"He's the Gin to my Tonic" - Matt and Sophie's Story - Winsor Bishop
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Written by Sophie.

We met at work 6 years ago and it was sparks from the start – After a year or so of skirting around the friendship zone we finally found the courage to be more and after a week I turned up at Matt’s with a toothbrush, a ham and pineapple pizza and a copy of Wuthering Heights. I haven’t looked back

The bench

The proposal:

This particular Saturday fell after the opening ceremony of the Olympics and full of British spirit I got up and discussed the day’s plans with Matt who firstly turned down breakfast (this should have been the point at which I realised something weird was happening) and secondly pondered if the weather conditions were worth leaving the house for.

As this was his idea I found myself getting slightly annoyed with his attitude, having cancelled a hair appointment at his request to spend the day together.

Dressed in my scruffy clothes and with chipped nail polish, I huffed in yet more frustration as Matt went back into the house for his binoculars. Most girls would have thought this an odd item to bring, but anyone whose partner is into fishing and nature will nod in sympathy at my not questioning this.

Having finally arrived at Blickling and refusing to go the usual route, we set across the car park as Matt was convinced this would bring us to the lake walk quicker. I was convinced he was wrong.

We are both fans of sitting on benches and it has become customary to do so wherever we go. Needless to say we have several favoured benches at Blickling and this is where I assumed we were headed.

As the lake sprang into view the sun burst out and sparkled on the surface transforming the overcast day into a far more cheerful one. This is when I spotted the new bench. The ground was freshly dug and in contrast to the traditional benches at the top of the lake was simple and hewn from oak. My pleasure at discovering a new bench was conveyed and I demanded that we sat on it right then.

As we sat, I made my feelings for the new bench clear: ‘this is a lovely new bench’ a wonderful lead for Matt to then let me know that this was in fact, my bench

I told him he was a liar, how could this be my bench

He told me to look at the plaque.

I did and he was quite right, sitting underneath a quote from Shakespeare were our names concluded with the word forever.

I still didn’t twig.

I turned around.

The years of dreaming were worth the few moments of indescribable joy and pleasure as I turned round to see my most favourite person in the world on one knee with a massive grin on his face and something sparkly being proffered.

I cried my eyes out.

I then nearly knocked him into the lake with the force of my hug.

In the tsunami of tears I didn’t even hear him really ask the question but I am assured he said there was no one else he would rather sit on a bench with for the rest of his life.

the bench 2

I turned into Gollum the day I received my ring. Its platinum, its princess cut and it’s flawless and Winsor Bishop were so fantastic that Matt assures me he is now highly educated in diamond grading (this can only lead to good things in the future)

Matt has, on several occasions since reminded me that he sold fishing gear to help pay for it and worked many hours of overtime to ensure I had the perfect ring. This does not illicit the guilt/new fishing items I think he is looking for. Far from holding an engagement ring grudge his attitude was surprisingly refreshing and when I was writing about our wedding journey he gave me these two nuggets of wisdom if you wanted a groom’s perspective:

‘Go big or go home’

‘They say size doesn’t matter. It does’

That’s a wisdom that should bestowed on all mankind and not necessarily just applicable to diamonds!

Matt is the most thoughtful man I have ever met (apart from my dad!) he remembers anniversaries, he understands why they are so important to me and he always has it spot on with gifts, he will randomly buy me flowers just because, he runs me a bath when I get home from a work trip late, he shares my love of fish fingers and beans, he accommodates my obsession with watching box sets of DVDs in one sitting, he gives the best hugs ever, he loves benches as much as I do, he enjoys sitting on a seawall at midnight with flasks of hot chocolate, he laughs like Jimmy Carr, he makes a mean roast, he smells like vanilla, he always drives on nights out so I can have a glass or 3 and he never fails to be there when he is needed, I can rely on him always. He is the gin to my tonic.

We had several trips to Winsor Bishop over the course of wedding planning – Matt with his secret missions and both of us to choose our wedding rings together. Skyfall had just been released and every time I hear the song I am transported straight back to drinking bubbles and trying on beautiful jewellery as you were holding a James Bond event that week. I also chose to gift Matt a Tag watch as his wedding present which the staff were wonderful with, from buying to gifting and needing to change the strap settings. I come in regularly on your advice to have my jewellery cleaned so it always looks as it did on the day of my proposal.

On the day I wanted to keep Jewellery very simple, the engagement ring and wedding ring needed to be stars of the day. However, on the morning of the wedding one of the ushers turned up with a beautiful crisp white box – in it Matt’s Great- Great Grandmothers engagement ring had been remodelled for me – given to her on her proposal in December exactly 100 years ago.

The wedding:

A December wedding was truly magical; set against dramatic skies and blustery winds, the plethora of fairy lights and candles illuminated the Abbey to perfection. The months of preparation were so full of love and dedication that we can truly put our hands on our hearts and declare ‘that was perfect’. We put our everything into everything: trawling reclaim yards for crates that we painstakingly polished back to life, the roasted fir cones to scatter on the tables, the hand painted cake toppers, the handmade rhubarb and pink fizz jelly favours for each guest. When the day arrived it was as if I had been wrapped in a bubble, floating around the house, from clutching a coffee in pyjamas and bleary eyed, I suddenly found myself in a wedding dress with a Hollywood face, a glass of fizz and a beautiful mark 2 Jaguar in the driveway. Flanked by family and friends I had made it through phase 1 calmly. Reversing elegantly into the red leather interior of the car I grabbed my dad’s hand tightly and didn’t let go for the whole journey. From the minute I stepped through the abbey doors the tight feeling of nerves evaporated and I practically dragged my father down the aisle in order to get to Matt’s side and become his wife. From that moment onward our faces beamed and ached with smiles the Cheshire cat would have coveted.

exchanging our rings

The venue itself looked magnificent, there wasn’t as much time as we would have liked to stand back and absorb its beauty. Candles adorned every surface curled with trailing ivy and soft winter roses. Bay trees stood against the walls wrapped in ribbon and planted with soft smelling herbs. Fairly lights were twirled to every banister and the breakfast table settings were heavenly – twisted Hazel branches strung with white flower garlands and dancing with tiny flickering tea-lights suspended in bubble houses. The cliché of time moving at pace on your wedding day was true to its word and the day flew by in a whirl of family, friends, love, tears, confetti, lace, fir cones, red Manolos, red socks, wellington boots, roast dinners, rhubarb and pink fizz chutney, gingerbread houses, first dances ending with truly drunken carriages at midnight. Wrapped in a fake fur coat we sank into each other’s shoulders and spent the hour’s drive to our hotel desperately clinging to each perfect moment and reliving it as husband and wife. Getting married really has been the best thing we have ever done and while we loved one another before it has set in place a different level of bond that we are still celebrating every day.

Please share your own fairytale on our facebook wall using #YourStory by 28th of February to win a pair of sparkling earrings.

my favourite wedding picture

This entry was posted in Your Story and tagged , , on 23rd January 2015 by Emily Warden

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