The story of our engagement

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Despite gallivanting across the globe, sometimes we do ‘grown-up stuff’ like getting ENGAGED! Through all the beautiful places, bouts of food poisoning, shitty bus journeys, to setting up home in 3 different countries we’ve done it all as a team. True, in our 5 years we’ve probably done more than most couples do in a lifetime and there’s nobody I want by my side challenging me through the rest of our adventures. ‘Til the end, we got this babe.

Announcing our engagement

The quote above was my Facebook post announcing our engagement last weekend.  And here’s our story: together me and Paul have backpacked through South East Asia, Europe and Central America and lived in Australia, Canada and currently New Zealand. We’ve been through shit times, a couple of food-poisoning episodes, too many crappy bus journeys, a few horrible hotel rooms, several arguments BUT we’re a team, no matter what. Despite being loud & bubbly I’m a very private person and Paul is the only person  who knows pretty much everything about me. And I am very excited to become his wife, aggghhh!

And because my number one question when someone gets engaged is “where did it happen?”, I thought it was only fair for me to share the story of our engagement.

ake ake, kerikeri, new zealand
The scene of the engagement
sunset, opito bay, new zealand
Sunset in Opito Bay

Where did it happen?

Here, in the Bay of Islands where we currently live we have a favourite hidden beach that we go to as much as we can. It’s a 15 minute walk through a rainforest filled with birdsong and eucalyptus trees. It’s always deserted, we’ve spent many a Summer day here swimming and reading. Last Saturday I suggested we go to “our beach” as we call it for a sunset picnic and Paul’s immediate answer was “Yes”. I thought to myself hmm this is strange he usually has some excuse for my spontaneous activity-planning. But shook off my suspicions,  happy that I was getting my own way.

So, off we went with a cool bag packed with beers, cheeses, crackers and cold meats. After, we had eaten Paul asked me to stand up because he had something to ask me and proceeded to take a medium-sized box from the pocket of our cool bag (note – it did not look like a ring box so I was still none the wiser). Then, he got down on one knee, asked me the all important question to which I said “YES” and continued to put the ring on the wrong finger!

Turns out he had it planned for months, even asking my Dad’s permission when we were back in Ireland last Summer and he and my mom choose the ring together sending photos over messenger. The sweetest.

ake ake, kerikeri, new zealand
The scene of our engagement at Ake Ake Point
tutukaka, hippie dress, sunset
Twirling in my hippie dress in Tutukaka

What about the ring?

I’ve always said I wanted a unique ring, something nobody else had while at the same time not being too “weird” does that make sense. I was dead set against a diamond and only wear gold. A couple months ago, Paul showed me a google image of a Tanzanite engagement ring (I should have guessed then, being honest) and that was it I was hooked. I wouldn’t accept anything else.

He designed the ring himself through Glamira, and it is to put simply a true reflection of me. He couldn’t have picked a more perfect ring.

proposal, engagement, tanzanite ring
Just after he proposed
tanzanite ring, engagement, gold
THE RING – 18 carat gold & tanzanite stone

How did we meet?

In short, at a hostel in Balmain, Sydney in 2013. I was living and working in Sydney and my friends who were visiting were staying at Balmain Hostel, I went to join them for Australia Day drinks at the hostel. Paul was also staying there and we started chatting at the bus stop before we headed into the fireworks at Darling Harbour. The opening conversation was about our birthdays being on the same bloody day. The rest as the say is history.

whale bay, tutukaka, whangarei
At Whale Bay, Tutukaka (the day after he proposed)
tutukaka, engagement, tanzanite ring
Posing up a storm at Whale Bay, Tutukaka

And, the Wedding?

Ever since, I dont know how long, the background of my laptop has been of the colourful seaside town of Cinque Terre, Italy. When me and Paul  visited here in 2015, I fell in love with the place even more. So, in September 2019 we plan to get married here in one of our favourite places in the entire world.

Manarol, cinque terre, italy
Manarola, Cinque Terre (*courtesy of Getty Images)

Tell me the story of your engagement, as you know I love hearing them.

P.S you can read more about our top tips for New Zealand here and here

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22 Replies to “The story of our engagement”

  1. How romantic to get engaged on a secret beach, hidden behind a rain forest! Your story brought me back 42 years ago, to my own engagement. Yea, it’s been that long… Congratulations on your engagement! New Zealand seems like a great place to start a life together.

  2. Cinque Terra seems such a beautiful place. Great for you to have arrange for that place to be your wedding location. Greece is just around the corner…

  3. First of all hearty congratulations on your engagement. A secret beach, the surprise element, the boy down on his knees asking the question as the songs of birds serenade. If this is not a romantic setting for asking the question, nothing else can be. Great to see the meticulous planning done by Paul without letting the cat out of the bag. Look forward to your wedding update, I am sure it will be even more romantic, after all it is going to be in Cinque Terre.

  4. Massive congratulations guys!! Tanzanite in an engagement ring looks so stunning! Definitely different! Bay of Islands could not be a more romantic setting to get engaged, and it’s so amazing that you could share such a wonderful moment at your beach. So romantic that he even asked your dads permission. CONGRATS! So happy for you both 🙂

  5. Gongrats on your engagement many happy wished for the wedding and the rest of your lives together. We got engaged on the steps of Sacre Cour Cathedral in Paris

  6. Awww congratulations. I love reading globe-trotters engagement stories and this is a great one. My husband proposed on the beach in Thailand and when I excitedly Skyped my mum to tell her she was like I know, Justin asked us. For 2 seconds I was gutted everyone knew before me and then I realised that’s how these things work haha. Your ring is gorgeous by the way, that blue stone is divine. And your choice of wedding destination is perfect. We had a destination wedding in Thailand so hit me up if you need any planning tips 😀 Congrats again, exciting times x

  7. Love your proposal story girlie!!!! Sounds so beautiful and perfect! My husband had a perfect proposal planned out where we would go horseback riding down at my families ranch and he’d propose under a tree when we stopped for a break. But my horse ended up dumping him and he hit the ground so hard I made him go back home! So our actual proposal happened in my parents living room while we were sitting in our PJ’s! He showed me a photo of the ring on his phone, played me a song on his guitar, pulled the ring out, and then asked me! Now here we are almost 8 years later!

    PS I would LOVE to connect with you! Italy is one of my dream destinations to photograph a wedding and to visit! 😍❤️

  8. Gah, I’m such a romantic at heart because I love love love posts like this! What a special setting and BEAUTIFUL ring. Congratulations and I wish you both many more happy adventures together. 🙂

  9. What a lovely engagement story! It sounds like a genuinely special day. I love tanzanite, by the way– much prefer it to diamonds. Congrats!

  10. Beautiful story. I love how it was your idea to go have a picnic but he had been planning it all for months, so sneaky! I have also picked a gold + tanzanite ring so here’ s hoping he is as intuitive as your gorgeous guy 😛 Congratulations!

  11. Beautiful engagement story! As for your wedding, my husband is from Cinque Terre, Monterosso to be exact. I blog about it often if you need any wedding inspiration 🙂

    As for me, I met my husband on the street in NYC and we got engaged in Santorini, married in Monterosso and we live in Paris. True love story 💙

  12. Congratulations! It’s one of the best things in life to have someone to travel by your side and share the experiences. Wish you all the best!!

  13. Ah Congrats you guys!! New Zealand is the perfect place to get engaged! I should know, we got engaged on Wharariki Beach in the South Island this December!!

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