Before being engaged there were just 5 things I had requested from my, then, boyfriend:
- He had to ask my parents for their blessing.
- My nails needed to be done.
- I needed to look good – nicely dressed, hair and make up done. However he was going to achieve this was up to his creative integrity.
- A hidden photographer to capture the moment.
- And the most important thing was effort! A simple but personal plan of action that he had orchestrated.
As you would have guessed, my now fiancé not only met all my requests, he blew them straight out of the park! It’s only been a few months of newly engaged bliss, and as I take a short trip back to 17 December 2017, I am filled with the same excitement, love and joy. So, here’s the scoop. Here’s the start of a new chapter in our love story that is only just beginning.
Christmas was fast approaching and my sister had just arrived back from a lovely long stay overseas. I had already thrown away the idea that Wade and I (oh yes, my fiancé’s name is Wade. Yes, Wade and Waydene. What are the odds), would be getting engaged that year. Our calendar just seemed too busy and even though we had spoken about it happening in the near future, I figured that I should just let go of the idea for now and leave it for next year.
Casually, that week my sister suggested that we go get our nails done at our favourite spot as a treat to ourselves and just in time for the holidays. As this is something we do often, I obliged without any hesitation. At the same time, I was messaging two of my closest besties about a photoshoot on the weekend that they needed help with. They had a legitimate story: they were signing up with an agency and needed some photos for their portfolio. I was excited to get involved as I love taking photos but also being able to use my knowledge in the industry to help my friends. It was a no brainer!
As the weekend drew closer, my friends kept insisting that I join them in the shoot because the agency had asked to see their personality through the photos by posing with a group of friends. Although hesitant, I agreed and we continued to plan our outfits, venue and the rest. While getting my nails done with my sister, I jokingly chose a colour I had previously googled to be the perfect colour to wear whenever the proposal would happen. I even remember saying that I could test it out to see if it would be the right one for when the moment actually happens. My sister knowingly edged me on for this simple but classic soft cream colour and we carried on like any normal day at the nail salon that we had done a hundred times before.
That same day, while having a family gathering at my house, I had yelled at Wade for being late and gave him a pretty hard time about it. I didn’t even find it weird when my mom calmed me down and told me to cut him some slack. The next day, the day of the photoshoot with my friends, I messaged them to say I had decided and I didn’t want to be part of the photos, I just wanted to be photographer and focus on that job. I’m sure on the other end my friends must have hit panic mode, but on the phone they had an answer to all my excuses, including the logistics of who would take the photos of the three of us which was solved by including one of my friend’s boyfriends as assistant photographer. Even my family, while complaining about how my friends were forcing me to be in the photoshoot, I distinctly remember my mother and sister looking at me and saying “Get it together Waydene, and just put on a nice dress and some make up!” And so I did. In fact not only did I put on some make up, I did a full face beat and pulled out my favourite floral dress. I figured if I was going to be in these pictures I might as well look the best I can. While getting ready my brother and father were keeping a close eye on my whereabouts, and before accidentally spilling the beans on the phone to my mother, my father covered it by making up a story about going to get my brother a brand new bicycle. To this day he’s still upset the whole thing was a lie.
Skip forward to arriving at the Emmarentia Dam Botanical Gardens, and walking towards to Rose Gardens (one of my favourite places in the park), where we came around a closed off secret garden surrounded by hedges. Just as we turned the corner towards the opening I froze dead in my tracks. Like the super glue had just cured under my feet and my heart started racing a million times a second. My eyes followed the pink-petalled path and there, standing underneath a decorated archway of flowers, hearts, and leaves (that he had decorated all by himself), was Wade. Clean cut and shaved, smartly dressed and looking as dashing and handsome as ever, like it was the first time falling in love with him all those 7 years ago when we first started dating. I was confused but the puzzle pieces started to fit together as tears rolled down my blushing cheeks. After several nudges and pushes from my friends behind me, my trembling feet moved one foot in front of the other making their way towards the love of my life. The guy who makes me laugh until my stomach hurts, who lovingly lets me embarrass us by sporadically dancing in public places, who listens while I ramble on for hours and hours, and who knows exactly what buttons to push to get on my last nerve, but then make everything better again.
I completely blanked out and didn’t hear a single word he said. I was clouded by the excitement of the moment. I could only hear the faint clicking of a camera and in a single second I realised I had my phone in my hand. My phone with a bright pink cover that I was not about to have in the photos. So I did what any person who trusted their expensive military grade Speck cover would do: I threw it! Just a small distance away, enough not to ruin my proposal photos I knew would haunt me forever if I didn’t. Slowly coming back to reality, I heard the words “spend the rest of my life…” and I dived straight for the ring, picked it up and then said YES! Bursting with emotion and appreciating the random group of onlookers who cheered, and of course being able to share that very special and intimate moment with my two closest friends.
Coming back home, after a magical photoshoot in the gardens, my family (of course all in on it), had been frantically organising a beautiful get-together where we clinked our glasses of bubbly and celebrated with an intimate group of loved ones. In the end it wasn’t about the fact that he ticked off everything I could ever ask for and more, but that he had intrinsically woven each moment, each small detail, with the help of my friends and family, to create the most incredible and magical moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Photography by Stuart Hendricks, see his website here.