Every time I look at these photos I can’t help but let a big cheesy, emotional grin take over my face. Not because the outfit is anything particularly groundbreaking (I wanted to wear my new hat and new boots and everything else was shaped around that), not because the photos are necessarily the best we’ve ever done (you’ll find out why in a minute) but simply because I’m utterly dumbfounded that they even exist. Set in the beautiful rose gardens of Hampton Court palace, these snaps were taken a mere ten minutes or so before one of the happiest moments of my life (and I’m guessing one of the most nerve-wracking of GB’s).
Yes these photos shall forever have a special place in my heart, this blog post shall forever be a happy reminder of an incredible day and what was a reasonably nondescript outfit shall now forever be one of my most loved. For it was this outfit, this date and these photos which ultimately led to me turning around in the middle of a maze in one of London’s most beautiful settings, confused, bewildered and slightly teary eyed, to find my favourite ginger boy down on one knee and asking me to marry him.
Skirt and Top – Vero Moda | Coat – & Other Stories | Boots – Deichmann (c/o) | Hat – Warehouse | Bag – BHS
I KNOW!!! So now that that’s sunk in, let me just take you back a few steps shall I? I’ll admit I was in two minds about whether to share this story at all. Let’s be honest, I already share way too much of my life on the internet as it is and there are some things in life which are perhaps meant to stay private. But, after so many of you commented and left your congrats on our announcement video, not to mention the emails, tweets, messages, cards and even lovely presents which came through, I decided that this blog would somehow not be complete without this story. As really, if I’m truly honest, this blog has never just been about me. Without GB, I don’t think I would have had the confidence to start it in the first place, it was our early adventures that made up the first of my posts and he has been a constant in its content ever since. So many of our moments have been documented over the last five years, and I know that without him this blog would not be where it is today. I write this because I want to be able to look back at these photos and read these words in years to come and remember the moment, remember the feeling and remember the excitement in sharing it. I’ll keep some of the details just for us of course – the words, the in jokes, the silliness – because that really is private, but all the rest I’ll happily share.
So how did it happen already?? I know, I know I’m getting to that. Let me start by saying that generally I don’t like surprises. You could put it down to me being a control freak (I’d take that on the chin without too much offence) but I like to think its because organisation is simply a skill I’m pretty good at, and there’s always part of me that feels a little sad when the opportunity to organise something is taken away from me (reason number 1 why we’d be terrible/amazing on Don’t Tell the Bride). I’ve known since day one that GB is the only guy
that could put up with for me and there was never any question in my mind that one day we would get married. Having been together over five years, there have of course been chats about weddings over the years and perhaps more readily from me in the last little while, and I had been known to slightly poo poo the whole surprise proposal thing, often letting my feminist ways get the better of me and telling GB that we could easily avoid all the fuss and charade in favour of a simple ‘let’s do this’ kind of thing. However I can honestly say now, having been ‘surprise proposed’ to, I’m SO glad that GB didn’t listen to me. I could have never in a million years prepared myself for how it would feel the moment someone you love gets down in front of you and tells you that you’re the one they want to spend their life with. It was 100% a complete surprise and for once, 100% amazing not to have known a thing.
Following a big surprise, there’s always a flurry of sudden realisations, little things that seemed a bit strange at the time that now add up and a general (wonderful) feeling of complete silliness that you didn’t put two and two together sooner. I guess when it really matters our minds have a way of keeping us locked in a little bubble until everything is fully out in the open. Last year when I surprised GB on his 30th birthday with a trip to New York and a ticket to the New York Knicks game, I can remember being convinced on numerous occasions in the six months of planning prior to the big reveal, that I had utterly given the game away. Tiny little slip ups which seem monumental at the time, resulting in endless panic of whether they’ve cottoned on to your genius plan. Of course, just like GB back then, I dismissed all the little oddities which now seem so clear and swiftly forgot about them until after the moment had come and suddenly they all made sense.
That strange conversation a month or so ago when GB had announced how much he loved mazes did come a little out of the blue, as did the subsequent hints and raves about a particular maze in Hampton Court Palace being a spot we simply must visit. So cunning was he with his subliminal messaging that I actually found myself suggesting breakfast and a maze visit one morning just to get him to pipe down about it (clearly he knows me too well!).
I guess a question mark should have appeared when GB came home from work one evening excitedly telling me that it turned out the girlfriend of a work colleague worked at the Palace, and upon telling her about my blog had suggested we come along to take photos before it opened to the public. An even bigger question mark should have appeared when GB seemed genuinely unfussed, some might say happy even, to plan an early morning wake up call on his day off work simply to play photographer for my blog, a task which he usually doesn’t fully agree to until I offer some sort of slap up meal in return.
The biggest question mark of all however should have hovered over me the evening before our outing when GB announced a beard trim was in order. Yup that same large ginger beard that only ever gets trimmed when a special occasion rolls around.
But alas, a busy few weeks of work and a head that was constantly buried in paperwork or sat in front of a computer screen, allowed all of these strange little happenings to pass right by me almost unnoticed. When that Thursday rolled around and GB had a day off planned, I was simply happy to be able to take a few hours off work and let the pleasant anticipation of visiting a new place and eating a good breakfast wash any other questions away.
Even arriving at the not yet open maze and being greeted by a friendly caretaker who seemed to know exactly what we were doing there didn’t phase me, and 15 mins of happily getting lost amongst the hedges and taking silly photos kept me entertained right up until the second we found the clearing in the middle and I saw a pretty arch decorated with photos of us and a bottle of champagne with two of our favourite jar tumblers perched on the ground. I barely had time to make sense of the thoughts running through my head (Why on earth would the people of Hampton Court Palace have photos of us?? Call the Police – quick!) before the tears started flowing and GB was in front of me carrying a pair of silver Nike Air Max and saying words which are too lovely to repeat. I, of course, said a big huge yes. We hugged, we kissed, we may have even have danced a little and we cracked open a bottle of champagne at 10am in the middle of a maze we had all to ourselves. And then, just like that, in a moment of complete unprecedented loveliness, we were engaged. And the rest of the day was a blurry haze of excitement, shock and happiness like I’ve never felt before.
Little had I known of course that breakfast and an early morning private maze visit had been on the cards long before I’d suggested it. Organised months in advance by GB who had been back and forth to the Palace so many times he’d gotten to know the staff pretty well. And those staff had, thanks to many pleas over email and the offer of a homemade cheesecake, granted him permission to access the maze with his girlfriend one particular Thursday morning before it officially opened and surprise her with a very important question. My suggestion of a visit was just another way to throw me off the scent and ensure I didn’t think anything untoward was afoot. That mysterious girlfriend of a work colleague who just happened to work at the Palace was of course entirely fictional and the eagerness to take blog photos an easy ruse to make sure I got up early and went along with the plan. Cunning hey?
P.S The trainers warrant some bemused looks to all we tell this story to, but rest assured they made perfect sense to me and were possibly even more special than a ring could have been (I’ve always wanted to design my own) so don’t feel too sorry for me on that count.
And so I’m engaged, and two weeks in the giddiness still hasn’t worn off. I’m ecstatic at the idea of marrying my favourite person in the world and really truly can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with him.
Here’s a little snap of the moment after it happened (sorry for the tear streaked face) and once again a massive thank you from both of us for all the kind messages we’ve received so far. I must say that when it comes to moments like these, having a blog and the community that comes with that, really is the best thing in the world!