Trisha and Ashby

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How We Met

Trisha: I met Ashby in October 2016 through some mutual friends on a night out. It was casual dinner and drinks in the city and I was oblivious to the fact that a stranger will walk into my life and change it forever.

Ashby: The night we met the stars were light in a trance. Nearly two years ago, I met the girl of my dreams. No, it wasn’t Hermione from Harry Potter; she would be magically challenging and that would make me feel creepy. The woman I met was my girlfriend, and I’ve been falling more and more in love with her ever since. After eighteen months of dating, we finally introduced our parents to each other. The leading moments to this ensured I made myself be ready to propose. I had the ring made which took me 12 weeks (a custom made 2-carat diamond ring), and I had the plan on how to propose which took me 8 weeks to finalize.

how they asked

Trisha: Ashby had planned a series of surprises leading up to the day he proposed. A few months ago he had taken me on a surprise picnic to Shark Island. I thought that it was just another date he had planned for us. In fact, he had advised me we are spending the day shopping in the CBD and to dress comfortably. Prepped with a mental shopping list, Ashby picked me up and we were on our way. The sun was appearing through the clouds and temperature was perfect. Once we arrived into the city I noticed we were driving towards a spot Ashby had taken me to previously with views of Sydney Harbour and the Bridge. When I questioned why we were there he simply flashed me a cheeky grin and said there has been a change of plans.

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Once we parked and got out of the car, Ashby asked me to close my eyes and he led me down a pathway. I thought oh here we go another one of his surprises! We walked for a few minutes and then stopped. I opened my eyes to be presented with a beautiful white teepee with cushions, blankets, a picnic basket, champagne, white dreamcatchers and soft love tunes wafting through the air. I froze as I turned to him with disbelief! The gorgeous bohemian styled set-up had me written all over it and my heart smiled so hard that it hurt. I was literally on Cloud 9!

Once we unpacked our fruit platter, poured some champagne and got more comfortable Ashby pointed towards a scroll with a ribbon around it and asked me to open it. My heartbeat raced with excitement as I unrolled it. My eyes wide as saucers, I read “Surprise! You have a night in the Grand Harbour View at The Shangri La”. Again, he managed to sweep me off my feet.

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Ashby was enjoying these moments as much as I was and I know he was mentally documenting my reactions to each of these surprises. So basking in the sun’s rays, I silently reflected on our special bond and toasted to the universe. We finished our champagne and made our way to the Shang! (The bubbles had started to get to me at this stage). Giggles aside, we checked in and we made our way to the room. Here I was 38 floors up and on top of the world, literally and emotionally. The Harbour Views were stunning, Ashby was stunning, and everything was simply perfect! Once we were settled in, Ashby handed me an embellished box and asked me to open it. I slowly opened the box to find a pink rose resting on top of some wrapping paper.

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I carefully unfolded the paper to see a folded red dress. And underneath it, another familiar red dress which Ashby had stolen from my closet earlier which I hadn’t even noticed was missing! As I stood there half humoured, half puzzled he sheepishly said: “in case the other one didn’t fit”. A classic Ashby move always making sure there’s a backup plan. I tried the new dress and voila! A perfect fit. I was blown away by his efforts!

About an hour later, our Uber rolled up to the Hotel lobby and we climbed into the back seat. Ashby had mentioned something about a photo shoot so my mind was racing. We started traveling towards a spot we had been to a couple times with impressive views of the Harbour and city skyline, the Sydney Observatory. The Vivid light festival had started and Ashby mentioned he’d like to see the lights from there so I thought ok, a quick stop here and then to dinner and photoshoot. We reached The Sydney Observatory when it was coming into dusk, my favorite part of the day.

Hand in hand, we started walking up the hill and as I was walking along the footpath, my eyes wandered to a white rotunda/gazebo in the distance. I hadn’t really noticed it before but this time It has a soft yellow hue flickering from inside and was dressed with white drapes, and fairy lights. I continued walking along the footpath which leads past it thinking that I’ll just peak in to see what’s happening inside as I walk past it. Ashby tugged gently at my hand leading me across the grass towards the gazebo and my curiosity got the better of me. As we strode closer to the gazebo, I looked up to see candles at the footsteps and a chalkboard at the top of the stairs which read “The Love Story of Ashby and Trisha’. My hands trembling and heart racing, I looked inside to see photos and candles spaced along the inside circle and a white carpet runner leading to a white table with 2 chairs with rose petals around it and the words ‘Marry Me’ lit up behind it.

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At that moment I felt my heart fill up and overflow with joy as memories from the photos flashed back at me. My eyes welled up with tears and with my hands in his, Ashby beamed nervously at me and lead me up the stairs. I tried to wipe the tears away so I can be present at the moment but my beau wooed me in a way I thought was not possible. I felt like I was floating on a cloud. Here we were, in the center of a candlelit rotunda with a thousand memories running through my mind and the love of my life before me. Ashby’s eyes fixated on mine and he said “Ever since I met you that night I knew you were the one. You make me stronger and a better person. You are my other half and I want to always be by your side like you have done for me. I want to be always there to be on your team and support you forever, no matter what. I want to grow old with you.

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When I say you are my dream girl, I mean it from deep within my heart. I know you are my soulmate.”.Then he slowly got down on one knee and said opened a little box revealing the most perfect brilliant cut white gold diamond ring and asked ‘Will you Marry Me?”. A bright light appeared from behind us, and I turned around to see fountain fireworks! Speechless I nodded and managed to whisper a soft ‘Yes’ as he slipped the beautiful ring on to my finger. A few moments later he asked me again ‘So it that a Yes?” and I burst into laughter. Maybe I was searching for a better way to say ‘Yes’ because in that moment I wanted to say it a thousand times, but now I know that I can save that for a thousand lifetimes. As I embraced him with a kiss, I looked behind him to the back of the chalkboard and it read ‘It was always you’.

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Ashby: I was going to take her on a shopping date and a pull a change of plans card to tell her that no we are going on a picnic lunch in the park area. Little would she know that I have been learning about her rhythm and hippy freestyle where I secretly had set up a Teepee with dream catchers, comfy pillows, and blankets with a non-dairy fruit platter and champagne? Whilst a small distraction it was meant to be a surprise on its own. But why wait there? Trisha is a clever girl and one of her amazing qualities that I’m in love with, so I thought let’s try to throw her off with some more surprises. To get to this stage a few months prior we did a pop-up picnic on Shark Island. This was a pre-distraction so she wouldn’t expect a proposal coming.

As we sat down at our picnic tepee one of her favorite tunes begin to play to match the beautiful scene of the harbor. As we open up the picnic platter there is a ribbon scroll which is where I hid the second charm of the night. A booking to the Grand Harbour view room in the Shangri-La. This tied into my plan to take her out for dinner at sunset (her favorite time of the day) which is the excuse I would use to gift her a fine red dress that I had picked and pictured for my dream girl. I would surprise her with the best harbor view to show her we live in a beautiful place with so much positive energy and the spirit of vivid lights it would be an awe.

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Once we reached sunset the plan was to board our Uber Lux booked ready to take us to a secret destination where we would have a private area booked out with all her favorite fairy lights, candles, pictures, music, and décor to ask her for her hand. I had made sure there were specific items in the setting including a playlist of our favorite music – So into you by fabulous and Adore you by Miley. I also themed fountains erupting with fireworks at the time she says yes so here we went with a Rotunda at the top of the hill overlooking Sydney harbor – a grand and romantic spot.

To my surprise, I was nervous. Even as the day arrived and I placed the ring box in my jeans pocket, the fact that I was about to be engaged to a beautiful woman had little effect on my emotional state. My heart and mind were in sync with what I was about to do. My now-fiancée and I got off the UberLUX to walk out for a quick peek of the sunset and watch the grand vivid lights. I briefly mentioned that a photo shoot was involved at some point in the night so she is prepared for photos. As we walk up, I can see both our eyes catch a lit up Rotunda on the top of the hill, I caught a sparkle in her eye as she glimpsed over to it. We follow the path as I pretended we were walking onward to the stargazing observatory however as we reach the top I ask to take a twist towards the Rotunda. My heart started beating and I could feel her pulse in my palm. I’m looking at her for signs of awareness, nervous that by now she has started wondering what is going on.

I walk into the beautiful candlelit setting with her, rose petals around us and the sunset powering the universe. I look her in the eyes and tell her: “Ever since I met you that night I knew you were the one. You make me stronger and a better person. You are my other half and I want to always be by your side like you have done for me. I want to be always there to be on your team and support you forever, no matter what. I want to grow old with you. When I say you are my dream girl, I mean it from deep within my heart. I know you are my soulmate.” I kneel down and at this point, I ask her: Will you marry me?

As I say these words I get a rush of adrenaline through my body. The fireworks light up and all I hear is a “Yes!” I slip the ring on her finger with a feeling of unity in my heart. They say someone somewhere is made for you…. At that moment my heart gave a sigh! Similar to the one when we caught each other’s eye the first night we met- “Oh there you are soul mate! I thought I was never going to find you”.

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Special Thanks

Natasje Garber
 | Photographer