On an afternoon walk, with a photographer hiding in their shadow, Hayley got down on one knee by the beach and asked Maddy to marry her.
Who are Hayley & Maddy?
H: We are first and foremost two curly-haired girls who live on the beach, which we love almost as much as we love each other. Maddy is a Project Engineer, and I work in media. We both work long days at our jobs and have a lot of pride and pleasure in what we do for work– one of my favorite things about Maddy is that she always supports me to work late if I have to. She understands my drive for it because she has it too.
How did the love story begin?
M: We have been together for almost two years.
Hayley’s Tinder bio read, “Not looking for anything serious, just marriage and kids.” This hooked me in straight away. My first message to Hayley was, “Marriage and kids sound great, let’s book in a date?”. It really was a match made in heaven. We met a week after we started talking and went for a drink at a local bar in Kirra. It was instant. I loved her as soon as I saw her. Hayley can’t even remember what we spoke about on our first date. All she remembers is how she felt. So instead of walking Hayley straight to her car, I took her around the headland to the Kirra surf hut to kiss her. There was more passion in that first kiss than in any moment of my life before.
Two days after meeting for the first time in person, we went to Splendour in the Grass. Which I’d bought the ticket to just days after Hayley said she was going (before we’d even met in person), just with blind faith that the first date would go well and that a festival would be a pretty fantastic second. Needless to say, the festival was incredible. Hayley’s best friend did well putting up with the non-stop making-out for three days.
We fell hard and fast, and by the end of the festival, Hayley had told me she loved me, and the rest is history. We love being with each other and never get sick of each other’s company. Since we first matched in almost two years, we’ve only spent about ten nights apart in total.
Tell us about the planning process for the proposal.
H: By about three months in, I knew I would marry Maddy. Maybe even earlier, but that was when I decided to propose. By November 2019 (we met in July 2019), I’d found the perfect ring and was saving hard.
I’d initially planned to propose on a small island in Greece where Maddy’s family is from. The Zantiotis family had planned a trip which we were going on in August 2020, and Maddy often told me it’s her favorite place in the world (maybe second to Kirra), so it seemed perfect.
Enter: Covid-19 global pandemic.
With our trip to Greece canceled and no overseas travel in the foreseeable future, I wasn’t going to wait. You could say I’m an impatient person, or you could say the pandemic put everything into perspective. Still, I would say I don’t believe in holding back on anything that brings you joy or happiness, so I decided I would propose on our next holiday.
I was determined to have a week to soak in our engagement without telling anyone, so I chose our October 2020 holidays when we were going to Noosa. The plan was to propose the day before we left for Noosa in our spot, the little pavilion where Maddy first kissed me. The date worked out perfectly too, 10.10.2020, and my favorite number is ten.
The only part of the proposal that needed planning was the photographer, which I had always known I wanted. Some moments have such big build-ups that you don’t realize how fast they’ll go until they’re over. When you think about it, a proposal is only about thirty seconds, even including the speech, and I wanted to be able to relive it and see our expressions in those moments forever. So it was honestly the best decision I made. I’ve told everyone that asks, even if you can’t afford the big trip to propose overseas or hire a string quartet or whatever, get the photographer, make it happen because capturing those moments is worth every cent.
Maddy and I had been lucky enough to shoot with Daphne Sky Studios for our 1st anniversary three months earlier, so there was no question about who I was going to ask to shoot for us. Her work is incomparable, and the edits are so aesthetic yet still so candid, full of color and life.
Tell us about the proposal! We want all the juicy details!
M: It really was a perfect Kirra afternoon. We were on our way to drinks in Coolangatta, walking our favorite path around the headland. When we walk past the Kirra pavilion, we always go in and kiss, so when Hayley pulled me in there, I thought nothing of it, just our usual kissing spot.
But, I could feel Hayley’s heart beating a million miles an hour which I thought was odd, and Hayley started being a little bit extra romantic. So, I stood there, a little confused at what was happening, and then I started to hear this camera clicking in the background, and it all started to make sense. I figured it out. And before I could say anything, Hayley was on one knee. It was absolutely perfect.
The craziest thing about Hayley’s proposal was that I too had planned to propose on this holiday. I waited an extra two days, and on 12/10/2020, I got down on one knee and asked Hayley to be my wife on my favorite beach in Noosa, Little Cove.
In retrospect, we were both probably so focused on our proposals that we didn’t see the other’s coming – we were both completely surprised.
What does your engagement mean to you both? Has anything changed?
Being engaged hasn’t changed much in terms of how we are together. We have been this crazy in love since day dot. It also hasn’t changed our commitment to each other. We have always been this intensely dedicated too. Engagement to us is just the physical resemblance of our love in a couple of rings adorned on two particular fingers. Every time I look at my ring and think about how she made it just for me, I overflow with love for her, and I feel safe, secure and no matter what, I have her and she has me.
Photography by Daphne Sky Studios