On Christmas Eve, 2018, my mum pulled out a beautiful Victorian engagement ring and asked me what I thought. Five rose cut diamonds (a shape that is no longer in production) set in a band of 18ct gold. Naturally, I approved, and so she thrust the ring into Dean’s hand with a simple, “There you go, Dean.’
We were shocked, appreciative, and a little confused, because the surprise of an engagement ring was now gone. She could have passed it to him in secret, but as you will come to find out, she was as bad at keeping the whole thing a secret as my now fiancé was.
When I was a child, I was so amazed watching Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang emerge from the garage that I rewound the video straight away to try and relive that moment. I soon learnt that some surprises couldn’t be replicated, which is why I didn’t want to know anything else about the ring. I only planned on doing the thing once, and this was my chance to be amazed. Sell it or keep it, propose here or there, I didn’t want to know. I wanted the situation to be shrouded in as much mystery as possible.
So, imagine my eye roll when Dean told me he couldn’t find the right ring to replace the old one with, and needed my help. I couldn’t be annoyed at him though, because when I scoured the internet, I couldn’t find the right one either. And then I had a brainwave.
I designed my own ring using the materials from the Victorian ring, with the addition of a new teardrop diamond, which was to be Dean’s contribution. The piece was perfect, combining vintage with upcycling. It was a piece of my mum, it was a piece of Dean, it was the only one in the world, and it just so happened that Dean’s friend was a talented goldsmith. The ring was made by someone special, with the care and precision of a friend. So, even though the surprise of the aesthetic was gone, it turned out to be a blessing.
Still, I clung to what shred of surprise there was left. I didn’t want any updates. I didn’t want to know where or when it was going to happen.
Four years ago, after flying alone to the other side of the world, Dean met me in Melbourne, Australia, and took me to St Kilda beach to help me overcome my jetlag. St Kilda beach was, and still is, home to hundreds of little penguins. When the sun goes down, you can watch them go about their business all around you, in their natural habitat. At that moment, I knew Melbourne was going to be incredible adventure.
What I didn’t know, was that four years later, on August 7th 2019, at that exact spot, Dean would get down on one knee and ask me to marry him.
We were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves. His proposal was beautiful. The ring was perfect. Despite the Winter weather, the sun was shining. And, of course, I said yes, because I could think of nothing better than spending the rest of my life with him. And how fitting is it that penguins’ mate for life?