How did you and your partner meet?
WHEN: January 2012
WHERE: Virgin Active, Islington, London UK
HOW: To explain how, I first need to give you a little bit of a back story…. Both Hal & I were working for Virgin Active (a gym chain in the UK), but at different locations. At the end of the 2011 we had both been asked to appear in a training video for internal use.
At this point, I had been living in London for 18 months, and Hal had only been in London for 4 months.
OK BACK STORY OVER
I was on the gym floor training before my late shift started. I spotted a co-worker talking to a good-looking guy who I recognized from the training video.
I decided to casually (definitely wasn’t casual about it) walk over.
My co-worker introduced us, and we hit it off straight away. We managed to eventually phase my co-worker out of the conversation, so it was just us chatting. I can’t remember exactly what we spoke about, but I remember laughing a lot, enjoying the easiness of the interaction & feeling disappointed when I had to leave to get ready for work. I ended up late starting my shift……
Hal then started training at my gym almost every day. I got in trouble (on more than one occasion) from my manager for talking with Hal for too long and neglecting my other duties.
How did he propose?
Need some backstory for this one too…….
SO, I go for a walk in our local neighbourhood most morning’s. Usually for one hour, and I always ask Hal to accompany me, and he always declines #cardioishardio
It was the week approaching our six year anniversary (which was due to fall on a Sunday this year). Hal was going to be working on Sunday, as such, we’d agreed to celebrate our anniversary Friday night/Saturday instead.
SO, THURSDAY NIGHT: Hal asked me if I intended to go for a walk the following morning. I said “of course” & then Hal asked if he could come with me.
I was a little confused, as he never voluntarily comes walking, but not wanting to stare a gift horse in the face, I said yes.
Hal then asked where I was planning to walk; he complained that the local area/park was overrun with tradies/traffic & asked if we could go to the beach instead.
FYI: Hal is CONSTANTLY trying to get me to the beach. I don’t want to stereotype here, but bloody English people can’t get enough of the beach. I haven’t got anything against it, but typically don’t drive out of my way to walk on the beach before work as it requires a pretty hefty cut to my snooze time.
But I caved. So up we get at 5.30am & after some faffing (mostly from Hal…..) we manage to get down to Brighton beach.
We walk along the beach, just talking rubbish, joking and enjoying the tradie-less view.
During this time however, Hal was DRIVING ME CRAZY because he was dawdling so much. We’d turned around to head back to the car and came to a lovely long stretch of beach. Hal fell behind by 4-5 paces and kept looking around like a weirdo at the completely deserted beach.
He suddenly asked me if I would sit down with him on a nearby bench.
Hal announced that he wanted to give me an early anniversary present; he started to lift up his top & pull down his trousers slightly….I thought “is this a present for me or for you???”. So he whipped out……..an envelope. Inside was a booklet that had ‘6 memories for 6 years’; Hal had commissioned a graphic designer to depict 6 of the most memorable moments from our relationship. He had even remembered details down to the type of shoes we were wearing; one of our first adventure in London, the first time we said the ‘L’ word in front of the Eiffel tower in Paris, bonding over mutual hangar in Geneva, dining at the Fat Duck in Melbourne, winning the NRL grand final in Sydney. On the final page, it showed a silhouette of Hal down on one knee on the beach.
I looked up, Hal pulled out a ring box, dropped to one knee & told me he wanted to be with me forever.
I’m sure he went on to say lots of other lovely things, but I was sooking up a treat, & don’t remember/couldn’t hear what was said over my sobs.
Eventually I said something along the lines of ‘you’re such an idiot’ & then ‘yes’.
What do you love most about your partner?
I fell in love with his sense of humour, loyalty, determination, dedication, intelligence, optimism, confidence & capacity to love. It’s the little things that made me know:
The way he lets me put my cold feet on him to warm up.
He always lets me have more of the doona because he knows I get cold.
Always lets me ‘check for poison’ in his food/drinks because I want to taste whatever he’s eating.
How he genuinely wants to know about my day and what I’m excited/annoyed about.
When he’s still in bed when I’m leaving for the gym: sleepy cuddles are the best.
How he can turn even the most serious moment into a gag (whether or not the moment is appropriate…#toosoon)
How he can make me feel like the most important & beautiful girl in the room.
His thoughtfulness: I always do thing’s in a more immediate fashion, but Hal will deliberate, consider his options, and then finalize (despite the amount of time it can take). This sometimes drives me crazy, but mostly, it’s so lovely to know our relationship is on his mind, and he’s doing thing’s to make it better.
What’s your most important piece of advice for creating and maintaining a strong relationship?
Marriage means loyalty, it means mutual respect, trust, empathy, support, encouragement, friendship and love. It means sticking through the tough times because you know how great the good times are.
It means building a strong foundation of friendship; always have each other’s back. It’s important to never lose respect for yourself or your partner.
Keep the lines of communication open & be honest.
Keep working on it: sometime thing’s will be hard, but make sure you prioritise what’s important & continue to make time for each other.
Tell us about your wedding gown and how you chose it:
As with our overall style, I wanted a dress that was elegant & classic. I also wanted to ensure I felt comfortable & the dress wouldn’t inhibit me from moving freely.
As with most brides, I had never before set foot in a bridal boutique and as such, didn’t know what would actually suit my body shape.
I selected just one bridesmaid (who always provides an honest yet tactful appraisal) to come on the hunt with me, and we dedicated a full day to the endeavor. By the end of the day, I knew that what I was looking for was something more personal & tailored.
The first boutique we’d entered was Shehzarin Batha, & I loved the experience, the tailoring & the option’s they provided to brides. There was one dress that met the original criteria, however, the neckline wasn’t what I’d had in mind. After trying several other stores, I couldn’t get the Shehzarin dress out of my head, so we went back and asked if we could make some changes. As all dresses are made from scratch, they insisted my request was very reasonable & we signed off then and there!
What sort of style did you envision for your wedding day?
We wanted to keep the style elegant and classic: we always loved the idea of a country wedding, and as such tailored our choices to suit the venue & our colour palette (navy blue, green & white).
What was your favorite moment from the day?
I can’t name just one, but can narrow it down to three:
1. Hal & I did a ‘first look’ 3 hours before the ceremony. The look on Hal’s face when he turned around is something I will never forget, and when we finally embraced, I remember feeling overcome with happiness.
2. Walking down the aisle towards Hal. We had eyes only for each other, & I have never felt more lucky or genuinely happy.
3. Dancing to our very last song, ‘Hey Jude’. By this time, the bus had collected the majority of guests, so only family/close friends staying at the Estate were left. They formed a circle around us, and Hal & I stood in the center and slowly moved around the circle singing and looking out at our nearest & dearest. I was completely overcome and started crying – Hal just held me and kept singing Hey Jude into my ear. I still well up when I think about it!
Name your wedding soundtrack (aisle, reception entry, first dance songs):
Aisle: A thousand years – Christina Perri
Post-ceremony aisle: Signed, sealed delivered – Stevie Wonder
Reception entry bridal party: I’m a believer – Smashmouth
Reception entry: Crazy in Love – Beyonce
First dance: One and Only – Adele
Cake cutting: All my love – George Ezra
Farewell circle: Wonderwall – Oasis
Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
Hey Jude – Beatles
Any tips that you can give to future brides?
Have a plan upfront: once you know your approach & mission statement, the research and execution is really fun!
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just how fantastic all of our vendors truly are! When Hal & I talk about the day, we honestly don’t think it could have been as spectacular without such creative, intelligent, kind & fun individuals.
Wedding feature thanks to Giant Invitations http://giantinvitations.com.au
Dress: Shehzarin Batha Couture https://shehzarinbathacouture.com.au/
Makeup: Clem Cuming
Hair: Julia Baha from Baha Hair Design
Shoes: Bared footwear
Accessories: Top Image Jewellery
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridesmaid dressing room
Grooms Suit: Bell & Barnett
Cake: Pretty tasty – Gayani
Food: Venue provided food
Flowers: No 1 Blooms
Photographer: Rick Liston https://rickliston.com/
Ceremony/Reception Venue: Flowerdale Estate https://flowerdaleestate.com.au/
Entertainment: Mercury DJ Hire
Celebrant: Nat Sproal https://www.natsproalcelebrant.com/