Abi [she/her] and Emily [they/them] are relocated their lives from South Africa and made home in New Zealand. A scavenger hunt, organized by Emily, lead Abi to an incredibly romantic spot amongst the Wellington Botanical Gardens, and a small book that would ask one big question.

PLANNING THE PROPOSAL

E: Proposing was stressful! I knew we were both ready to take the next step as we had just made it through immigrating to New Zealand and securing jobs and brand new friends – a pretty intense feat!

I spent about two months planning the proposal as I knew Abi had a very definitive way in which she had always wanted this to unfold. First thing first, I asked her parents for their blessing. Second, I had to get around purchasing a ring without Abi noticing a large amount of money going out of our joint account.

Once both had gone off without a hitch – I immediately contacted my best man to get the proposal underway!

The lead up was pretty smooth, I was just really excited! I played it cool and pretended we were going to Wellington for our Anniversary which made it pretty plausible. We spent the night before on Cuba Str with some friends to help ease my nerves. Though the next day I was so damn nervous that my entire body just shut down & all I could do was sleep! I guess kinda like when you can’t wait for Christmas or your birthday so you go to be early in hopes of it coming sooner.

The destination of the proposal wasn’t really all that important as it was more about the actual journey of the proposal. I turned the lead up to the actual proposal into a “scavenger hunt” of sorts.

Abi and I have always loved taking pictures together, so I got my best man to pre-plan a couple of mapped out spots where Abi and I would have to take a picture together. Only upon sending a pic of us at that spot back to him – we would then get clues to the next one, eventually leading up to this beautiful pergola in the Wellington Botanical Gardens. This is where I would propose. It was pretty spectacular and we still have all our pictures from that special day.

A: Emily planned the proposal to the last detail. Considering Em can barely plan a trip to the supermarket, I took it upon myself to plan our weekend & somehow they managed to work this surprise amongst my planning.

There were a few moments I thought a proposal was going to happen. The day of being the mere fact that it wasn’t my planning at all, but I thought- it can’t be! The other moment was the night before when the question came up, “So if I proposed now, you’d say yes?”. I think the nerves were sitting in the pit of Emily’s stomach & the question was blurted out so randomly & abruptly- I thought something must be up. But I dismissed it.

The proposal itself was an entire days affair. A scavenger hunt for landmarks, pictured & sent to Em’s best man, followed by the next clue & so on. It was due to be a sunny day, but the showers came down & upon running for cover, I slipped right off the pavement- directly in front of a moving taxi & in Emily’s hurry to get to the FINAL landmark, I was scooped up off the street & hurried along. We laughed our way to the botanical gardens, me soaking wet & scratched up.

Under a pergola lay a small package. We made our way down the path & the closer we got, I came to realise it was a small book. I’ve always been afraid of missing moments, forgetting moments. The book was Emily’s proposal. It was created with all our photographs over our six years, ten pages long, with poetically beautiful words. The last page read “& with that, I have one question to ask”. I turned around & Emily was on her knee & asked the million dollar question. Before I said yes, I screamed out- “FINALLY!”.

THE RING

A: My engagement ring is from Michael Hill. I love anything & everything vintage (wait till you see my wedding dress). It has a vintage-inspired feel & I had fallen in love with the ring months before Emily proposed. I was walking by the Michael Hill store & decided to pop in. The ring was on display & I said to the lovely lady behind the counter (who now happens to be a good friend) that this was the ring I hoped I’d get some day. Months passed by, Emily chose that ring to give to me.

THE ENGAGEMENT

A: Our engagement has been another layer to our ever-growing relationship. Nothing has changed though. Emily & I have always known this is where we’d want to end up. It was a grand gesture to solidify who we were meant to be for one another, & that’s each other’s, forever.

E: Our engagement signifies us just being truly and unapologetically happy. We have achieved so much and come so far from the punk rock kid & the girl with the nice legs from 2012!

WEDDING PLANNING

A: Wedding planning is going as smoothly as one could probably ever hope for. We had never discussed what KIND of wedding we’d like. Themes, guest list, food- none of it! When we got engaged & eventually began the planning process, we realised we were pretty much in for an easy one- we agreed on every single aspect of the wedding. Which is great, considering we disagree on most other things. We hope for our wedding to be an event people take something away from. A reminder of love, of life of friendship. We hope our wedding is a fun get together, where people from all over the world will meet for the very first time (our families included).

Our key vendors were chosen on the importance of supporting local. Our florist, catering, outfits- everything, is local! Pretty much all in the same street in our small town. Our photographer is the only “non- local” aspect of our wedding. We saw her work & couldn’t bear to not have her. So incredibly lucky she is available to work with us.

We are both South African’s who have had the tremendous opportunity to live in New Zealand for the last 3 years. We are so lucky to call this place home & to be able to get married here. We’re living the dream!


Captured by Wolf Paw and Daisy