Wedding - Our Engagement Story
Starting at the beginning means taking you back to 2002... I'll give you a potted history because almost 15 years worth of our relationship would be way too much information all at once!
Simon and I first met when we were at school. I was the 'new girl' in Year 10 - my family and I had recently moved back to the UK from Zimbabwe - and after being at an All-Girls Catholic School; having boys in my class was a novelty.
Getting to know Si was through a series of stolen glances in between classes and secretive discussions outside my locker. Our covert romance continued to blossom over a few months before it culminated in our first kiss, in the middle of the hockey pitch goals on December 13th 2002. This is the day we sort of decided we were 'officially' boyfriend and girlfriend.
I remember telling some of my closest girlfriends but we couldn't go 'public' as we didn't want to upset a close mutual friend, who at the time had a crush on me. Once out in the open, our relationship has continued to go from strength to strength and we are closer than ever.
Bringing you back to more recent times; Sunday May 7th 2017 - Simon had organised to take us on a surprise City break to Rome. It was our second day in the Eternal City and we'd decided we were going to spend the day exploring the Roman Forum, the Colosseum and Palatine Hill. (see more in City Break to Rome - Part 1 and Part 2).
As we meandered through all the ruins in the Roman Forum, we gradually made our way towards the Colosseum end and as it came in to view - it was quite breathtaking! Being a stickler for the rules, I was walking along the path and Si was on the grass - I'd quickly pointed out that this wasn't allowed despite a number of others doing the same. I had the camera at the time and was busy snapping away when Si beckoned me over to him.
I watched him become nervous as he took my hands and turned me to face him. There weren't many people around this part of the Roman Forum, so it felt like we were on our own despite being in front of one of the most iconic of Rome's landmarks. With a big smile and some kind words, he told me that he wanted to 'do this properly' and got down on one knee and popped the question with the prettiest ring I could've ever hoped for!
I'll be honest, I was in utter shock - dazed by my ring, the setting and the fact that it had just actually happened - so shocked that he had to prompt a yes from me. Up until this point, all I had mustered was OMG over and over again! With tears in both our eyes, I said yes and hugged him as tightly as I could. It was only 10:15am but it was turning out to be an epic day already!
After saying thank you, numerous hugs and kisses, admiring my ring from various angles and taking a million pictures as though someone might come and take the ring away from me; we finally gave in to grumbling stomachs and made our way to lunch.
Over pizza and some wine, we started letting our parents and siblings know our good news.
Unfortunately, this all had to be done via text/whats app as we couldn't actually ring anyone. I had no mobile; I'd handed it back when I finished with my company on the Friday and Si's roaming wasn't working for some reason. It was a bit sad not being able to actually speak to the rest of our families or friends but it did also make it that little bit more special - like being back at school with only the select few in the know.
After lunch, Si then let me know that we would need to cut our afternoon short as we'd need to head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I was confused as to where we could be going, neither of us really knew any restaurants here. Then he told me that in the past I'd mentioned that the Dorchester Collection has a hotel in Rome and so he'd booked us in to the Hotel Eden's, Il Giardino Ristorante & Bar. I didn't really know what to expect but I knew this would be a fab spot for food and was delighted to be going - thankfully I'd packed a nice dress just in case something like this happened.
After lunch, we continued our sight-seeing with a visit to the Colosseum. Then we headed back to our hotel and got ready.
We arrived at Hotel Eden and were greeted with a welcoming smile from the doormen, who guided us in to the cool, marble and gold gilded lobby. We were then directed to the lifts and up to the 7th floor. As the doors opened, two lovely hostesses greeted us, confirmed the booking and guided us to our table.
Si couldn't have picked a better place for us to dine in Rome - Il Giardino Ristorante & Bar is wonderful! Our table was right in front of the floor to ceiling windows that offer spectacular views across the city. The windows open up to bring the outdoors in without having to sit on the terrace if you didn't want to.
Their menu offers a fab selection of food to choose from and the cocktail menu is extensive! We whiled away our evening, tended to by excellent service and took in the stunning sunset that was unfurling before our eyes.
Watching our wonderful day turn to night was truly memorable - every minute that slid by; the sky was lit up with an array of yellow, orange, pink and purple hues. When the last of the sunshine was replaced by the evening sky, Rome began to light up with the sparkle of what seemed like a thousand fairy lights.
Having had our fill here we headed back to our hotel. That night two very happy fiancés fell asleep in Rome with smiles still etched in to our faces.
And so amongst all the history in Rome, Si and I added to our story, well a chapter of it anyway.
I’ll be hoping for some wedding advice very soon…