Jesse and Charlie

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How We Met

Our parents have been friends for years, we now joke that this was secretly arranged by them a long time ago!

Charlie and my dad both ride motorbikes and have been out on a few rides together over the years, with my dad thinking of Charlie as a second son – though him and I had never spent much time together as I wasn’t living at home when he popped over to see dad.

As mine and my dad’s birthdays are only a day apart we decided to have a joint party a few years ago with a Great Gatsby theme and my dad invited Charlie.

That night we started talking by the bar like we’d known each other forever, clicked and have been inseparable ever since!

Charlie is a pilot and I love travel so we’re lucky enough to have been on a lot of adventures together over the last few years; st lucia, barbados, antigua, LA, dubai, france, italy, the Maldives, Sri Lanka.. and many more to come!

We’re due to get married in 6 weeks on Lake Como, Italy and we’re so excited.

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how they asked

Charlie surprised me with a holiday for my birthday in March last year, he wouldn’t tell me where we were going or any of the details!

In the January a couple of months before, Charlie had a motorbike accident and badly broke his leg in 3 places, so at this stage was newly out of his cast and wearing a protective boot but was still determined to take this trip.. now I know why!

It wasn’t until we got to the check-in desk at Heathrow that I found out we were going on Safari in South Africa, something I’d always dreamt of doing. The surprises kept coming when he then revealed we were spending 5 days at Richard Branson’s incredible Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t wait to have another adventure together

We arrived at the lodge and had an amazing first couple of days getting up for the 5am morning drive, sunbathing during the day then getting ready for the night drive. We were centimetres away from leopards, zebras, giraffe, you name it.

It got to the evening before my birthday and we were preparing for the evening drive and Charlie decided he was going to abandon his protective post-surgery boot for the first time and just use one crutch that night. He said he needed to go down to reception and get a good seat in the safari car because of his leg, so he went ahead of me.

At this point we were yet to see a pride of lions – something I desperately wanted to do – so our guide Stuart said that’s what we’d do tonight for me. We were so lucky to track down a pride with 3 young cubs and spent hours watching them play in the long grass before Stuart said we had to head off somewhere else before sunset. I was sad to be torn away but it seemed like he had something else important for us lined up so we pressed on.

We reached a quiet river surrounded by sandy banks to watch the sunset, as the car stopped and we all got out (there were 3 other couples in the car) Charlie took me by the hand and lead me to the waters’ edge.

It was there that he threw down his crutch and got down on one knee (pretty impressive considering it was still partially broken, that’s love!) and asked me to be his wife. Our guide had been in on the whole thing and used our camera to capture these photos which I’m so grateful for!

It turned out that our group, guides and all other vehicles on the reserve knew about the plan as they were all cheering on the car radio when they heard I said yes! Best early birthday present ever.

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