Wes and Justina
I started thinking about my engagement to Justina quite early as I knew it would take a long time to orchestrate as there were going to be so many different elements that needed to come together.
Firstly, I had to ask her parents for permission which was always going to be a challenge given the “Find My Friends” app on our iPhones – which means we can track each other’s location! I turned the tracking device off (which did result in a few questions from Justina!) and with a bottle of 1985 Bordeaux wine in hand, I went around to her parents’ place. 1985 obviously had special significance to me given it is the year of Justina’s birth and I know that Justina’s Dad loves Bordeaux wine – so at the very least, we were going to have nice time drinking it should his response be a “NO”! But it wasn’t!
We had always been planning a skiing holiday to the US in December 2013. New York also happens to be Justina’s favourite city in the world; it was a city that we had never visited together. So my idea was to theme the engagement as ‘New York’. This was the theme that we later carried through to our ‘New York Chic’ wedding.
The first part of this theme was to choose a ring. Harry Winston is quintessential New York and quintessential Justina – a classy and elegant woman! Given there is no Harry Winston store in Australia, I had to enlist Justina’s aunties to assist with the purchase from Singapore. Through various phone calls, picture messages and emails, I had decided on the Harry Winston ‘Belle’ ring which would fit Justina’s hand perfectly. One of Justina’s aunties was holidaying in Australia in December 2013 so she brought the ring with her and gave it to Justina’s Dad. Rather unceremoniously, I saw the ring for the first time in the male bathroom of a restaurant where we had met for a family dinner! It was stunning.
The months of November and December were spent meticulously planning the engagement in New York, arriving at work early and making a lot of phone calls. One thing Justina loves is trying all sorts of different foods, wines and champagnes and New York is the absolute best place in the world for trying these things.
Over the years of knowing Justina I have become close with two very important friends of hers who at the moment do not have the ability to marry the ones they love in Australia. They have also since become two of my closest friends. Given the marriage laws in Australia, I would not have been comfortable proposing without the consent of our two friends. As such, prior to leaving for the US, I sought their permission also (which was actually harder than seeking her father’s permission!). Luckily they both agreed!
On the day of the engagement, I had planned for a horse and carriage to take Justina and me around Central Park as her ‘Christmas present’. It was a very cold day in New York City that day, so of course Justina was complaining most of the way around the park.
We stopped at Cherry Hill (which was pre-planned through my various discussions with the Central Park management). About 20 minutes into our journey we alighted from the carriage and we walked down to a secluded corner near the lake which is where I proposed. I had decided to ask Justina to marry me without the ring as it was just too risky to take it overseas (leaving it in the room at the ski resort we visited prior to arriving in NYC was not ideal!) Instead of the ring itself, I presented her with a large picture of me holding it!
After Justina had said yes to my proposal, we jumped back into the carriage and headed back to the park entrance where Justina’s brother (who was also travelling with us) was waiting.
There was a limousine waiting for us at the entrance to the park with two bottles of Justina’s favourite champagne –Dom Perignon Rose and Krug Rose. I then presented Justina with her first of many photos of the three hours of eating ahead. Each photo was a picture of the two of us with a memory – for example when we visited the famous Sushi Of Gari, I presented her with a large photo of the two of us on a trip to Japan saying “reminding me of the time we went to Japan…”.
For the next three hours the limo took us on a food tour of New York where we visited many famous places – all of them were amazing!
- Shake Shack for burgers
- Laduree for macarons
- Absolute Bagels
- Sushi of Gari
- Levain Bakery for cookies
- The Halal Guys for gyros
- Coppelia for nachos
- Umami Burger for truffle burger
- Faicco’s Pork Store for its famous pork sandwiches
- Molly’s Cupcakes
- Yuji Ramen
Whilst the car was driving from place to place, we listened to a CDs I had made with songs that reminded me of Justina; she really appreciated them and still listens to them today.
Finally, if all the eating so far wasn’t enough, I had booked us into the famous Eleven Madison Park restaurant for a celebratory dinner – which was still the best meal I have ever had!
Ms Chinoiserie Says: What a wonderful engagement Wes – your sentimental touches were so special; such a lovely memory for you both!