Jason asked me to be his wife on the 14 February 2004. Here’s how it all happened:
We first met at work in late 1999 but were both in relationships with other people. These both came to their natural end by 2001 when we decided to ‘get together’. We moved in together in September 2001.
Friday 13 Feb 2004
I’d taken a day’s holiday on 13 February 2004 at Jason’s request. I had no idea what was happening even though he had dropped several hints about going camping – even going to the extreme of borrowing my dad’s tent! A couple of days beforehand he had asked me to pack a case with the ‘best clothes you own, and a gorgeous dress for the evening,’ which led me to believe that things weren’t as they first appeared! Once the bags were packed he asked me to drive. Ok, I thought, this is unusual.
We set off on a bit of a random drive down from our home in Datchet down the M4, coming off at the Slough junction. On we drove, turning left here then right there, up to a diversion by a country hotel (this is nice I thought, are we turning in here?), no! Past it we went, onwards and into a side entrance for Cliveden House! We pulled into the drive and I stopped the car but Jason told me to continue up the driveway. I burst into tears (of disbelief) and said ‘Oh my God, what have you done?’ What a surprise!
We were ushered into the fabulous stately home where Jason announced his name and we were shown into the Great Hall. A footman then led us through a warren of corridors, past antique furniture and gorgeous paintings, and up a flight of stairs to the Langhorne Suite. The room was the biggest I have ever stayed in with a massive bed, a huge sofa and chair, an open fire (which was lit) and the biggest bathroom ever! Classical music was being gently piped through the room from a sound system hidden away in an antique cabinet. This was heaven! A moment later three more footmen arrived with our luggage.
We opened one of the bottles of champagne Jason had thoughtfully packed, sat on the sofa and smiled at each other for an age. I asked Jason, ‘why here?’ and he said it was to say thank you for standing by him through everything…I was totally dumbfounded.
That evening, after an incredible meal we headed back to our room where we sat and listened to classical music in front of our fire. It was perfect.
Saturday 14 Feb
We had breakfast in our room, exchanged Valentine’s cards, got showered and dressed and Jason led me off to the spa where he had arranged for me to have a manicure followed by a massage later that morning!
Jason and I took a walk around the beautiful grounds, came back and finished the champagne while lounging in a huge bubble bath! We got dressed up for dinner and were escorted to a table for two in the centre of the dining room where we had a wonderful meal. Some seven courses later we were quite full and the waitress asked if we would like to take our coffee in the Great Hall to which I replied ‘fantastic idea’. Jason, on the other hand, looked a little perplexed.
We were escorted to a huge sofa and two gilded chairs in the Great Hall whilst we waited for our coffee to arrive. Jason sat on one of the chairs and I sat on the sofa so I asked him why he didn’t want to sit next to me and he just smiled in a funny way. I looked up and noticed our waitress coming over with two glasses of champagne on a tray and I thought ‘Oh that’s lovely, he’s ordered it as a surprise’. As she got closer I realised there was something else on the tray, a large ring-box! I burst into tears and shook my head. The waitress put the glasses onto the table in front of me and then presented me with the box, saying ‘For you madam’. I was shaking, I took the box and half opened it to see this fabulous diamond ring looking up at me. Jason quickly took the box from me and leaned over, by this point I was aware that everyone had come into the Great Hall stopped what they were doing to watch us. Jason leant over to me and said ‘Maria, you know I said I was going to treat you like a princess this weekend? Well, there’s one more thing I have to do to make it complete, will you be my wife?’. I burst into tears and squeaked ‘Yes I will’ and as we kissed and hugged everyone cheered and clapped. I was absolutely gobsmacked. Jason gave me the ring and I put it on, we toasted each other ‘Love and Happiness’ with the champagne and linked arms to drink. Our coffee then arrived with petit fours and a gorgeous indoor red rose plant for me to keep. Jason then disappeared over to the pianist, came back with a large smile on his face.
As he sat down, the pianist began to play his request, our song, ‘Fly Me to the Moon’. We talked until late then retired to bed. I was continually giggling about the absurdity of the whole weekend and how I didn’t realise what was happening.