Lucia planned a perfect day hiking up Mount Snowdon with her partner Anna, creating the perfect backdrop for her mountain-top proposal.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do for work and fun?
We live in Nottingham with our little ginger rescue cat, PJ ( or Patsy Junior). We named her after the lady who feeds stray cats outside of our old apartment building, as an ode to her kindness.
Lou is a junior criminal barrister. Anna used to be a solicitor but recently decided it wasn’t making her happy. So, she went back to university to study her Masters in History and is hoping to start her History Ph.D. next year.
Many of our hobbies and favorite things revolve around food, which makes us laugh! We love cooking new things, trying different cuisines and eating out! Watching films, going for walks, and hosting friends are some of our other passions.
To be honest, we are really happy just being together. Our family and friends often laugh and call us hobbits, because we love living the simple life together. Anna thinks the hobbit reference is excellent as she is a major Tolkien/Lord of the Rings fan!
Anna is musical and sings in a choir, with Lou being sure to attend every performance. Lou is sporty and is often found training for the next half marathon. Similarly, Anna always waits for her at the finish line!
How long have you been together, and how did you meet?
We have been together for just under four years now, and met on the first day of law school at the University of Law in Birmingham. We were in the same tutor group and just so naturally drawn to each other on our first meeting. It was clear from early on, that our relationship was headed for so much more.
Tell us about the planning process for the proposal?
L: We discussed that we both wanted to get married and that this would occur in a certain time frame. However, the terms of when and where a proposal may be, was left entirely up to me. I kept saying that it would probably be in 2021, because I was saving for a ring. But, that was just to throw Anna off the scent that I was really going to propose in 2020.
I was desperate for Anna to be surprised! So, I told very few friends about what I was planning to minimise the risk of any slip-ups. It has been funny looking back at all the conversations we had about getting engaged. I knew about all the plans, and had the ring stowed away in the house, and Anna had absolutely no idea!
Tell us about keeping the proposal a secret.
I can’t say that anything was particularly stressful. But, keeping secrets and general proposal nerves were challenging at times. I arranged with our photographer Babs to meet on Snowdon’s summit to capture the proposal, but we didn’t make any concrete plans. Having no idea what Babs even looked like, we locked it in and set a general time. I knew that she would be with two dogs, and she knew to look out for two women! Nonetheless, fate played out and Babs and I managed to find each other on the summit. Another stroke of luck was that we found a secluded spot for the photographs, complete with a glorious sun show!
What lead you to choosing your proposal destination?
Mount Snowdon was special place for us and we had been there before. About two months into our relationship, we took a road trip to Snowdonia. Driving up there in Lou’s ancient Nissan Micra was so fun (I still can’t believe it didn’t break down on the way!). The car was laden with food and hiking gear, and we ended up staying in the National Trust cottage. We enjoyed having peace and tranquillity in those early stages of our relationship, devoting time just for each other. We were off the grid with no Internet or mobile signal. One day while we were there, we climbed Snowdon. Sitting on the summit that day, we knew it would always be a special place for us. So, it felt right to return for the proposal.
Tell us about the engagement ring.
L: I found the ring online by chance. It was from an independent jewelry shop – AC Silver, in Newcastle. I went to see it in person before I purchased it, driving to Newcastle and back on my day off work. The trip there and back was a mammoth seven-hours long!
The staff at the shop were so knowledgeable, helpful, and patient. Encouraging me to take as much time as I needed to look at the ring. This was the start of the proposal and engagement becoming real. I hadn’t told any family or friends what I was doing, and it was the first time I said the words out loud, ‘I want to propose to my girlfriend’. The staff were so excited and happy for me, which made the experience fantastic. The shop has so much beautiful jewelry, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone.
What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?
L: For me, getting engaged has brought us closer together. I was surprised that this feeling could grow even more. But, at some point, I did suddenly feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I remember thinking, ‘oh my goodness, I am going to have a WIFE, I am going to BE a WIFE. I need to be able to look after her and provide’. This was not a negative thing, just a sudden realization of new purpose and responsibility.
A: For me, our engagement meant everything. My relationship with Lou is the most important thing in my life. One of my friends told me that after she got engaged, she felt like her and her fiancée were more of a team. At the time, I didn’t think it was possible to feel like more of a team than we already were, but I do. I think it also just feels right. I’ve known for a long time that we are supposed to be together. We really are soul mates, so getting engaged to Lou feels so natural.
How is wedding planning going? What do you hope for your wedding to be like?
Unfortunately, our wedding planning has been slow due to the tight COVID-19 restrictions in the UK. We got engaged during lockdown, so we sadly haven’t been able to celebrate our engagement with anyone. We booked our venue– the Hidden Hive in the National Forest. Our lovely friend Chloe will design our wedding invitations. And, we have secured our celebrant and photographer.
Regarding what we hope our wedding will be like, we want everything about our wedding to mean something. We are not interested in how commercialised the wedding industry is nowadays. It is important for us that we get married outside as we don’t want to feel like any business or venue ‘owns’ our marriage. We will be having a humanist ceremony, which will include a hand-fastening ritual. It’s important that everyone feels comfortable, with space to relax and be happy. Our ideal wedding would be like the party they threw for Bilbo’s 111th birthday in the Shire (any Lord of the Rings fans will know what we’re talking about!).
How are you going with choosing your key vendors?
We want our vendors to share our values as we recognize that they will play a massive role in our big day and the lead-up to it. So, we want to find people who make us feel comfortable and empowered.
As mentioned, we haven’t chosen all of our vendors yet. But, our photographer will be the lovely Babs Boardwell, who photographed our proposal and took our engagement photos the day after. Babs believes in the art of capturing the moment, which is important to us. We clicked with her during our earlier photographs. So, it felt right that she be with us throughout the entire process, including our wedding day.
Our humanist celebrant will be the wonderful Karen Faulkner of Stand Out Ceremonies. She believes in focusing the ceremony around the couple’s love story. She is inclusive, engaging and very much about things being personal- which is up our street. When we met her, we knew two minutes into the conversation, that we wanted her to officiate our ceremony.
Where do you find inspiration for your wedding planning?
Spending time trawling through Pinterest and Etsy provided us with ample wedding inspiration. We also like spending time talking and coming up with new ideas that could be symbolic or meaningful (or even just fun!) for our day. We are both quite creative in different ways, so we enjoy the process.
I think we have taken the approach that we don’t want to be held back or that we have to adhere to any ‘traditional’ heteronormative wedding ideals. We want to start from scratch and do things in a way that works for us. Rather than worrying about what we should be doing and if we can make that work for us.
Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
A: I think so often, as gay women, we can feel like we aren’t represented anywhere. I’m sure many of us will agree that it can be exhausting to never ‘see’ ourselves anywhere and to constantly have to ‘adapt’ things to fit us as a same-sex couple. Particularly, in the wedding industry. It is frustrating how many websites only refer to the bride and groom or how many decorations only have ‘Mr & Mrs’ options.
For this reason, we are so grateful for organizations like Dancing With Her for giving us a place to feel like we belong. Where we can look at wedding ideas and inspiration without having to adapt things from a position of heteronormativity. Magazines like this reinforce that people are free to be whoever they want to be and love whoever they want to love.
L: Navigating the world as a gay woman can be full of trepidation and worry at times. It becomes easier when you find your person, and you do it together. I am grateful to DWH for taking away the feeling of ‘otherness’ and providing a platform for couples like us to celebrate our love.
Photography by Babs Boardwell