Elize and Mornè

Where to Propose in Pretoria Botanical Gardens

How We Met

I am a qualified Chef and was a young and new lecturer at a Chef Institution in Pretoria in 2014. Student enrollments and visits to the school started and this one potential student came for a visit to the school, I thought he was a handsome lad, but I didn’t think much of it… He came to visit the school a second time and this time he colored his hair from light to dark and it looked good on him, he had a long chat with all the staff members and signed the final papers for enrollment and would be back for the first intake of 2015 to start his studies.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Pretoria Botanical Gardens

The day of the first intake started and students started to arrive (we were a small chef institution, therefore there were only 9 student enrollments). This student entered my classroom and I was stunned, my heart had never felt anything like that before and immediately I thought to myself “No, this can’t be happening, he is my student and there can’t be any feelings”. I ignored the feeling I had, but man he was handsome as he now even had a new haircut and it suited him perfectly.

Months went by and I stayed professional and even involved the principal in the grading of papers and assignments in order to avoid being unfair. The time for the first intake was almost done and they had to leave for their industry where they had to complete their practical hours, they had their final Chef’s table event at the institution and the Principal graded the final tables and the following day all of the students had a nice farewell party and all of my students greeted me and thanked me until the end of the year when they will be back for their final exams. I thought that when they left for their industries, then maybe the feeling that was so unfamiliar to me will go away…

The final exams for the first intake students arrived and as soon as he entered the classroom, the feeling just became stronger. After the exam, the students had their final farewell gathering and they were allowed to receive the cell numbers of the staff to keep in touch and inform them of any achievements they make in their life regarding cooking or baking.

The following day I received a message from the handsome student and he just wanted to chat. As he wasn’t my student anymore and our age difference was merely 3 years I decided to see what would happen.

Turns out it didn’t take him long to admit to me that he had feelings from me from the very start, but that he didn’t want to say anything while he was my student and that he couldn’t wait to finish his course to be able to make contact with me.

How They Asked

His birthday was coming up that Saturday, 12 May 2018, and he asked me that he didn’t want anything big for his birthday and he didn’t want any present as he wanted us to have a picnic in the Botanical Gardens and we would already give out money for the snacks etc.

We went to visit our friend on Tuesday before his birthday. Now this friend shared all of the big moments in our lives, she spent every birthday with us and we with her, but she informed us that she wouldn’t be able to spend this birthday with us as she had to travel for work. Mornè was quite sad, but he said that he understands, she then handed him his present as she wouldn’t be able to give it to him on his birthday, but she demanded that he only open it the Saturday on his actual birthday. He isn’t a curious one, so it didn’t bother him, but I am a curious person so the present killed me as I wanted to know what she got him, but he was not bothered at the least.

The Saturday morning arrived and I woke him up with coffee and wished him a happy birthday. I started gathering everything for the picnic as he was quite adamant about what time he wanted to be there in order to get a good picnic spot in the shade. We finished up and then we were on our way. We arrived nice and early and we would be able to choose almost any spot as there weren’t a lot of people yet.

We paid entrance and a few meters in he asked me where I wanted to sit, I pointed out a spot and he just said no he doesn’t feel like sitting there, I was immediately annoyed, because why as me where I wanted to sit if he wanted to choose the spot… We finally arrived at a spot he liked and we set our picnic blanket and snacks out.

We had a lovely picnic, nice long chats and giggles and he took a lot of photos as the picnic went on and finally he said he thinks it’s time to open the present our friend gave him… Now before I continue I have to inform you that he is a complete Batman freak, you can give him anything Batman and he would be the happiest person on earth… He opened the present and it was two Build-A-Bear Batman teddies, one male and one female, I thought to myself “luckily I didn’t buy him the bears for his birthday as I was planning to”. I immediately pushed the hands of the one bear to see if maybe she added a recording, but there was nothing.

At this point a Guinea fowl came over and he wanted to eat our snacks, so I turned around to shoo the bird away and Mornè said that there is something in the hand of the female bear and that I should feel, I took the bear, still looking at the bird I am chasing away, and I pushed the hand of the bear and turned around to look at the bear… There Mornè was on one knee and the recording in the bear was in Mornè’s voice and said: “every hero needs a sidekick”.

I was speechless, to this day he still claims that I never gave him a yes and that I just smiled and started crying. I was completely stunned, happy, but stunned. I hadn’t even thought about a proposal that might happen as it was his birthday picnic. After I calmed down and stopped crying tears of joy he said there is another surprise and he shouted to the bushes “you can come out now”… There appeared my friend (who never had any travelling for work planned) and a photographer who hid inside the bushes and took photos of the entire picnic and proposal and I started crying again as I was once again surprised and happy that our friend shared in this big moment in our lives.

Turned out that he planned the engagement for months, he took off from work for an entire day where he went to buy the bears and make the recording, he hid the ring in his toolbox (where he knew I would never find it), he went to the Botanical gardens to pick out the perfect picnic spot near the bushes where our friend and the photographer could hide, he took the bears to our friend to keep with her and “give to him as a present” and he told her exactly what excuse to use to make me believe that she wouldn’t be there on his birthday, and he did all of this without me ever finding out anything, not one person who knew about the upcoming proposal once made slip up to make me suspicious and neither did he, it was all very well planned and kept a good secret.

The photographer then took us through the gardens for a photo shoot and once we were done, we went to have a drink at the restaurant to celebrate the proposal. We sat down, Mornè said that we couldn’t stay too long as he had another surprise for me… I had no idea what it could be, I mean he already proposed, what could possibly be up to his sleeve.

We finished and once we got to the car, he said that he had to blindfold me as he wanted me to be completely unaware of where we were going, but I know the roads and even blindfolded, I knew exactly where we were as he took the turns and this resulted in him taking a longer drive along a road I didn’t know and turned a 30min drive into a 1 and a half hour drive, all of this just to keep everything a complete surprise to me.

We finally came to a stop and he said I could get up and as I opened the door, I saw my parent’s car standing next to me and there they all were, both my parents and his. He had booked the 6 of us in at a nature reserve for the night where we all celebrated our engagement together by having a nice braai etc. My first reaction was that we didn’t pack any clothes for this outing, but he even planned for that, he provided my mother with our clothes the previous weekend when they were there for a visit so that she could bring it to the reserve and I wouldn’t have any idea that we would spend the night somewhere as I didn’t need to pack any clothes.

I couldn’t imagine the proposal weekend to be any better than it was, he planned everything perfectly and to this day I am still amazed at everything and my engagement ring which he had personally made according to what I showed him I wanted.

I fall deeper in love with him every day.

Special Thanks

Charlene Marais
 | Photographer
Chenique Louw
 | Planning
2B3 Fotografie
 | Photographer