When Paul and I looked at the price of wedding venues, I thought the sun had set on our plans. But my fiance had other ideas…
By Yvette Milligan, 44, from Stoke-On-Trent
I wasn’t really paying attention as I scrolled down the profiles of suitable suggestions on the dating website. Nobody stood out for me at all.
I was about to call it a day when the picture of a tall, dark, handsome man caught my eye. I did a double take. There was no way this man could be single… Or could he?
I had nothing to lose. I wrote: I really like your profile. It would be great if I could get to know you better.
When he replied later that day, I couldn’t believe my luck. Maybe he wanted to know me better too.
I was right and from then on we were messaging each other every day. Paul was fun and laid back and I couldn’t wait to get home from work to speak to him. My heart would sink if I turned on the laptop to discover he wasn’t online. I wanted to share everything with him.
Paul must have felt the same way as he asked for my number and we started phoning each other as part of our evening ritual. He was so easy to talk to that I felt like I had known him for years.
We spoke every night for a couple of months before finally meeting in June 2010. When I saw him in the flesh I knew my instincts were right – Paul was my perfect man and we quickly became inseparable.
A year on, in June 2011, I was in the kitchen making breakfast on the morning of my 40th birthday when Paul crept up behind me.
I’d barely had a chance to give him his morning kiss before Paul was down on one knee in our kitchen. In his hand was an open box containing the most beautiful ring I had ever seen.
‘Will you… Marry me?’ He stammered, his voice betraying his nerves.
‘Yes!’ I gasped in shock. I couldn’t have asked for a better present.
After Paul placed the gold ring on my finger, I studied the beaming blue sapphire and the gleaming diamonds which surrounded it.
‘It’s perfect,’ I whispered, with a lump in my throat.
‘So are you,’ Paul said, taking me into his arms. ‘That’s why I want to be your husband.’
I could barely concentrate at work that day and when we went out to celebrate my birthday that night, I couldn’t stop flashing my new jewels. I was getting married!
We quickly started making plans and soon my diary was bursting with appointments to view possible wedding venues. But it wasn’t long before our happiness gave way to frustration.
All the places we liked cost a fortune and although I longed to be Paul’s wife, we just didn’t have the money to seal the deal. With a heavy heart, we decided to place our plans on the backburner.
In October 2012, we flew out to Cyprus to visit my parents Alan, 67, and Olwyn, 64, who lived there.
We were sitting on their balcony, sipping wine in the sunshine, when a smile broke out across Paul’s face. ‘If you could get married here in Cyprus, on this holiday, would you?’ He asked.
‘Of course,’ I replied, drinking in the seaview. We were in paradise.
‘Good,’ Paul replied. ‘Because we’re getting married next week.’
My jaw dropped. I listened in stunned silence as Paul explained he’d arranged everything with the help of Mum and Dad. They’d been in on it too!
I was dumbfounded. ‘What about a dress?’ I laughed. It may have been the Mediterranean but I drew the line at getting married in my bikini.
‘I’ve had you one made,’ smiled Mum. They really had thought of everything.
Although the design didn’t quite fit, I found another gorgeous gown at a local department store. As I gazed at my reflection in the shop mirror, I tried to get my head around the situation. I really was getting married – in just six days!
On the morning of our nuptials, just one week after Paul had broken the news to me, the sun shone brightly.
I woke up and headed out onto the balcony to survey the view. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be getting married in such a beautiful country. I wouldn’t have to worry about the rain spoiling my big day.
Paul had arranged for us to get married at a large stately home nearby, in front of Mum and Dad’s friends and family who also lived out there.
When I walked down the aisle there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We’d wanted this for so long.
‘You look beautiful,’ Paul said, as I joined him at the altar.
I blushed. Dressed in his suit, he looked dashing himself. But instead of the traditional brogue, I noticed he’d slipped on some sandals for a more casual, summer look.
As we said our vows, all I could think about was the effort Paul had gone to, to make me his wife. It was so romantic. Paul was one in a million and I was marrying him.
After the beautiful ceremony, we headed to a local restaurant which had been decked out with balloons for our wedding breakfast.
We toasted our love with champagne and feasted on fresh, Cypriot meze. After all the trouble we had trying to find the ideal venue, Paul had found a winner.
It was the best day ever.
Paul and I are still blissfully happy. He’s a doting hubby and full of surprises – but I still can’t believe he surprised me with my own wedding!