From the moment we met, there was something about Jake that was different from anyone else. I had just moved to Auckland, leaving behind my life in Wellington to pursue a new career opportunity. Dating was not on my agenda at all; I had a plan to work on myself, build my career and see where the change would take me. It was only typical that my future husband would show up at my doorstep (literally) a few weeks into said plan.
I thought he was gorgeous, all rocker-boy dark and handsome. His fresh outlook on life and sense of wonder captivated me. We quickly became the best of friends, constantly in fits of laughter, able to talk about anything and everything. After many months, our amazing friendship blossomed into something more. Initially both afraid of crossing out of the friend-zone, we finally spilled our not-so-secret feelings for each other after a night out (thank you liquid courage!). Today, five and a half years later, we are still going strong with many exciting plans on the horizon.
As we boarded the plane to America, I noted that Jake had been beside me the whole time and hadn’t, as I’d suspected, left to pick up my sparkly new engagement ring (for those of you who don’t know, many jewellers offer a tax and duty free sales service. This means your guys/girls can get your rings sent here for pickup upon departure from Auckland, New Zealand, potentially saving thousands on tax fees). ‘I guess this means that he’s not proposing’, I thought to myself, slightly disheartened. Determined to not let that dampen the pre-holiday excitement, I quickly forgot all about a ring and focused on the trip ahead.
We travelled through New York (which was absolutely incredible), met up with our friend Kelly in New Jersey, then flew down to her home in Florida. We ate, drank and explored, having the best time. Finally the day came that we were heading off to Disney World. I was so excited; I would finally visit the happiest place on earth! We began our road trip early, with Kelly dropping us at Hollywood Studios. We spent the day there in the sweltering heat, loving the rides and atmosphere. Around 9pm we were forced to evacuate due to a huge storm (the lightning was hitting the ground, it was crazy!)
The next morning was a bit of a disaster. There was no power in our room due to outages from the storm, which meant a cold shower and no light to see how elegantly I applied my makeup. Miraculously, we still made our shuttle and were at Magic Kingdom by 8am. I needn’t have worried about my makeup though, within 2 hours of 35° plus heat it was all but gone, wiped away with the sweat constantly beading on my forehead. The day was filled with crowds, queuing and machines breaking down. To add to the excitement, after yet another hour waiting for a ride, we finally got on only to be drenched by hail during another storm. I’ll tell you what, riding a rollercoaster in a Florida thunderstorm is not for the faint hearted.
Not letting the storm deter us, we joined our friends for a traditional American dinner at one of the Disney Restaurants. Unbeknownst to me, my engagement ring was currently sitting pretty in Kelly’s handbag (Jake had been carrying this around for the past two weeks, so sneaky!) After dinner we made our way to Cinderella’s Castle for the fireworks display. It was definitely worth the wait - the projections, light show and fireworks were the best I’d ever seen. I cannot explain the happiness I felt in that moment. All the stresses of the day faded away; I was well and truly under the Disney spell.
Many piled out of the park after the show, which allowed us the opportunity to explore a few more rides without the lines. Once we were done, we made our way back to the castle for a couple of photos before we left. Seeing the castle and surroundings all but empty, Kelly told me to run ahead so she could “test the lighting" which, admittedly, I thought was a little strange but I willingly obliged, positioning myself in front of the castle in all it’s pink and blue glowing glory. Looking back, I saw her open her bag and reach in, getting closer to Jake and I just knew he was about to propose. I started FREAKING OUT, feeling unprepared and a total mess from the days' crazy span of events. It's funny, as much as you imagine/know this moment is coming, you're never truly prepared for it. I was frozen to the spot. “You’re not, are you?” I asked him as he approached. “I’m not, what?” he replied with a big grin on his face, “we’re just having a photo.” He placed his arms around my shoulders and smiled for the camera. I looked at him closer, searching for any indication that my thoughts were correct, finding only a face filled with seriousness and a touch of nerves (I knew it!). Suddenly he was down on one knee, delivering a beautiful speech that I really wish I could remember (I was being proposed to, it’s impossible to take everything in!) There was no doubt in my mind to say anything but yes. He placed the ring on my finger, came up off the ground and we kissed, forever sealing the deal. The crowd that had gathered around us erupted into cheers and claps (no idea where they came from!). All the while Kelly had been sneakily taking photos throughout the proposal and now, thanks to her, I have this gorgeous photo to remember the moment forever.