Let me start by saying when it comes to romance, I’m no Cassanova. Probably more of the hopeless, as in ‘hopeless romantic’.
So when it came to that momentous day in a man’s life when he has to ask the women of his dreams to spend the rest of her life with him, like most before me, I started to feel the pressure. How could I make it a big magical surprise, a story she will one day tell the grandchildren? More importantly, how could I bribe her to say YES…and earn bragging rights over my mate’s ‘proposal’ stories?
Here’s the short version of how I did it, and the reason why I have to live up to the standard I’ve set and give her an amazing Valentine’s Day gift this year.
To make sure of the surprise factor I spoke with her boss and booked a couple of days off, all secret like. Sophie got a pleasant shock when we left for work that day as normal, suited and booted, and on the way I let her in on the deal.
I used our four-year anniversary as the cover story for why we were going away and why I was being so extra, extra nice. I shouldn’t need a reason, and the fact I forgot last year’s anniversary worked in my favour. Either way, she bought it.
I’d booked us in for the romantic overnight stay on our own private yacht. I managed to keep the surprise (despite her constant begging) the whole trip until we arrived in Hardy’s Bay and our luxury 38ft yacht pulled up. Our Skipper for the day was Kent, a really laid-back surfer dude with great stories and local knowledge. With a firm breeze at our back we spent three chilled out hours sailing around Pittwater and the Hawksbury, bumping in to a few local dolphins along the way and topped it off with a big rock jump and swim at the secluded Iron Ladder beach.
Once we moored up in Hardy’s Bay, Kent’s wife, Anna, appears at the dock with a succulent seafood platter, smorgasbord of desserts, bottle of champagne and enough fresh produce for breakfast to feed a Sydney to Hobart crew. I’d also organised ahead for Sophie’s favourite flowers and chocolates (thanks, Anna). At this stage, I still hadn’t told Sophie we were staying the night! So after a quick tutorial on how to run the yacht, Jim left us to our own devices for the evening.
After gorging ourselves on the fresh Balmain bugs, crab and prawns we washed it down with some bubbly and settled in for the night to witness a majestical sunset over the bay. With twilight sparkling off the water, the quiet swaying of our neighbouring yachts and the smooth sounds of Mumford & Sons playing in the background, the time had come for me to step up…or kneel down as it were.
To the future
I don’t know whether it was the diamond, champagne or the truly amazing experience we shared on ‘our yacht’, but Sophie said YES. A year on from that night we are now happily married and whenever I can I always make sure we spend time together doing experiences that we both enjoy. During our honeymoon we treated ourselves to a sunrise hot air balloon ride and an unforgettable Aboriginal cultural dining experience in the rainforest.
To this day I am still dining out on my proposal and I’m starting to wonder if I’ve set my romance benchmark too high for myself. Will have to wait and see what Sophie gets this Valentine’s Day!