engagement story



Two years ago Christmas dinner our first of four daughters shed tears at the table believing she would never have her one to love. Hearts on hold, all around.

Ensuing days brought more shared meals, both celebratory and with deep conversation. Keep the faith, you are absolutely beautiful, and maybe try Tinder? She was like, ‘mom, really, a dating app?’, and I was like yes, absolutely. When you dress beautiful women you also listen to intimate details, and Tinder was one.

She hit pause, and then in the quiet of one night or an afternoon or not really sure, logged on, and in.

Direct match, and they had even met before, a year or two ago, and now had mutual friends and cousins and colleagues all intertwined, Two martinis and dinner at Nobu she shared with me they made out in the ATM bank lobby that first meeting, and I couldn’t have been happier hearing about lips locking, on the first night out. That rush and lust feeling at first sight, priceless.

Fast forward to summer weekends at the country house, a casual long ski weekend in upstate New York, a beach weekend or two in NH with his crowd, and then ten of us in Portugal this summer and it’s all feeling family familiar,

Late summer forces apartment and lease and roommate renewals, and naturally they draw together and make things work. An apartment for two, and they talk futures, and diamonds.

He calls the husband, as he’s traditional that way, and they arrange a Monday night NYC dinner for two, and cap it off with ‘let’s toast and drink some champagne’, my heart beats at the thought. He tells him he believes deeply she will want to celebrate with family, and wants to propose to her in her hometown, Buffalo. WOW.

Husband call me excitedly and say’s ‘babe, figure out a way to get her home, with him, this weekend, and it’s got be down low, and vague’. Cool, I’ve got this…sure. Lightbulb moment, mandatory family Saturday attic cleaning! Call her Wednesday morning telling her she’s the only one that gets my madness and I need her and the attic is disaster and fire hazard and I’m headed for a breakdown and she needs to be home and if she wants she can bring him with her LOL and dad will pay for flights. Bingo, she’s in, and flying home to BUF, with her man, for the weekend, and cleaning the attic.

Stealth text messaging with future son-in-law to be took place, ‘how about your parents?’, and he likes that idea. They book flights, we book the room, and a celebratory Saturday evening dinner is planned, unbeknownst to her, and everyone else. Family dinners are normal, yet engagement dinners, this is a first.

Lizzie was face-timed in

Entire family is put on mandatory attic cleaning, even the away college freshman. NO ONE knows anything. Lizzie can’t make it, she’s got weekend theatre rehearsals for a school play with two characters, and she’s one of them, haha.

They fly in late Friday, and there’s pizza, and wine, and a beer or two for him. Saturday morning 11 am sharp we start cleaning the attic. Ethan and Maxwell and Lexi arrive afterwards, tuck into the leftovers, and play video games and go virtual golfing. He cracks a beer before noon, as that was his day. Told the family I was too overworked to cook, and we were eating out, and the only last-minute place we could get on a Saturday night was dinner at the club and jacket and tie were required.

Husband and he are scheming, for proposal spots, and when. I run to the airport under pretense of heading to the studio, and shuttle his parents to downtown club, where festivities were planned.

Husband is like a cat on a hot tin roof, and future son-in-law is deciding a kitchen table, late afternoon, family wide proposal is key. WOW. Okay, we’ve got this, and chill: open a little wine, play a little music, call a family meeting to discuss holiday and Christmas calendars.

We gather, and there’s printed calendars and activities on table to consider, and he starts to talk, out loud, to all of us, thanking us for including him, and that he’s looking forward to Christmas, and every Christmas after that with our daughter, and it starts getting a little surreal, and then he’s down on his knee with the most brilliant diamond ever asking her to marry him. WOW.

Tears and shaking and champagne popping and it’s incredible.



We’re all overjoyed, and celebrate where most of our life takes place, in the heart of the home, the kitchen, and the garden.

Cocktails at seven, and dinner at eight, with his parents, and she still doesn’t know they are in town. I had a new dress for her, kind of like when we surprised her for her sweet sixteen, yet this time there was an added gift of fine lingerie, to match her dress, of course.


Met at the club bar, and his parents were there. She was ecstatic.

Set menu, candlelight, flowers, piano; enchanting.

Club pool, and cigars. Husband and I head home, and they all head out into the excitement of the night, and life.

Every day dress, engagement story, love all around. xoxo

all took place a week ago Saturday

all photos by her twin brother




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  1. LOVE this, we just went thru all this too. Oldest daughter now married (June) and planning the wedding with her was a joy. Strap in though, you’re in for a wild ride! Happy to give advice on what I learned…xo, Phoebe Erdman. perdman@worthnewyork.com.

    • Thank you, Phoebe! Wild beautiful ride has begun, for sure, and would love to see/connect with you one way or another. Your advice to strap in is so on point. 🙂 xo

  2. Loved, loved, loved reading about such a special, sweet, romantic occasion-especially from a parent’s perspective. After all, what sweeter joy could a parent have than to know their child is loved, adored and treasured…for life. Congratulations and best wishes to all!

    • Dear Nancy, thank you sincerely and truly. Every single moment is precious. Thinking of you with love and best wishes. xoxoxoxo

  3. Congratulations! Beautiful family!!

  4. Story indeed. More like a fairy-tale. What a charming post. Thanks for sharing it. Best wishes to all! xo

    • Honestly it was Cinderella like! While attic cleaning she found my wedding dress in an old kind of tattered box and she promptly stripped down to her blue jeans and tried it on for us all and Bill and Sean and I all kind of looked at each other. It was oddly beautiful crazy.

  5. This is all just so happy! Thank you for sharing.

    • Loving this new wedding project, thank you Lucy for your nice comment. xo

  6. So happy for Caroline, Sean and all of you! What a beautiful story and incredible pictures by Maxwell. ❤️to you all!

  7. Beautiful story and pictures. So happy for Caroline and Sean!❤️

    • Bride to be is thinking about a country house wedding!! xo

    • Thank you, Bear. Lots of women to dress for all kinds of special occasions! xo

  8. What a happy message! Congratulations to all of you!

    • Thank you, Marla. Super excited for all that’s to come! xo

  9. Love this beautiful romantic story! Love to the Collins on the first of many engagements❤️

    • Thank you, sincerely. Let the planning begin! xo

  10. Congratulations to the lovely couple. John and I are so happy for them. There is nothing like being in love. It’s so magical. I especially love the story .. Love to all the Collins…

  11. I was reading this post and some tears appeared. Great story and wonderful celebration as usually. Congratulations and a great Love Story to Caroline. Me and my daughter love your posts. Next January, Laiz will be 15th years old, and she is asking to go to Buffalo to visit you and your family. I always say, since she was born, how much I learned with you… and reading your articles since the very beginning she understood. Lets see if I can make her dream come true in 2018 or 2019. Kisses to everybody

    • Miriam, Caroline will be married August 11th. Would love to have you if it works with your life and calendar. xo

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