Ror and I met online….on Tinder in fact. Yes – we are one of the lucky few who actually found love on this somewhat dubious app. I had just moved back from London, and was staying with my mom in Underberg, while Rory was based in Pietermaritzburg.
After chatting NON-STOP for two weeks, we decided to arrange to meet. Ror had just had major knee surgery and was on crutches, so wasn’t supposed to be driving. I had planned to travel to Pietermaritzburg from Underberg to get a Mountain Bike which I had my eye on. Long story short, Rory asked his dad to borrow his car as it’s an automatic, so that he could drive up to Pietermaritzburg to meet ‘this girl’.
We met at Cordwalles Preparatory School which had been Rory’s ‘home’ and place of work for the last 4 years. He hobbled over on his crutches and was beaming with excitement. After a somewhat awkward hello, he showed me the school grounds, his classroom and his flat on property. We then went to get my bike and finished our first date off with a lunch at Cascades. This is where I learnt about Rory’s eating habits. He didn’t eat salad, most veggies, fish….or pretty much anything but meat and potatoes (Needless to say, this has since changed)!
From there, we had a bit of a ‘shakey’ start as I was in complete denial about how perfect Ror was for me and felt that it was too good to be true. After some thinking, more talking and time – I realised that I had to give this guy a chance…because this could be it.
I ended up moving to Pietermaritzburg and setting up a work from home office to give this relationship a good go. Quite bold after just two months.
After 6 months, we were setting off on our first international adventure to Thailand, and on returning we moved in together. It felt so right, and we both knew that this was it. As they say, you only truly know someone after living together, and I’m relieved to say that even with his faults…. I still wanted to marry him.
Even though Amy and I had only been dating for a few months, we both knew that this was it. All it came down to was when I was going to propose. Amy being Amy, was convinced I would never be able to keep the engagement a secret. Me being me – challenge accepted. Anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t do anything half-heartedly. I always knew that my proposal was going to be as epic as I could make it, because after all – I was only ever going to do this once, so I might as well make it a good one! Furthermore, I knew that Amy deserved for it to be a real treat and something super special that we could look back on with fond memories. I place a lot of importance and find great significance in numbers and dates, so I knew that the day I proposed needed to be something special. In June, I started to look for suitable dates. We had first met on the 28th of December, so I thought what better day to propose than exactly a year on from that day.
Amy and I both love games, so I wanted the proposal to be something of a challenge for her. I decided to send her on a type of treasure hunt on the day. To make it even more special (and to prove how little attention she was actually paying), I would have a 3 month build up to the proposal, without her even realizing it! To do that, I created several cards with pictures of us on them. On the 28th of September, 28th of October, and 28th of November, I would give her these cards. The 28th of November is coincidentally Amy’s birthday (which was another reason why the numbers worked for me) and this provided a good cover should she have gotten suspicious in any way.
On the 28th of September, I gave her the first card that contained a riddle which lead her around our home to a pair of movie tickets to the latest Bridget Jones movie, which she has be dying to see.
On the 28th of October, we were in Himeville doing some house sitting for her mom and there were two cards with riddles that lead her to a new pair of flippers for swimming that she had really wanted.
Finally on the 28th of November, her birthday, I gave her 4 presents and 4 cards, each leading from one to the other. 7 cards in total and the foundation of the proposal was laid down.
The next crucial hurdle was asking Amy’s mom for her blessing. While confident of the outcome, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous going into it! I wanted to make sure that I did it the right way, and this meant driving up to Himeville to do it in person, which I successfully achieved on Sunday the 11th of December. Thankfully my future best man Shane was on hand to help provide a 5 hour round trip cover story, as well as to keep me company on the drive there and back. Once I had Beth’s blessing, I really began to kick into overdrive with organising everything.
I needed something to help tie the whole treasure hunt together, and for me, the ideal way to do this was to have a website. At this point I would like to send a massive shout out to Jason Liebenberg (Amy’s Maid of Honours husband), who created the website for our engagement as well as our wedding invite and this website – thanks bud. So the website that was created was www.amyelizabethbremner.co.za – see what I did there?! In a nutshell, Amy would navigate her way through the website with a series of clues and passwords. She would only receive the password for the next stage after she had completed whatever task or event needed to be done. At the end of the day, I would be there waiting for her, ready to propose to the woman of my dreams.
As you will soon find out, I needed to contact A LOT of people to be involved in my proposal, as I wanted as many special people to be there with Amy and to show her how many people loved her. So, in advance, I want to thank everyone who was involved in making this day happen, whether you spent time with Amy on the day, or ran around with me and helped set things up in the background, I really do appreciate all the time and effort it took from all of you. I especially needed someone to help Amy through the whole day and to be my eyes and ears in case anything went wrong. Amy’s really good friend and future bridesmaid, Amy Brown, was the perfect person to help. From now on, to avoid confusion Amy Brown will now be referred to as AJ. On the day, it was AJ’s job to initiate the proceedings as well as to travel around with her, keep her on track, and document everything as they went along.
Both families had decided to spend our first Christmas all together in a rented house in Underberg. My sister had come out from England and it really was a wonderful time for both families to spend time really getting to know each other. The 28th finally arrived and it was to be the day we left Underberg and all went back to our respective homes. Little did Amy know what was in store for her! We got home and I frantically began unpacking, putting washing on, and generally just making sure things got done because I knew we would not have much time with what lay ahead.
At the required time, I told Amy that I had to go out and get something. What I really did was go and fetch AJ. Once I had dropped AJ off at our home, that was it – the engagement had begun! From this point, I knew, rather than try keep the outcome a secret, I should be upfront and tell her I was going to propose. This way, she could just enjoy the day for what it was and the surprises would be all the people she would see along the way.
Firstly, AJ gave Amy a letter from me. The letter directed her to my iPad and to the website. The first page requested her to get the 7 cards that I had given her over the 3 previous months. On the inside of each card, opposite the clues, I had written these cheesy little one-liner quotes. These were necessary because when you put them all together in chronological order, the first letter of these one-liners spelled out the words “MARRY ME” which was the password to the next page.
Next was a wonderful surprise video from Amy’s future maid of honour, Bianca, with her husband Jason and their unbelievably adorable daughter Grace, who were all on holiday in Mauritius. Then came a trip to Sorbet at Cascades for both Amy and AJ to get their nails done. I had also organised my old man’s Audi to help drive them around and Shane was going to be the designated chauffeur for the first few legs. Shane dropped them off at Sorbet for the next hour or so and helped me buy some champagne and snacks for the girls in the car. Once they were done, the next stop was the exact place where Amy and I had met the year before, the parking lot at Cordwalles. There waiting for her, were the two Sarah’s.
As they were about to leave, someone knocked on the window and asked Shane if he could take over the driving. It was Amy’s childhood friend James, who luckily for me was down in KZN from Joburg for the festive season. James took over the driving responsibilities for the rest of the day and drove the four girls to the next stop, which was the Midlands Mall and Forever New, to buy Amy a dress and shoes for the engagement. Again there was a surprise waiting for her, long-time friend, Claire was there to lend a hand and help all the girls pick out the perfect dress.
From the mall, the Sarah’s said goodbye to Amy, AJ and Claire. James, with the three remaining ladies, drove to the next stop. This was the Senses Day Spa where I had scheduled a relaxing back massage for Amy. After the massage, Claire had gone, but in her place were my mother and sister who accompanied Amy to the next stop – a BnB, where they were all going to get ready. At the BnB was Amy’s mother Beth. She gave Amy a cell phone and on the line was Amy’s Brother Luke who is currently in England. After this, the website directed Amy to a Skype video call with a special friend – Natalie, who also lives in England. Finally, Amy was ready and blindfolded for her last destination. My original idea was to propose at the top of World’s View, a place that looks out over the entire city of Pietermaritzburg – the place where we met, where we live and where we fell in love. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had not played ball that day and the weather was not good – so I had to find a similar view with a lot more cover.
Luckily for me, the Pre Primary block at Cordwalles has a very similar view and is completely covered. It was there, under a beautiful old tree, surrounded by our family, candlelight and an admittedly mediocre sunset that I got down on one knee and asked the love of my life to marry me. Thankfully, she said yes! To celebrate, I had two final surprises in store. Firstly, everyone that had been involved in the day was waiting for us at an impromptu engagement party and secondly, the next day we were going to fly to Cape Town for 5 nights to spend New Year’s as an engaged couple.
Rory is a teacher, and as we got married during term we couldnt take too long off. We had our mini-moon at Nambiti Hills Game Lodge, which was Incredible. 3 days of pure luxury, adventure and pampering. We are planning on going to Greece next year for an extended honeymoon.
We got married at Sweethome in Eston. Derek and Carrie own the venue, and are just incredible human beings. Our guests stayed in various accommodation in and around Eston.
My Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid wore stunning Navy Dresses from Bride & Co with beautiful lace detail. It was so nice being able to buy something off the rack that was exactly what I had in mind and fitted them perfectly.
The amazing Jonathan Payne from http://theweddingcelebrant.co.za/
Casey Pratt from Casey Pratt Photography was our photographer. From the moment we saw her work (she did a few of our friends weddings) we knew we had to have her! www.caseypratt.com
The VERY talented Dane Forman from formanweddingfilms.co.za was our Videographer. He came highly recommended from a number of friends, and he didnt disappoint.
We hired the 'Instabus' from Aisle Hire It, which was a MASSIVE hit with guests. Highly recommend them! http://www.aislehireit.com/
Nope, it was all me!
The lovely Belinda Love from 'Eat with Love' catering did all of our food. She is such a wonderful person and helped us with lots of decisions when it came to making sure our food was on point and she didnt disappoint.
Our cake was done by the ridiculously talented Lauren from Lauren Lee Cake Couture. Our flavours were Carrot Cake, Milk Chocolate Mud Cake and Caramel Mud Cake. Delish!