Matt and I had been together for five years when he finally proposed. I knew it was coming; he’d been asking all my friends what sort of ring they thought I would like and whether he should go ahead and get it for the proposal or if we should choose it together. He had even told me he had been all set to ask me a few months before until I ruined the surprise by making plans to go out with friends! So even though I knew he was going to ask me I was still completely surprised when he did.
We had visited some old school friends on the second May Bank Holiday weekend in 2003 and we’d had a really great time in Stratford Upon Avon on Saturday – the weather was really nice that weekend and on Sunday I suggested that if it was still fine on the Bank Holiday Monday we should go to Hampton Court Palace as in a conversation about places we wanted to visit Matt had said he’d always wanted to have a go at the maze.
On Sunday night we ended up going out and I ended up having one or two too many. Consequently I woke up on Monday morning dreadfully hung over – however, it was a beautiful day and I didn’t want to let Matt down – going on day trips once the football season is over is one of our traditions – so we went ahead with our plans to go to Hampton Court.
It was a gorgeous day. We started off looking around the State Apartments and then headed outside to find the maze, where we got hopelessly lost. We were walking around and around and around in circles – several times we walked straight past the entrance and the heat and my hangover meant I was really tempted to give up but I didn’t say anything as I knew Matt wanted to complete it. After what seemed like an eternity we finally found the middle where Matt uttered the now-famous words: "I suppose you’re going to want to marry me now then, aren’t you?" To which I, absolutely flabbergasted, replied: "Is that you asking me to then?" And he said: "Yes!"
The rest of the day was spent wandering around the grounds holding hands with stupid grins on our faces. We bought a limited edition print of the gardens to commemorate the occasion (which now hangs on the wall of our new home) and ate ice cream by the Thames. Then it was home to make endless phone calls to our friends and family. Nobody was surprised at all as Matt had been talking about proposing to pretty much everyone we know!
I love the fact that the deed was done in a place that’ll always be there. We’ll be able to revisit it on anniversaries if we want to and I’d like to take our children there one day. I love the reaction I get when people hear we got engaged at the middle of the maze at Hampton Court – I think it was a really romantic thing to do and it was certainly a day to remember.
We went shopping together to buy the ring and in the end we chose a half carat platinum diamond solitaire from a jewellers in Hatton Garden. We get married on September 3 2004 – just over 14 months from proposal to marriage – and I can’t wait. I’m so lucky to have found a good one.