As regular readers will have no doubt worked out, Amy and I have been an item for quite some time. We met almost three years ago, and have shared plenty of ups, downs, new experiences and geographical separations during our time in Korea. This phase of our lives is now coming to an end (next week!), and we’re going to be moving to Canada to start the next one together.

I had this in mind when I decided to propose at the weekend – we’ve talked about marriage and our future together quite a lot, so it didn’t take Amy completely by surprise, but I hope it was at least original and pleasantly unexpected. There are a lot of time-honoured (also known as clichéd) ways to ask someone to spend the rest of their life with you, but I really wanted to do something both relationship-appropriate and novel. I hit upon the idea of using a board game, partly inspired by a discussion on the Board Game Geek website, partly for the opportunity to be creative and partly because the Settlers of Catan Card Game is one of our favourite games to play together.

A Catan proposalA “Wedding” card does exist in the Catan series, but in the original game and in an expansion set that we don’t have. I therefore resolved to get a unique card made, and fired off a speculative e-mail to the good folks at Mayfair Games (who distribute Catan in North America). Unfortunately, they don’t do individual orders (though they liked the idea) and I was left with the simple yet time-consuming task of scanning an existing card, altering the text and finding some appropriate artwork. You can see the results on the left.

I made a bit of a slip-up with the card printing – it ended up on glossy photo paper (the cards are matt), and the colours did not match very well (too dark and saturated, a common problem when taking RGB images and printing in CMYK). However, it looked pretty good and I took the opportunity to sneak it into one of the draw piles when Amy went to make a cup of tea (at my request). In the Catan Card Game, players renew their hands of cards from five draw piles in front of them, and begin the game by searching one pile. I didn’t know when Amy would get to the pile with the special card in it, and took it as a good sign when she picked it first (though I had shortened the odds a little by winning the initial roll and picking a different one). She read it and re-read it, presumably not quite sure what to make of it, and I interrupted by taking her hands and telling her why I wanted us to get married.

GreenKarat (1)As you may have guessed, she accepted and I produced a small box from under the sofa. It contained a rather tasteful and environmentally friendly engagement ring from GreenKarat, who specialise in lower-impact jewellery. If anybody is interested, it’s made of post-consumer recycled gold and lab created alexandrite (which changes colour depending on the lighting conditions), using ecologically sound refining and bench practices. The box is made of recycled paper embedded with wildflower seeds, and packed with natural moss and biodegradable cornstarch.

GreenKarat (2)With our engagement official, we contacted friends and family to break the news and didn’t even get the game started (which would probably have ended with Amy winning anyway). Our wedding plans – which have been simmering away in the background for several months now – can now be talked about in less hypothetical terms, so look out for your invites in the next few months (it’s in June).