11th October 2012
This is a story of what happened to me back in 2012, one of my finest moments to date. It involves my relationship with my girlfriend Emma who I had been with for 2 yrs at the time and we wanted to celebrate that, so…with that in mind, something truly wonderful came about because of it, life changing.
I had planned a secret weekend break away and at first, I had told Emma that we were going to Hull for the weekend but what she didn’t know was that I had really booked a weekend cruise from Hull to Bruges in Belgium and I wasn’t planning for a nice relaxing weekend in a Belgian City, I was planning to propose to her and hopefully, she would say yes and make me the happiest man in the world.
I had planned to do it in the summer in Tenerife but for some reason…the time didn’t feel right and to me, it just felt to predictable as Emma had said that Tenerife would be somewhere she would expect to be proposed to…I don’t like predictability so I changed my plans and postponed for the time being and went back for my 2nd year of University before I suffered an accident in a rehearsal, my foot got stepped on and it bled, which led to an Ingrowing toe nail which I needed to have removed and it was here, with my nurse that I got the idea of going on a weekend cruise to Bruges and I put both ideas together and then knew what I had to do.
I purchased the engagement ring and kept it well hidden for a month whenever Emma came over in my bag under my bed, mainly because I knew that she never looked in there but if I had any indication that she might for whatever reason, I would secretly hide it somewhere else temporarily but none the less, it remained successfully hidden up to the day of the cruise. Also in that time I had asked her guardians permission for her hand in marriage and persuaded her closest friend to not say a word to her (It took a two-hour walk around the hillsides to persuade her, it wasn’t easy, was it CATHERINE!) she was unsure how she could keep it a secret for so long as it was too tempting but I convinced her to stay off Facebook for a whole month by saying to Emma that she had a lot of college work to do for a few weeks and it worked! I owe that girl so much ha ha. Everyone knew, her friends, guardians, my friends, family, all except for Emma herself knew what I was planning, I could only hope that everything would go to plan which was this
- Go to Hull with Emma on the train
- Go to see the Deep Aquarium in Hull and try to avoid The Premier Inn (Where I said we’d stay) and John Prescott
- Tell Emma that we were going to Belgium
- Go to the Docks and board the ship
- Sail overnight from Hull to Belgium
- Spend day in Bruges
- Propose to Emma at Lake of Love
- Hopefully, Celebrate
Only time would tell.
The day had come and I left Huddersfield on the train, early in the morning, I think it was about 8 am. It was a cold and grey day and I had butterflies in my stomach, I was very nervous about the possibility of Emma saying no to me, I mean there was a chance that it could have happened, what if she wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment?
‘What if she doesn’t feel the same way?’
No I couldn’t think like that, I had to stay positive and as she boarded the train at Leeds Station, I gulped as she was still thinking that we were staying in Hull for the weekend, It was so hard to not tell her everything, I had kept it from her for so long…I could have just burst it all out and be done with it but I held on, It was going to be worth it if we made it to Hull and then tell her when the moment was right.
We arrived in Hull and Emma said we should drop off our cases at the hotel and go for a look around but I prevented this by saying that we should go to the Deep for a look about but she said we should drop cases off first and it was here that I ‘Lied’ and said that the hotel was on the opposite side of Hull to where the hotel was and she believed me (Thank goodness she didn’t check her phone for Google maps!)
Anyway we found the Deep, which happened to be near the hotel we were staying at! which was awkward but I said that there was Two Premier Inn’s in Hull and once again Emma believed it, so we spent about two hours looking about the aquarium and afterwards, Emma wanted to look about the gift shop so I said I’d wait outside where I called a taxi. Emma came outside and said that I looked like I had something on my mind so with a deep breath, I told her that we weren’t staying in Hull, she looked confused and said ”Where are we staying then?’ I told her that we were going on a Ship for the weekend and that it was Bruges in Belgium that we were going to look at. Her face was priceless, she looked shocked and she began to ask if I was making it all up but I proved it by getting out her passport and earlier in the day, I had even convinced her to give me her phone, just in case anyone texted her and told her my plan…just in case. (I gave it back to her….in Belgium!)
but I was also worried about Emma finding the Engagement ring which was in my coat pocket (Now that I think about it, It probably wasn’t the smartest decision I had made ever) so I sneakily moved it into my luggage for the night after we arrived at the docks and she went to the toilet as we waited to board (took two hours) so then we went to the floor with our room on it and on the way, Emma was still surprised, she even called her Aunt up to ask if this was all really happening (Bless her) she gave me a massive hug and asked how I had hidden it from her, I don’t think I told her until we got back to England ha ha but oh well, she was to excited to keep asking me, we were going away for the weekend after all!
We entered our room and it was alright but could be a tad bumpy when the ship moved, I was a bit seasick on previous ship journeys so I had some tablets with me. After we ate, drank at the bar and saw a movie on the boat, we decided to go to sleep but I was unable to do so…I was still too nervous, all I could think about was tomorrow, I had spent a month planning it carefully and in detail to make sure that everything went right so at 2am, I snuck out of the room as Emma slept and walked about on the ship’s deck and I think we were passing France at the time, I could see lights in the distance. I spoke with some people who were also out and told them about my plans and they were all impressed with the amount of time it had taken to prepare everything and they wished me all the best. at about Half 3 I went back to my room and got a bit of sleep, as ready as I could have been for the next day.
11th November 2012
The ship arrived into the Belgian harbor as we had breakfast and we were soon boarding a bus and heading through Belgium towards Bruges. It took about an hour and a half to get there which was alright as we had 8 hours to look about which was plenty of time for me to do what I needed to get done. I had done plenty of research on the city and what there was to do, where to eat etc that and I was the only one with euros….well it would have been weird and a BIG giveaway if I had asked Emma
‘Emma…could you bring some Euros with you to Hull?’
We looked about and were amazed by the style of the buildings and roads before we made our way into the centre and then decided that we would go about the city first on a horse-drawn carriage which was amazing, the guide spoke great English and her little dog was very friendly, we could pet him if we wanted to, we saw it all…even the lake (more on that in a bit). We also looked about a chocolate factory and ate Belgian Waffles, draped in Belgian Chocolate and bought plenty of chocolates to take home with us. Bruges was a beautiful city, with its shops, buildings, churches, lakes and canals that never seemed to end and the chocolate of course which was amazing but as much fun as the city was…it wasn’t my main focus. I was still thinking about popping the question whilst trying to enjoy my day out at the same time which wasn’t easy. Browsing in shops was more of Emma’s thing, especially clothes shops ha ha but it helped her relax.
During the day, we would walk about Lake Minnewater (The Lake of Love) and it was this spot that I had chosen before we came out here to propose to Emma at. It was perfect, the scenery was beautiful, the sun was shining and she would be having the time of her life being in Bruges instead of Hull.
Bruges was a great place and we spent most of the day sightseeing and exploring the endless streets, canals and shops but I knew that at some point, I needed to pop the question but there was a bit of a problem…at times during the day, it had rained a bit and I didn’t want to propose in the rain, I wanted it to be sunny so I waited and waited before making the final decision to propose towards sunset, it was then or not in Bruges. It was 2pm at this point and there was just under 3 hours until we had to go back to the ship…time was running out.
The day was coming to a close and the sun was slowly starting to set, I knew that my moment had come, it was now time to take Emma to Lake Minnewater (The Lake of Love) but for some reason, she wanted to look around a nearby Nunnery! now the thing here is…I don’t like Nuns…I’ve kind of had a fear of them since I was five so it was a little awkward for me to go in but I did (I couldn’t give the game away, even though that time was running out) after ten minutes I made my excuses and made my way out of the place, with Emma following me closely behind, probably wondering what the hell was going on, I couldn’t help but think
‘NOW OR NEVER, IT’S NOW OR NEVER!’
11th November 2012 4:14 PM
I ran all the way through a big crowd and down a long pathway to the lake, and Emma was chasing after me, calling out for me (bless her) and I ran onto the bridge and stopped as I got to the halfway point, the sun was a glory orange and was setting fast in the background, it had to be now or the trip would have been ruined (Not for Emma as she had no idea up to this point) she caught up with me, out of breath and demanded to know what the hell was going on, why did I run off like that and leave her in a foreign city like that? I took a deep breath and turned to face her
Emma, you know how much I love you right?
I love you more than anything in this world or any world after it, remember what I told you when we started seeing each other, ”It doesn’t matter what money, lifestyle or clothes you have, hell you can wear rags and be live in a cardboard box and my love for you wouldn’t ever change” I would die for you without a second thought because life without you in it means nothing…you have made the last two years of my life the best ever, I felt alone and isolated by love until I met you, my kindred spirit, my soul mate who has control of my heart, body and soul forever more. I will always be there to take care of you, to love you and always be by your side, in this life and the next for all time and beyond!
Matt, what are you talking about?
Emma, I’ve wanted to ask you this question for a long time, I was nervous about it at first but now I’m ready to say it to you and…oh shit, it’s starting to rain…sorry, I’ll get a move on (get’s down on knee and gets ring out of coat pocket) Emma, will you marry me and make me the happiest man alive?
Emma said yes with her head then she said YES! we kissed before I placed the ring on her finger, she squealed and looked so happy and I had tears down my face…everything had gone perfectly, not a single mistake was made in my plan which was amazing and now I had her as my fiance, she is now going to be my wife and I couldn’t have been happier about that, she’s my soul mate and I could never be with anyone else apart from her.
With that done and by the way, we got a round of applause from everyone that was on the bridge at the time, we made our way back to the bus station to be picked up (Well, I got us lost at first but Emma asked a local who helped us get there safely (What a nice man) where I let everyone know that everything had gone to plan which got another round of applause. I think I collapsed onto my bed with a sigh of relief and nearly fell asleep but Emma…wanted me to stay awake…a surprise for me apparently when we got back to the ship…I wonder what that could be?
We then returned to the ship and…let’s just say there wasn’t much sleep done by either of us that night (I won’t go into detail) ok, we played a crappy little Monopoly board game Emma bought in the ships shop the day before! and other stuff…. and the next day, docked in Hull where we had breakfast at McDonald’s before going to the Train Station to go home. Emma got off the train at Leeds and I stayed on as I had class that afternoon but how could I concentrate on Playwrights and how to pull an angry face correctly when the love of my life had just agreed to marry me, it was the best weekend of my life and one that I will never forget!
If I had to give any one some advice, say someone whose in love…thinking of proposing to your partner then I would say this to you:
Put a lot of thought into it, what would really surprise your partner and make it as special as you can make it, let nothing stop you because a plan with plenty of thought and imagination can create something truly wonderful.
It worked for me, I love Emma with all my heart and I put everything I had into making this work….I was determined that nothing would go wrong and it didn’t and I know that others can do the same, if they put there minds to it.
Trust in yourself and you can achieve anything. I was 22 yrs old, shy as anything and always afraid of speaking my mind so considering how well this went…I’ll go ahead and call it my great masterpiece!
Thanks guys, and goodnight