Dean and Sophie

Dean and Sophie_2

how we met

We first met at work together in insurance. She was new to our team coming from a different department, and when she walked into the room I immediately took notice of her, she was so beautiful that everyone else in the office seemed to blend into the background like they were all cardboard cutouts, and she stood out like a diamond. Funnily enough, I was moved from my usual seat to accommodate her joining the team.

I was still sat near her and we got to know each other better. She would often refer to me as a look-alike to British comedian Peter Kay and had the whole team calling me it after a while. Treat them mean to keep them keen as they say! After a while I invited her for a night out in my hometown (Weston-super-Mare) along with some other mutual friends at work. They all stayed at my home.

On the night out there was a lot of flirting, but at this point neither of us had any idea that we liked each-other, we both thought it was just banter. We all danced late into the evening, and it was a great night full of funny memories. When we came back, she stayed in my living room and I stayed in my room. Luckily enough, we managed to get my friend Simon home after he previously fell asleep on a bench.

It was the next working day that the same friend (Simon) who fell asleep on the bench, came and told me that Sophie was talking to him all night about how much she liked me, I was genuinely shocked because I never thought she felt that way about me, especially because women as beautiful as her never really see me in that way. It took a bit of convincing but I believed him in the end.

It wasn’t long before we went for out on our first few dates, the first being at a Mexican restaurant called ‘Las Iguanas’ in the city of Bristol. It was the best first date I ever had, and hopefully it will be the last first date I ever have. She looked absolutely radiant and we laughed most of the evening. We then wanted to watch Pitch Perfect 2 at the cinema. It’s not usually my type of film, but there wasn’t much on, and I wanted an excuse to keep the date going on longer. She has made up for it by putting up with me watching Manchester United soccer and Pittsburgh Steelers football team.

After a while I knew we should take it further, and one time when we both came back after work, I had finished before her and left a trail of roses going up the stairs. This lead up to a bouquet of flowers and a hamper. When she opened it, it said, “Will you be mine?” and jokingly (due to the nature of our jobs) I made a terms and conditions of being my girlfriend. They were all very sweet or funny – at least that’s what I aimed for!

Dean and Sophie_7

the ring

I don’t know the ring designer – I based it more on that I thought she would want. I chose the ring myself without any help! I knew she liked rings to look more vintage, similar to the ones they recovered from the Titanic wreckage. I took a risk because I knew she loved the colour of rose gold, and I did look at a lot of these but in my opinion it just didn’t suit and engagement ring (which she now agrees with me on – or perhaps she’s just being nice.) I went with the princess cut because it makes the diamond pop out, and she’s also always wanted to be Disney princess so I thought the name fit, and I even call her princess sometimes! On top of that, I also had a star named after her when we first got together, and I chose a star in the Andromeda galaxy which was named after an Ethiopian princess, so it all ties in nicely. Now that she has the ring, she can shine from the earth to the stars, and the stars to the earth.

I remember driving for hours to different places and different shops to choose the one I wanted for her. I didn’t know her ring size because she doesn’t own any rings, so I paid a lot of attention to her hands and hoped that I had it right, and it fit perfectly. Funnily enough in the same shop I also brought her a white gold bracelet and necklace. I got these for a Valentine’s Day present for her to wear when I took her to the London 02 arena to see strictly come dancing, which was a surprise that she knew nothing about.

Dean and Sophie_8

how they asked

I remember being very nervous to ask her parents for permission to propose. It took me a while to ask, but in the end I did, and they were very happy. I remember them thinking it was funny that I got so worked up about it. When I proposed to her it was in the New Forest National Park in the UK. It’s a place I have always loved as it is very beautiful. I wanted a a picturesque place to propose to her. I looked around online and found a lovely set of small lakes which I thought would be perfect. The only problem was that it was privately owned and for fishermen use only. I remember calling the people that owned the lake, and offered them a sum of money to allow us to have the lake just for the two of us for the evening. In the end we made an agreement which was perfect.

On the day I was going to propose, I didn’t want her to have any idea what was going on. We got in the car and ventured off into the New forest. I told her to dress up nice and gave her the impression we were going to have a fancy meal. When we got near the lakes, I didn’t want her to see the sign and start wondering what was going on. I made her wear the blindfold for the last mile of our journey, and we got some funny looks from other people driving past. I parked up and told her to stay in car, she had no idea what was going on, and I told her to trust me and to wait for a while. Then I met with the owner of the lake, and he had kindly set up a table and chairs for us. He also got us some champagne and a cake as an added bonus! I was dressed up in a suit because I wanted to make an effort, but I needed to set everything up quickly. He advised me of a shortcut to the lake and allowed me to borrow some Wellington boots to get there. I did look very funny.

Dean and Sophie_6

I remember laying out the picnic blanket in front of the lake, and placing some wine glasses and champagne on the table behind us. I had brought a champagne bucket too keep it nice and cool. The main difficulty was the fairy lights. I had to spend ages untangling them (reminded me of doing the lights at Christmas) and I finally put some stag cushions down for comfort and a basket which had a hand crafted picture of our lake (which I made myself) inside. I also added a photo album and wrote ‘our adventure begins…’ on the cover. We both love traveling and often do photography together as it is our passion. I hope that we can fill every page with beautiful memories as we grow old. The last thing I did was set the camera up on a tripod. I then went to get her from the car, by this time she was waiting about 10 minutes. I carefully held her hand and walked her over to the spot where I was going to propose. I told her to stand in that spot, and quickly ran to turn the camera on to capture the video.

Dean and Sophie_5

I then got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. I was so happy when she said yes, and she had tears in her eyes. I will never forget the look on her face, and the fact that she was so happy because of me. Even though we are now engaged and going to get married, I will never stop putting 100% into making her happy every day. After that we went to a local village pub (for some more champagne) and to her surprise my parents were there. I did invite her parents too but her brother was graduating at 10am the next morning so they couldn’t make it – but we did have a celebratory BBQ when we returned from the new forest with her family.

Finally after a few drinks, we headed back to the wooden lodge that we were staying at. I had arranged with the owner of the lodge to set up a surprise. There were fairy lights that lead all the way down to the door, and inside there were rose petals in the shape of a heart on the bed. There was also some more champagne and some beautifully lit candles around the room. We spoke about the day and laughed the night away until we finally settled down to sleep.

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Special Thanks

Dean Smith | 
photographer and videographer