How We Met
Jon and I (Patricia) met through my mom! They both used to work for the University of Adelaide, South Australia.
I went to an all-girls school and my guy friends weren’t available to come as my formal date, so my mom asked Jon on my behalf.
It was awkward at first because we didn’t know anything about each other, in fact, the first time we really got to spend time with each other was at the formal, we even celebrate it as the anniversary of our “First Date”. This November it will be 10 years since that day!
We both remember feeling like something special was happening and we couldn’t explain it. We were inseparable the whole night and we had never felt anything like that before. In fact, when we went to take our first photo together in my back yard, it sounds cheesy but I felt an instant spark and shift inside me like my world was finally clicking into place.
A year after we spent time getting to know each other we told each other how we felt and wanted to see if we could take our relationship to the next level. My family life situation changed and we had to move interstate to Melbourne; Jon and I also couldn’t continue on dating so we decided to amicably end the relationship and wish each other well. But we stayed best friends and kept in touch for the next 5 years.
We both did a lot of growth in those 5 years and one night changed it all for us. I needed to take a trip to Adelaide in 2015 for a very close friend’s wedding. We decided to meet up at Jon’s place for dinner and reconnected properly. We felt like, even after all that time, the spark was definitely still there. So we made the commitment to be together, no matter the distance or life situation—we were so glad we gave it another chance! The experiences we had away from each other in a way prepared us to enjoy the second time around we decided to rekindle our relationship.
It was challenging in all fronts, let alone having the distance between us. For a while, some people close to us didn’t support the relationship or had different expectations of who either of us should be dating. With a lot of love and perseverance, we managed to show them, and each other, how committed we were. After three years of dating, we finally moved in together!
Since then we’ve progressed in our careers, are starting to grow our own businesses, worked on our own personal development and health and even ate fire together. Throughout every new experience and challenge, we are so grateful to have each other, not only as lovers but also as best friends.
How They Asked
We knew, after nurturing our relationships with our respective families and in-laws, that we wanted to get engaged soon. It wasn’t a big secret to anyone around us either.
As our lives got busier this year we wanted to find time to take a proper break from work. Jon had been to New Zealand on work trips before and I had wanted to visit New Zealand for a long time.
Jon planned most of the trip with a few surprises here and there and we were so excited to go. He was really cheeky leading up to the trip, making it seem like he was planning certain things but they were not coming through or it was hard to book or it looked like we wouldn’t be able to do what we wanted to.
Apart from the incredible things I’ve heard about NZ culture, food and landscape, I am a big Lord of the Rings/Tolkien fan. I’ve wanted to see some of the places where scenes in the movie were shot and I wanted to go to Hobbiton. So when he said the tours looked booked and he wouldn’t be able to get us in, I was heartbroken. But he said he would do whatever he could to still make the trip special.
On the third day of our trip, we took a long bus ride to Milford Sounds, a fjord five hours away from Queenstown. It was so spectacular and we were glad that the rainy weather from the day before had cleared and opened up sunny skies. The bus driver from our tour was encouraging everyone to take advantage of a helicopter ride from Milford back to Queenstown that would cut the trip time significantly but also offer the most breathtaking views of the snow-capped mountains. Jon and I didn’t intend to get the chopper back but the skies were beckoning and the moment felt right so we signed up for it!
After the cruise, we strapped into the chopper and flew with two other couples and the pilot over the Remarkables. We will never forget the view up there. Clear skies and being next to clouds, it was exhilarating! The pilot found a place to land on top of one of the snowy mountains and all of us excited clambered out to take photos.
Jon took his phone and DJI gimbal out to film the scenery around us while I kept taking photos. Then he handed the gimbal over to the pilot, beckoning him to take a video of us at one end on the mountaintop. Then he took my hand and helped me walk over the snow; I was so scared because we weren’t exactly dressed for walking on snow and I didn’t want us to fall over!
Then he turned to face me and yelled over the noise of the helicopter engine and blades, “Hey baby, I have a question!”
”What?!” I couldn’t hear him very well.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a ball of dark brown tissue. He peeled back the tissue and I saw a beautiful mahogany-colored timber box. I gasped because I knew.
Jon got down on one knee in the snow and I was gasping/hyperventilating/crying at the same time! He asked me to be his wife and I just nodded and said: “Yes absolutely yes!”
We were so lucky because one of the other couples there took photos on their own phone for us while the pilot filmed the proposal. It was so special to be able to share that moment with other people around us.
To me it also meant that Jon had not only secretly managed to get the ring from Sydney to Melbourne, he also managed to win my parent’s favor and ask for my hand in marriage. This was so important to both of us.
We both wanted a bespoke ring—Jon’s dad was a reputable sculptor and jeweler and gave us a lot of advice on metals and stones, as well as ideas for shapes. Having his input really guided us on the shape of the stone as well as how to design it to fit my busy, hands-on life and style.
We found and approached an incredible jeweler from Sydney named Zoe Pook who has been crafting ethical and bespoke jewelry for many years. Zoe collaborates very closely with each couple she works with to design engagement and wedding bands so no two rings she makes look alike. She uses ethically sourced stones, Australian where possible, and offers recycled metals or ethically sourced gold and rose gold.
We had sourced our stone though a moissanite specialist and passed it on to Zoe. She sketched out several versions of our ring and refined the ideas with us, then I stepped out of the conversation when we finalized the design so the next time I saw it would be on my hand. We wanted a rose gold ring with a twist on either side of the stone and engraving that made the twist look like tree branches. We also designed the wedding bands with her and we’re excited to see them when we tie the knot too!
Jon also revealed, when we traveled for the rest of our trip, that he did indeed organize for us to be in the North Island to take the Hobbiton tour. But he also organized the tour we took to be the night feast so we got to tour Hobbiton under incredible weather and had dinner with our group at the Green Dragon.
He also revealed that originally he wanted to propose under the party tree where they filmed Bilbo’s party scene. So he decided to do it again and asked our very enthusiastic tour guide, Sonny, to take photos of where he originally wanted to propose. I would have been just as happy if he had proposed there and the photos and moment felt like he had proposed twice!
All in all, it was such a memorable trip and we both feel absolutely blessed and honored to not only experience these things, after all these years we also now get to be Mr. and Mrs. Salmon!