When Anna & Carmel met they were on opposite sides of the world however, their love found a place to thrive. With the help of family and friends Anna asked Carmel to start a new chapter together.

Words by Anna

Carmel is an outgoing, brave, passionate person who pursues happiness and fulfilment in life. She is a secondary school teacher who is heavily involved in the performing arts at her school. She has also recently become involved with a local theatre company, which has made her both extremely happy and insanely busy!

I am a passionate person as well, but in a more reserved way than Carmel. I prefer quieter activities such as reading, writing, and watching movies. If we ever get separated in a crowded mall, just look for the nearest candle shop and I will most likely be in there. I really enjoy one-on-one conversations with people and connecting with them on a deeper level.

Carmel and I have been together for a little over six years now. We met while we were living on opposite sides of the world. Carmel was born and raised in Australia, and I was born and raised in the United States.

We met through a blog I was writing several years ago. Carmel sent me an email one day, and I immediately knew that there was something about her that I couldn’t ignore. We started sending each other multiple emails throughout the day, which segued into daily phone calls, which eventually led to Carmel flying to the United States to meet me in person. The moment I saw her and held her in my arms for the first time, I knew that this was it.

About a year later, I moved to Australia to be with her, and we have been together ever since.

When Carmel and I first started dating, I called dibs on proposing when the time came. Carmel agreed to this, but warned me that she would have her own scheme to propose to me in return.

About a year ago, Carmel and I each secretly purchased engagement rings for each other. Each of us knew that the other person had a ring, but neither of us knew what the other person’s ring looked like.

After a few months of thinking about how I would propose, I made a decision and contacted a few of our close family members and friends. A plan was hatched. The plan was for Carmel’s two best friends to come down to Shepparton for an alleged visit. I fibbed and told Carmel that I had to work on the day of their visit. In reality, the plan was for me to head down to Tallis Winery in Dookie with several close friends and family members.

Carmel’s two best friends kept her occupied in the morning while the rest of us gathered together at Tallis and waited. Meanwhile, in Shepparton, Carmel’s best friends suggested that they should go to Tallis Winery for a cheese tasting and some wine. When they showed up to the winery, Carmel saw a line of rainbow umbrellas, each held by a loved one. Upon approaching each person, she was given a special note (written by myself) and had to follow the line of loved ones until she reached the end of the line, where I was standing.

I was a blubbering mess for about a minute, but once I got myself under control, I managed to propose. Carmel said yes and lots of hugging/kissing ensued. What I didn’t know was that Carmel’s two best friends had managed to swipe the engagement ring that Carmel had been saving for me from her bedside drawer. They handed the ring to Carmel and she was able to propose right back to me. Nearly everyone got a surprise on that day!

The whole thing was captured by a friend on a video, which is now a very vivid memory we can treasure forever and hopefully show our children one day.

We have always discussed what we wanted on our wedding day, and our plan is to have an Autumn wedding with lots of multi-coloured leaves.

So far, we have been going on the recommendations of other married couples. We have a wonderful photographer lined up – Leah Ladson. Leah was recommended to us by a friend who had amazing things to say about her. Leah shot our engagement photos and we were blown away by her talent, kindness, and patience. So at least we have one fantastic key vendor locked down for the wedding!

We are still searching for some vendors, as we want to form comfortable relationships with all those involved with our special day before locking them in.

So far, we’ve been inspired by the beauty of the Autumn season. Autumn makes us think of cozy blankets, snuggles on the couch, and long conversations. It’s a really intimate time of year, and that’s always inspiring. We are also inspired by our cultural/religious backgrounds and are coming up with creative ways to incorporate them into the ceremony and reception.

Photography Leah Ladson