Justin and I met through mutual friends in 2000. We were firm friends by the summer of 2001 and became a couple that autumn. I still remember the day I realised how much I was besotted and absolutely head-over-heels in love with him. I was actually shaking and flushed at the realisation. Neither of us could believe how much we both felt for one another.
By Christmas 2002, I knew that I wanted to marry Justin. Every time I looked at him, I had butterflies in my stomach. I had originally planned to propose on 29 February, 2004 but Justin had mentioned that we might take a Sandals holiday that summer, so my plan had to be moved forward – I thought it would be a great idea to propose while we were on holiday.
About 20 years ago, Justin’s mum commissioned a pair of gold cufflinks for him, with his initials and family crest (he is of Scottish descent) from Longmire in London. I’d always wanted to propose with a set of four gold formal shirt studs/buttons with his family crest – something he could wear for the wedding !
On 4 July 2003, I took the day off and told Justin that I was taking a good friend into London to help her find an anniversary gift for her husband. I secretly took his cufflinks with me and made it to my appointment with the manager at Longmire. When I arrived, the manager had a look at the cufflinks. I confirmed the crest he had on file to work from and the grade of gold he was to use (matching the cufflinks), took a look at plain studs for the size and placed my order. They would be ready in four weeks. I was so nervous!
Three weeks later they were ready and I had them delivered to my office so that Justin wouldn’t suspect anything. I was literally hopping on the spot for them. I tore open the packaging to reveal a nice, dark green leather box. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to see.
I opened the box and, under the bright lights of the office, the four hand-etched gold studs glinted back at me – they were perfect. Each stud had the crest perfectly carved into them. Every little detail – the arm in armour, the nails on the hand that clutched the scimitar – was perfect.
Now I was really nervous. I was stunned into silence by the studs and I began to wonder if I was doing the right thing – what if Justin said no?
I called my parents in Malaysia, who were already aware of my plans, to let them know the studs had arrived. The really difficult part of the plan was about to begin. I did not plan to propose until our supposed Sandals holiday in September – two more months to wait.
I clutched the studs the whole day at the office, and the day went by in a blur. When I went home that evening, I very nearly proposed just before bed time, when I got all softy-eyed watching him get ready for bed, but I managed to resist the urge.
The next day, I was supposed to take the studs round to our friends’ house, so that I would not blow my plan to propose while we were on holiday. But I decided to take the studs home again, so I could take pictures of them to email to my parents.
When I walked through the door, Justin was in the kitchen playing with our puppy, Pinot. He looked so sexy and gorgeous and loving with Pinot that my resolve absolutely crumbled. I asked Justin to sit down on the kitchen floor – Pinot jumped into his lap, wanting a bit of the action. I held the box of studs behind me, and told Justin that what I was about to say was serious and really was from the bottom of my heart. I was already teary by this point – which didn’t help – but somehow, through my extreme nervousness, I blurted out how much I truly loved him and wanted to be with him and how I felt he was the most wonderful man in the world. By this point, Justin’s eyes were starting to go a bit red too.I took the box out, gave them to him and said: "Will you marry me?"
He opened the box and was overawed by the studs. I was sweating and sobbing like a real wreck. Thirty seconds later – though it felt like hours – Justin said: "We are good together, so I think we should." I squealed and asked: "Are you sure? What do you mean, ‘think’? Is that a yes?" in one hurried breath. He replied: "’Well, can I keep the gold if I say no?" and I said: "No!" with pleading eyes. Then he finally said: "Yes, we should get engaged," and we cracked open the wine!
The next day, Justin called my dad and asked for my hand. My dad was so happy he demanded to speak to me straightaway to ask me about dates (luckily Justin and I had daydreamed these together a few months before). Justin’s mum was also ecstatic at the news.
We went to buy a ring on Friday. Justin chose the most beautiful diamond I had ever seen but the ring it was in was just too big. Justin didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. As the ring the stone was already set in was too big to be sized down, another ring setting was sent over from the shop’s head office, to be security guard-delivered on Saturday.
For the first time ever on a Saturday, we had five different people ring our doorbell! The postie, a wrong delivery, someone needing directions, a leafleter, the gas man – I had given up by then! Justin kept teasing that we weren’t waiting for anything special, which didn’t help. Finally, the security guard arrived with my ring.
I opened the packaging, then the box containing the box containing the ring, and there it was – like a scene out of a movie, it was breathtaking. Justin slipped it on my finger while my heart pounded at a 100 miles an hour.
Since then, we’ve been on our Sandals holiday in Jamaica and we will be having our sunset beach wedding there on 20 September next year. Justin’s mum, my parents and about 30 of our friends and family will be attending. As I am originally from Malaysia, my father will also host a traditional reception there.
Planning an engagement and wedding has been stressful, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world!