nopa, but that's still kind of French-y/Californian bistro food.
2. I'm not sure, I'd call and see if they can make one for you.
3. Vintage Champagne means all the grapes are from the same year/vintage/harvest. Non vintage champagnes are blends from different years. Dom Perignon is, of course, vintage.
4. I think the mint crap is called a mask. I would go do something SF-y! Walk on the pier, go to Embarcadero or hiking in the Presidio. Take the ferry to Angel Island.
5. I'm SUPER cheap, too. Even dresses from Talbots at 75% off ($50) are kind of expensive for me unless they make me look like a million bucks. Guess what... I'm pretty sure the $1.5K Herve Leger dresses would make me look like a million bucks.
6. Speaking of burgers, Hubert Keller (chef of Fleur de Lys) also has Burger Bar.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
JulieN|1310496489|2967411 said:
1. Nopa, Delfina Restaurant, and Absinthe Brasserie are all casual. From pictures, L'Ardoise does not seem to be as refined (in terms of plating) as these restaurants. Haven't been to Delfina, but I preferred Absinthe's food over Nopa, but that's still kind of French-y/Californian bistro food.
2. I'm not sure, I'd call and see if they can make one for you.
3. Vintage Champagne means all the grapes are from the same year/vintage/harvest. Non vintage champagnes are blends from different years. Dom Perignon is, of course, vintage.
4. I think the mint crap is called a mask. I would go do something SF-y! Walk on the pier, go to Embarcadero or hiking in the Presidio. Take the ferry to Angel Island.
5. I'm SUPER cheap, too. Even dresses from Talbots at 75% off ($50) are kind of expensive for me unless they make me look like a million bucks. Guess what... I'm pretty sure the $1.5K Herve Leger dresses would make me look like a million bucks.
6. Speaking of burgers, Hubert Keller (chef of Fleur de Lys) also has Burger Bar.
Thank you very much!!

(1) Been to Nopa actually. Really enjoyed it.
(2) Okay.
(3) Yeah, I know. Just saying: I don't need a particular vintage. I just want it to taste good.
(4) Great ideas all!
(5) Haha. Good point.
(6) Thanks.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
The Omni is a lovely hotel, but perhaps look into other hotels on Nob Hill or elsewhere (Fairmont, Mark Hopkins)....they're in a prettier part of town.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
Fair re: Omni, but SF is so small! If we want to go somewhere cute we can just walk or cab it.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Yes, SF is small, but it could be a cold hike up a steep hill! But that would be true no matter where you stayed, I guess.
 

Colltee

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2011
Messages
80
Straight up here man – I'm Irish and direct, no beating around the bush so I'm not going to namby-pamby you with my response – all said in the best possible meaning :twirl:

BUT

Holy cow, no offence but I'm a little bamboozled at the amount of thought you've put into this proposal and the level of preemptive detail you are expecting from such. It reads like a script from a Mills and Boom movie. Honestly I think it's a tad bizarre you know exactly what she's going to say; do; want to shop for; how much she'll want to spend on X, Y or Z, what she'll want to eat for her breakfast 10 months from now.... Really I'm not trying to be smart here, I'm just really quite startled as I've never read anything like this before, you almost could put in bathroom breaks and the goings on of such into the 'schedule' and they wouldn't look out of place.

As a woman I find it almost freaky (and oddly humorous) to read such lines as:

She is always a late riser, so she finally rolls out of bed around 11:30, takes a bleary-eyed shower, asks what we're doing that day. I have already eaten a real breakfast of bacon and eggs, and have even thoughtfully gotten her her favorite: a latte, croissants, and brie ($15). I tell her that we're taking it easy, but that we're going to dinner tonight. She tells me that this makes her super anxious, since she doesn't have anything fancy at all for this weekend and if she had known she would have tried to bring something. I tell her not to worry. I've got it covered.

My advice – since you asked for some, is (and I'm going to be straight up here) but take a chill pill possibly and just ask her to marry you. You said she's into the simple things in life and this amount of military planning and excruciating detail may leave YOU a bit deflated by the outcome proposal – as in you have it so down-pat to the most minute detail, and whilst I'm sure she'll say 'Yes', you might be disappointed she doesn't deliver the same amount of gusto into the occasion as you are probably expecting from all this intense planning. You'll have a hernia before next April comes around - it's almost a year away... (!)

On a side note, honestly, do you really need to spend $2,000 to ask four words? Planning a lovely proposal is one thing (and fair play to you for wanting to do so) but I'd rather a nice bottle of fizz, maybe a decent dinner somewhere nice and an extra $1,500 put into the ring… Maybe try a slightly more 'less conventional' approach, personally for me (and again you asked above) but in my opinion the whole: flowers, chocolates, crystal glasses, swanky hotel, rose petals in a heart on the bed, expensive dinner etc. is just a tad cheesy and unoriginal in my eyes. Sorry 8)

If she's into the outdoors and hiking like you mention you could personally do something like prepare and cook her up a really special gourmet picnic with really thoughtful things in it where you could get really creative and personal and then head out to some gorgeous mountain with breath-taking views and plan something amazing around that etc...

Anyway you know her better and I feel you want to do the whole traditional approach and it's your day too, so enough lecturing from me... either way best of luck mate...
 

ibdrinken

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 11, 2009
Messages
133
Did you ever think of doing a bed and breakfeast instead of a hotel. Just a thought..
 
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