01 Oct A SURPRISE PROPOSAL: HE ASKED, AND I SAID YES
Nothing can quite prepare you for the overwhelming (and beautiful) emotions you experience when the love of your life drops to one knee. If you’ve grown up interacting with Disney as much as me, and watching luuurve flicks (think The Notebook, Titanic and Twilight) as much as me, and you love LOVE as much as me, there really is nothing better in this world than romance and the day of your proposal (I can probably thank my Mom for making me so soppy too).
When this magical, birds-tweeting, palms-sweating, crystal-shimmering-lights and secluded-bubble moment finally happens to you….well…it’s beyond all your wildest dreams.
If you’re not really keen on reading about our proposal, but want to watch it go down on video, you can click here or watch below:
A lot of you have asked, so I’m going to share the entire story behind the moment when Steve asked me to marry him (eeeeek, still feels so surreal saying it out loud – and in this case, type it out), but for the rest of you (already gagging from all this love talk) we’ll be back to travel and creative inspiration next week 😉
Let me begin by talking about the build-up, which really added to the excitement of the whole experience (and dragged this out from only 30 minutes, into an entire celebratory weekend).
17 September 2010 – the day Steve and I went on a blind date and first laid eyes on each other. We have celebrated this special day every year since, and when Sunday 17 September 2017 came around (the day in question), I was excited for yet another incredible anniversary, although this time, we were doing way more than just celebrating 7 years together. Yup, Steve had so many other things planned.
Almost the entire weekend was a mystery to me. All I was told was:
- That we were going away for 4 nights to a mysterious location, situated somewhere in Europe
- That I had to bring all my camera gear, and clothing suitable for hot and cold conditions
That was it.
As the weekend began (on the Friday) little sneaky tips and clues were given to me. First, that we would be taking multiple trains for a total travel time of five hours. Once we’d arrived at the second train station in Salzburg, and I ruled out Slovakia, Switzerland and Germany (figuring out that we were headed south for Italy) the excitement grew even more, as I had a slight inkling that we were headed for our favourite mountain range (and one of our favourite places in the whole world – the Dolomites).
On train number four, the penny finally dropped that we’d be spending time in San Candido and the gorgeous Boutique Hotel Zenana (where we’d stayed a couple times before), although just as I was relieved from the (slightly anxious) curiosity that had taken over my life (you must understand, that I plan nearly 99% of all our travel, so am ALWAYS clued up as to what and where), Steve dropped another bomb saying that we’d only be staying there for one night.
The next day, clues and excitement led us to the beautiful mountainous town of Cortina d’Ampezzo, and, more specifically, the Cristallo Resort and Spa, taking all my wildest dreams of what-I-thought-was anniversary celebrations, to an entirely new luxurious level.
Steve had been in contact with the amazing staff, planning a full 2-day itinerary (which I was forbidden from seeing, obvs) involving aperitivos, candle-lit dinners, spa days, and of course, an adventure-filled sunrise excursion we would never forget.
The Dolomites have always been one of our “top 5” places. You know, when we get asked by someone “where in the world are you dying to go back to?” or “what is your absolute favourite place?”, and we awkwardly try to come up with the best answer (because there are just waaaaay too many exquisite places in this world to only choose one), we always resort to saying the Dolomites stole our heart.
And they couldn’t have been more spectacular on the morning of our special day.
Weather predictions said rain and snow (#funfact it did in fact snow, only a couple hours after we left Croda da Lago, the picture-perfect spot Steve chose) but somehow the Weather Gods knew we needed just a couple hours of perfect sun-lit skies with misty, cotton-candy mountain mustaches.
Our adventurous drive from (my new favourite hotel) Cristallo Resort and Spa that morning, was sheer joy. I was bouncing (both from excitement for a sunrise shoot, and the rough terrain up the mountain) and Steve was a nervous wreck (glad we caught it all on InstaStories) although he kept it together, and still jokes now that he couldn’t have asked for better weather. After just over 30 minutes of bouncy, chatty driving, we arrived at the lake, without a soul in sight.
So here we are, on the edge of a crystal lake, scouting to find a good spot for our usual “couple shot” and somewhere to have our picnic breakfast (which Steve organized with the Cristallo Resort…and which had champagne and champagne glasses #stillcannotbelieveit).
We found a little area with a great lake reflection, and a perfect blue sky, and Steve said he would set up the tripod*. I hung around, taking in the fresh alpine air, and then made my way to the water’s edge so Steve could set the camera focus.
*He ended up setting up two tripods – one for video and one for photos, which I did find peculiar, but totally went with it.
He pushed the shutter button on both cameras, and made his way down to me. I turned around and reached out my hand to hold his (as we always do for our couple shots), he grabbed it, and immediately dropped to one knee.
The next few minutes are a bit of a blur to me.
I vaguely remember my gasping for air, and tears (oh, so many tears!) I remember Steve telling me that he knew he’d marry me the day he met me, and I remember him holding my right hand, and us having to do a silly hand swop to get the ring onto the left hand. I remember his knee getting muddy on the edge of the lake, and I remember saying yes several times. I remember how he looked at me when he said, “my love, my Chanses, will you marry me?” and I remember never feeling more certain about anything in my life, before saying yes (one more time).
Knowing that the one person you cannot live without, feels the same, and wants to (officially) spend the rest of their life with you, (I now know) will leave you speechless and completely frozen, until there’s no more tears to cry, and only champagne to drink, and photos to take. So, naturally, that’s what we did next!
Growing up I never knew what I wanted from an engagement ring. I didn’t wear much jewelry, and I guess I didn’t really think about the actual ring too much.
Then I saw what was in Steve’s hand and I immediately became a jewelery-obsessed girlie girl, smitten with this symbol of eternity.
Steve designed the ring. He was given two diamonds by his mom, from a ring his grandmother had, and he used them to “hug” a gorgeous peach tourmaline, all set in four prongs, in an 18ct gold band, rose-gold plated for my skin tone (and because I LOVE rose gold anything), made thin and dainty to suit my fingers (and my subtlety style). Steve’s talented jeweler friend Kevin made the ring, and they couriered it back and forth during our recent trip to South Africa (which as you can imagine, came with a whole world of stress and secrecy, as Steve and I are rarely ever apart).
Just over two weeks after the proposal, and we are still very much floating on 99 clouds, celebrating our #sugarmoon (yes, we have totally just created a term for the after-engagement period). We’ve made a conscious decision not to discuss “the big day” just yet, and enjoy this time now as fiancées.
Regarding the date, location, guest list, and all things wedding-related….well, we might just start thinking about it all in early 2018, although we really love and appreciate all the suggestions and recommendations, so keep ’em coming!