Recently Ringed: Champagne on a Plane

By Grace Bueckendorf
In Culture

“I’m a ruiner,” Kate Gilliam said of her engagement story. While that might be a harsh summation, her well-meaning fiancé, Eric Pogue, did try to propose several times before he finally succeeded in popping the question.

Before the couple’s getaway to Atlanta earlier this spring, Kate said she was pretty sure a proposal was in the forecast—she said there is an unparalleled level of comfort in their relationship, and that they both felt it was time. “Every time it’s an anniversary or a trip, it’s kind of in the back of my mind.”

Kate and Eric are both big foodies, and so Proposal Attempt Number One was to plant the ring in some macarons from La Patisserie Chouquette that Kate wanted to pair with airplane champagne. But alas, only international flights provide champagne. So Kate wanted to save the macarons for later, when they could pop some champagne, and Eric put the ring away.

From Kate's Instagram feed

Kate Gilliam on Instagram

With the PANO a no-go, Eric quickly put together Proposal Attempt Number Two, which was to wait until Kate went to the restroom, quickly take the ring off the chain around his neck, and pop the question anyway. But Kate hadn’t had any champagne. And therefore didn’t have to use the restroom. And thus PANT went by the wayside as well.

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Kate Gilliam on Instagram

When the plane arrived in Atlanta, a new set of challenges presented itself. They had to get from the airport to the hotel, but their Uber couldn’t find them. There wasn’t a shuttle, it was hot and they had all their luggage with them. “Some guy said he would drive us for 20 dollars a person and we were like, ‘No, thank you,’” Kate said. “And so then we ended up finally figuring out the bus system.”

Kate was unrattled. Eric, however, was two proposals in by now, wearing an Oxford shirt in the relentless Hot-Lanta sun, and his nerves were beginning to show. “I was just like, ‘Why don’t we just take a minute and you can change into a T-shirt and you’ll be more comfortable,’” Kate said.  “He wanted to stay in that shirt for that to be the shirt he proposed to me in and not one of his nerdy gamer T-shirts.”

When they reached the end of the journey and arrived at their room in the W downtown, Kate was stunned by the view. Immediately, she whipped out her phone, declaring her intentions of Snapchatting the room. “And he’s like, ‘Wait! Stop!’ And so then he like said my full name—Katherine Marie Gilliam—and got down on one knee, and I really don’t remember what all else he said after he said my full name because I knew what was happening. I was kind of waiting for him to officially ask. And then we called and texted everyone. So I guess I took it all in.”

It probably stands to reason that Proposal Attempt Number Three was a success. Kate said yes. The wedding is planned for March 2018. (And, don’t worry, she still got to Snapchat the hotel room with her recently ringed hand)

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Kate Gilliam on Instagram

To learn more about the couple’s love story, their love for food and the car accident that brought them together, keep reading. But first, the fine print.

The couple/ Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue
Current age/ Both 32
Occupations/ Kate—Valuation Trainee at Colliers International (by day) + bartender/social media guru for Urban Chestnut Brewing Company (by night); Eric—Volume Sales Manager for The Plastic Merchant
Wedding date/ March 31, 2018
Ceremony and Reception Site/ TBD, but they plan on an outdoor affair in St. Louis

Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue are huge foodies. A perfect night for them consists of dinner at Reeds American Table and then a night cap on her balcony. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue are huge foodies. A perfect night for them consists of dinner at Reeds American Table and then a night cap on her balcony. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

Describe the first time you saw your fiancé.
We both used to work for the same publishing company in Maryland Heights. Eric was carpooling to work with a mutual co-worker and friend of ours when they were rear-ended by a car headed to Warped Tour at the amphitheater. I came to pick them up and take them to work. We didn’t get to know each other until months later when we were both at Strange Donut Day. That’s when I started kind of having a crush on him. And then we started following each other’s Instagrams and seeing how big of foodies we are. And that was the first time I was like, ‘Oh it might be fun to go and hang out with him.’

What was your first date?
I didn’t know the first date was a date—there was a lot of back and forth texting and I was just like, ‘Let’s just get a beer at Schlafly.’ I went into it with the tone of getting to know a friend better. But then later on as he walked away, he later told me he was wondering if he should have hugged me. That night, I was sitting on my balcony with my neighbor who was also a single girl and we were just talking about it and I texted him and told him I liked him. And he didn’t text back.

The whole online dating stuff—I’d been online dating since, so texting is like the worst element of dating. It’s ridiculous. And so I texted him and didn’t hear back, and I was totally fine with it. I put my phone down and I was like, ‘Whatever. I know he likes me, it’s fine.’ And I just went about the rest of my evening. I figured he must’ve just fallen asleep or something. And he totally fell asleep. When he retold the story, he said he woke up and was like, ‘What?’ But he responded, ‘Yeah, I obviously like you, too.’ Then we kind of started dating. It was official about a month in.

Recently engaged couple Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue traveled to Atlanta this spring for the Shaky Knees Music Festival. Eric proposed while on the trip. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

Recently engaged couple Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue traveled to Atlanta this spring for the Shaky Knees Music Festival. Eric proposed while on the trip. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

 

How do you like to spend time together?
We like to try new restaurants and find new favorites, but we also go to our current favorites a lot—like Reeds American Table is one of our favorites. For Eric’s birthday in April, we went to Olive + Oak, and that was really good. Love Strange Donuts. Actually, when we first started dating, we would go every week for The Stranger, and that was our Thursday night thing. And that’s how I gained about 10 pounds right when we started dating and I couldn’t fit into any of my pants anymore and we had to stop doing that every week.

Kate Gilliam says she feels a great level of comfort with her now-fiance Eric Pogue. While she hasn't done much planning yet, she's excited to start her forever with him March 2018. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

Kate Gilliam says she feels a great level of comfort with her now-fiance Eric Pogue. While she hasn’t done much planning yet, she’s excited to start her forever with him March 2018. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

 

When did you know you loved him?
The first time I said I love you—I did say it first—he had a bad day at work and that’s when I told him I loved him. I wanted to be there for him and I guess cheer him up a little, too. And then there’s always been a level of comfort I think is really important.

What’s the quirkiest thing about your relationship?
We’re closet homebodies.

Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue, self-declared homebodies, groove to the beat at a wedding they attended this May. The couple plans to have their own wedding in March 2018. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

Kate Gilliam and Eric Pogue, self-declared homebodies, groove to the beat at a wedding they attended this May. The couple plans to have their own wedding in March 2018. (Photo courtesy of Kate Gilliam)

 

If you were to write a haiku about your relationship, what would it be?
I’m his hot skillet,
And he’s my future husband,
And we’re so happy

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