How we met: Brad and I met through one of my closest friends – who went to primary school with Brad 20 years ago. After years of lost contact, they met again on Facebook, caught up, and she suggested that Brad and I should meet. We made each other laugh, however as it turned out that Brad was seeing someone else I respectfully kept my distance. Months passed, that relationship fell apart, and we decided to catch up for drinks, the chemistry immediately evident. Those catch ups turned into weekly lunches and dinners, until the night that Brad went in for the kiss – and I totally mucked it up by trying to kiss his cheek instead! Early on in our relationship we knew we were in it for the long haul; we had a mutual passion for wine, practical jokes, dogs, our own jokes, trance music, fine dining and identical taste in home decor. We moved in together, renovated Brad’s house, sold his house and put a deposit in a block of land to build our dream home together. One of the most special parts of our relationship is that we share the same birthday, which means that every year we get to have an incredibly special day and spoil each other!
how they asked: Months before our birthday, Brad asked if I wanted to book a few days of annual leave so that we could go away for a long weekend for our birthday this year. Months passed, and the only hints I got out of him as to where we were going were: we were flying with Virgin, we were heading to a major city, and the destination was south! Our birthday rolled around, and we were due to fly out the next morning – the destination still a surprise, but I had my guesses! After incorrectly guessing Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Perth, Brad showed me our itinerary – we were going to Queenstown! Somewhere I had always wanted to go. Excitedly, we wolfed down our birthday dinner before packing our bags for our exciting – international! – trip. Brad suggested that because our birthday dinner was so rushed that we should book a nice restaurant for our birthday dinner together – a request I was only too happy to oblige! At the airport the next morning, we booked a table at Gantleys.
Before we touched down, Brad told me he’d booked a car so that we could drive through some of the Central Otago wineries, and that he’d booked a self-contained apartment but not to expect too much as he thought money was better spent on ridiculous activities and wine (he knows me well!).
After a stunning drive from the airport, Brad suggested we pop into the town to grab something quick to eat – starving, I agreed. He pulled his cabin baggage out of the car to bring with us, under the premise that he was “worried about leaving his passport in the car”, and I kept asking if he wanted to just chuck his passport in my handbag. After having something to eat, I asked him where we were staying and whether he needed directing – he said that he didn’t – he knew where we were going which I immediately thought was weird, as we’d never been to Queenstown before, but I know how poor my directions are normally so I wrote it off. Minutes later, we pulled up at The Rees in Queenstown – a stunning lakefront luxury resort that we had driven past on our way from the airport, and after turning to him and asking if we really were staying there I burst into tears – overwhelmed by the surprise of first the incredible destination, then the stunning resort we were staying in. Our apartment had own fireplace and private terrace overlooking the beautiful lake. We chilled a bottle of dessert wine to have for dessert then headed out for dinner.
Dinner at Gantleys was incredible – beautiful grounds, welcoming staff, a candle lit dinner with stunning food washed down with sensational local Central Otago wines. We left stuffed and satisfied. Upon returning to our apartment, Brad suggested we crack open our dessert wine and have a glass on the terrace, which sounded like a terrific idea to my slightly tipsy self.He went to the kitchen and poured two glasses whilst I soaked up the view. He walked up behind me, gave me a big hug and handed me a glass. He kissed me and then told me that there was one more surprise, but I had to shut my eyes. He took my hand and I felt him drop to his knee, at which point I think I burst into tears. He asked me to open my eyes and there he was, down on one knee, ring in a beautiful box, asking me to marry him. In typical me style, I went into shock, cried and forgot to say yes! Once we established that the tears were happy tears not tears of revulsion and that I had in fact agreed to spend the rest of my life with him (I eventually got it out between choked sobs!) he put the ring on my finger and I was completely dazzled by it – I’ve never been a jewelry person but I fell in love with it immediately!
I’ve always thought that the most important part of an engagement ring is what it stands for rather than the four Cs or whatever, however he’d truly outdone himself in that respect. Most surprisingly, it fit perfectly – a fact I can attribute to his Mum getting me to play with her jewelry a few months prior – something I thought nothing of at the time! I found out he’d been planning the proposal for almost a year; that he’d designed the ring himself under the guidance of the most wonderful, lovely jeweler, who has since designed our wedding bands.
Over the next couple of days, we tandem bungee jumped, skydived together, ziplined, white water rafted and tasted some of the nicest wine Central Otago has to offer! Brad has been my rock since I met him – his kind, thoughtful, quirky personality had me from the get go, and his proposal was truly reflective of everything I love about him. It was a birthday that I’ll never forget, I really have no idea how I can ever give him as good a birthday present in return, I hope I can be the kind of wife that someone as special as him deserves!