It was 1974 when Michael and Lesley struck up a friendship while working together at a local Pizza Hut restaurant in Brisbane. There were no romantic intentions at first, but their friendship formed the basis for what would become a long and happy marriage based on shared goals and interests. Michael and Lesley have been married for 41 years.
How did the proposal take place?
Lesley: When we worked together I was engaged to someone else, so we were just friends for quite a while. We both left Pizza Hut – Michael went to New South Wales for work and I travelled overseas after finishing my studies.
Michael: I came to visit Lesley on the day she arrived home and we went for a drink.
Lesley: I was still engaged had just returned from Europe. Michael turned up at my house so we went to the Homestead Hotel. I wasn’t myself. I remember Michael saying ‘Look, what’s wrong?’ I began to explain that I no longer wanted to marry my fiancé. To which he responded ‘Well, why don’t you marry me?’
Michael: Did I really say that? (Laughs)
Lesley: You did! We remained good friends, then months later, Michael invited me out to dinner to meet friends of his that lived out of town. We were waiting at the restaurant and there was this howling wind blowing. We were worried about his friends travelling down in their car. As the night wore on Michael became more and more worried about his friends in the weather. I had been thinking of his initial proposal months back. I thought, this might be a good time to cheer him up so I said, “You know when you said that thing how you wanted to marry me…? Well, let’s do it.” Michael grinned and turned to the waitress to say “Waitress…Champagne for my fiancé!”
Describe your wedding day:
Lesley: We were married at St Andrew’s church followed by the reception at my Mother’s house.
Michael: We had around 80 people.
Lesley: We set up a marquee in the backyard for the bar with everything else in the house. It was fairly cosy! We had caterers for the food and found a lady locally to make the cake.
Michael: A friend of ours who was a chef and who had worked in restaurants organised the bar for us. Beforehand, he asked very specific questions about how many people were coming how many male, female, old, young…
Lesley: …if the priest was coming!
Michael: He somehow managed to calculate it exactly – to the last bottle.
Lesley: Everyone had a great time. It was a very happy day.
What advice would you give brides and grooms who are in the midst of planning their own wedding?
Lesley: Simple and sincere is better than over the top. When you have people you know who contribute to the day – either making the cake or helping with the flowers – it makes it more meaningful.
What was your wedding dress like?
Lesley: It was a Juliet-inspired dress based on a dress my brother had bought me to wear to my 21st birthday party that I had loved. I found a local dressmaker who made it for me. Gardams, a fabric store in Brisbane, made the veil. The veil was more expensive than the dress!
There’s a funny story about the bridesmaids dresses. When we went to choose the fabric, one bridesmaid liked a red fabric and the other liked a teal blue fabric. I had the casting vote and voted for teal. The bridesmaid who had liked the red said ‘Well I’m not wearing teal’ so I sacked her on the spot! That’s when my cousin stepped in as my second bridesmaid. It worked out well since the three of us, who have known each other since 1968, are all still great friends.
Who took your wedding photographs and how did you find the photographer?
Lesley: We were very lucky in that we had a friend who had a photography business at the time in Noosa, Gary Clist photography – he took all our wedding photos for us.
And finally, the question we all want to know the answer to: What is the secret to your long and happy marriage?
Michael: I think it’s important to share similar interests and a similar sense of humour.
Lesley: Just as important is a willingness to give things a go. If one of you develops a new interest in something, be open to try new things together.
Michael: You also need to have realistic expectations (of marriage).
Lesley: That’s right, you need to work at it together. Support each other even if you are unsure – you never know where a new experience or venture will lead.
Thank you so much Michael and Lesley for sharing your story with us. And congratulations on celebrating 41 years of marriage together!
Images via Michael and Lesley
Ms Polka Dot says: Your words of advice are timeless – keep it sincere and simple and have realistic expectations of marriage – as relevant today as ever.