Sophia and Ayo

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How We Met

We met in 2011 in Hyde Park in London while I was in the city to celebrate my birthday with girlfriends. We had a mutual friend (and I use that term loosely because I had only known his friend for a matter of weeks) and he dragged him along to come and meet us in the park on what was an incredibly hot weekend in April.

He hobbled into the park on crutches (from a football injury), wearing combat trousers and a bright yellow t shirt. Although I wasn’t exactly dressed to impress either! I wasn’t immediately smitten but once he smiled.. I should have known I was in trouble! His smile is the most disarming and handsome smile I’ve ever seen.

He had me and my friends laughing for hours.. and that’s certainly something that peaked my attention. We spent the next four days in London and each night we’d meet him and his friend for dinner. On the last dinner before we left for London (bearing in mind we’ve known him and his friend for barely any time at all), they took me for a surprise birthday dinner!

For a few weeks after I left and headed back to Leeds we all spoke as friends, and then me and him started to speak outside of the group. We decided to give it a go and get into a relationship…and two weeks later I moved to Madrid! We ended up spending the next four and a half years in a long distance relationship (1 year of which was with me in Madrid), and as they say the rest is history…

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How He Asked

He spent an entire year and a half planning the proposal without my knowledge. Speaking to everyone and anyone that was close to me to get it absolutely right.

He’d booked everything without my knowledge, and even contacted my boss to book annual leave for me. I changed jobs not long after that so he had to contact my new boss to book my leave which was successful. After he’d arranged everything, I booked an interview for a new job (!) and he had to contact them to let them know what was happening so that they would rearrange. The interviewer at the job I was interviewing for was dubious but told him she’d move my interview if he was taking me away to propose to me – which he confirmed he was. So when I went to interview everyone in the office knew I was about to be proposed to, except me of course!

The week before we flew out to the Maldives and before my interview, he decided to take me shopping for new interview clothes… which is one of MANY thoughtful things that he still does for me. Whilst we were shopping he also suggested I pick up a few other casual bits of clothing as a treat.

So I headed down to London after my interview in my usual way for a weekend of hanging out and relaxing on Friday evening. On Sunday morning he said we had to collect an aunt from the airport, which again is quite normal so I didn’t think anything of it but first he had some surprises for me because I was having a tough time at work.

He took me to a great hairdressers (which I’ve been to ever since) where I got my hair done, and got a manicure and pedicure. We then went to one of my favourite restaurants Sushi Samba, and then we headed off to the airport. I had nothing more than my handbag with me so there was no reason to think anything unusual was happening.

On our way to the airport we stopped off at a local Tesco and he finally had to tell me a bit of what was happening as he didn’t know what shampoo and conditioner I usually use! So he told me in the middle of Tesco that I had a week off work and we were about to go on holiday but he’d give me no more details. I started crying out of sheer excitement and shock completely stunned at how far he’d gone to surprise me this time.

We got the shampoo and conditioner and headed to the airport. When we pulled up in the airport parking, he opened the boot and gave me a large suitcase, there were clothes inside it and a box of clothes my best friend had sent down for me to borrow. He gave me 15 minutes to decide what to take and then we headed in to the airport. I was still completely confused at this point as to what was happening and no airport check in staff told me where we were headed.

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We checked in to the business class lounge (I’ve never flown business class so I was excited again by this new development!) and then we eventually headed on to the plane. 14 hours later… I wake up in Malé. Which unknown to me at the time is in the Maldives. We landed on a grey and rainy day, got in our sea plane and 40 minutes later we were at our hotel. I was still basically in shock for this entire time and had no time to really process what was happening! Because he surprises me all the time I thought he’d just really taken his surprises up a level this time! He’d already taken me on surprise holidays to Egypt and Paris before so I had no reason to suspect he’d be proposing.

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The day we flew out his throat was feeling a little itchy and by the time we landed and settled into our hotel he had full blown tonsillitis! We had to call a doctor from the mainland and he was prescribed a cocktail of medicines to ease the pain and clear the infection.

Sophia and Ayo's Engagement in Maldives

The next day on the island and he told me to pack an overnight bag and ask no questions so I did as I was told! Side note – the bag he’d packed me was full of entirely brand new holiday clothes, dresses, bikinis, underwear, nightwear and even new flip flops! (every woman’s dream I’m sure!) We got on a boat and traveled to a private little island with a small room on it.

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There was an option to have dinner on a private island which I’d seen on a brochure in the room, and when we got off the boat there was a photographer taking pictures. I’ve never been on a private island so when he told me ‘when you book the private island you get a photographer too’ I took it at face value. We spent a good few hours hanging out in the sun and playing in the sea, forgetting that there was a photographer there at all.

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Then we showered and got ready for dinner (although he had to take a nap first because he felt so unwell!). When we woke up I was digging around in his overnight bag to find his medicine and he came out of the bathroom looking a bit panicked. I took the medicine out, gave it to him and continued getting ready.. I found out after he proposed that the ring box was in the bag near the medicine! We came outside for dinner and they’d put fire sticks and candles out on the beach, and the chef cooked us a beautiful meal. After starters and a main course, the dessert was taking a little while to arrive so we took a little walk closer to the sea.

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I was stood under his arm and he pushed me away so I looked at him a little confused, and before I knew it he was down on one knee !!! Ah I could cry just thinking about it. The feeling is completely indescribable, I’ve never been so overwhelmed with pure happiness.

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I basically burst into floods of tears, and didn’t hear a single word he said! He told me he had an entire speech planned and I basically listened to nothing! I didn’t hear a single word I just said yes in between sobs. So he hugged me, we had a tame kiss (as he still had very bad tonsillitis so was still thinking about me not catching it! ah what a man) and then sat for dessert.

I then spent the rest of the week in the Maldives making sure he was getting enough rest, and staring at my beautiful ring in the beautiful sunshine!

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After we’d contacted friends and family to let them know – we had the entire week to just enjoy each others’ company and revel in the aftermath of the proposal. It was the best holiday I have ever been on!

Sophia's Proposal in Maldives

As a bonus, while we were out there I found out I got the job I’d interviewed for. Safe to say it was one of the best weeks of my life – minus the fact that my amazing man was horribly sick!

We’re now blissfully married, enjoying our 9th month of marriage.. but when I tell the story of how he proposed, it still brings me so much joy :)