Sitting here tonight with a cup of coffee, a slice of banana bread and watching the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I cannot help but notice the amount of times the phrase “whirlwind romance” was thrown around. The criticism they have come under from some, for rushing into getting engaged, is something which is oh so Familiar to myself and Neil
This picture feels like forever ago!
Neil and I met on September 25th 2014, although we had technically met online several weeks before that, when we were online dating. We met in person on a quiet Thursday evening for coffee at an open mic night in Clements Coffee in Belfast. I, as usual was fashionably late and when I arrived and saw him I think I instantly fell in love with him. His smile, his eyes, the way he spoke. Everything about Neil just made my heart skip a beat.
How could you not fall in love with him?
Our romance took a turn from there and we got into a serious relationship rather quickly. We had become boyfriend and girlfriend almost instantly, he met my family and I met his, all in the space of a few weeks.
Couples that hat together … stay together
I always measure things by my gut instinct and I know if I don’t have a good feeling about something I shouldn’t do it. Throughout my relationship with Neil I have never once thought this isn’t right, or we need to slow down or don’t do this. With him it has always been 100% this is right and to this day I have never wavered on this feeling.
In the past my relationships have always left me with worry, anxiety and a feeling that I just wasn’t good enough. I was second best to friends, football and even a cat at one point but with Neil I know with all my heart that I am his priority. If I asked him to give mountain biking a miss this week to have a sofa day with me watching Christmas films I know without a shadow of a doubt he would. In contrast to that I never would ask him because I couldn’t stop him doing things he loves…. Although maybe the odd time he has skipped biking but that usually is because I insist on an Ikea run or a coffee date with friends and he can’t say no ( wife perks?)
I always think this picture looks like the opening credits of how I met your mother!?
We moved in with one another after about 4 months of being together and made our beautiful Dibney cottage our forever home, Prior to that a mortgage, settling down and house planning was not something I had imagined myself doing, but here we were, our first home together and rocking it together, building Ikea wardrobes and suffering a cold Christmas morning because someone ( not naming any names….) forgot to order oil! Needless to say the ups have been extraordinary and the downs very few, It’s amazing to know that no matter what, I have him by my side through it all.
Our relationship did come across some criticism, we were rushing into it, then I was manipulating Neil and pressuring him into a relationship he didn’t want to be in, then I was trying to back him into a situation he couldn’t get out of and was even accused of trying to trap him with a baby, although when you consider our current uterus vacancy situation you can see how wrong that was! People will always talk, I think the big thing is how much of it you actually listen to. Thankfully he could see and feel the love I had for him so other people’s opinions were immaterial to us
I always remember the saying that we should live by our deeds and not our words, and although I tell Neil every single day that I love him I always try my utmost to show him I love him, whether it be getting up early to make his lunch or making him waffles in bed, to watching youtube videos about trains and reruns of Frasier. The love we have for one another is just that, for one another. I would go to any length to protect him. (in a non threatening way of course)
Neil’s Birthday in London
What has always struck me about Neil is his complete and utter love and passion for things he does. He loves his family, he is passionate about mountain biking and gaming and his mx5 restoration project, and although prior to meeting Neil I had never really been involved in any of his interests I have learned so much and discovered a whole new side to life. I always say Neil loves cars, bikes and nine inch nails where i’m more of a vintage lover, craft fair and bubblegum pop kinda girl. But we make it work, opposites attract.
We went on our first holiday to Barcelona in March of 2015 and had an amazing time, we have a very similar outlook on life which is good, we don’t stress, we are laid back and take life as it comes, Curve balls and all.
In the September of 2015 we went to Prague to celebrate our first year anniversary. We had such a lovely time and on the day of our anniversary we started the day in Petrin park, I was lead to believe there would be some sort of uplift to get me to the top however that wasn’t the case and I moaned the entire way to the top giving off to poor Neil as we hiked in the heat. We got to the top and enjoyed the scenes over the whole of Prague. I was taking a picture of the city and heard Neil rustle his camera bag. I turned around to tell him to come get a closer look and some pictures with me and there he was, down on one knee with a ring box in his hand. I could not believe it, Everyone who knows Neil will know he is very shy so this public display was so off character but so wonderfully amazing!
My beautiful ring
Before he spoke I remember stamping my feet in joy saying over and over “you’re proposing to me!” A man of few words My Neil just simply said “ I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife” to which I needed even fewer words! The only answer was of course YES!
With a beautiful ring on my finger I now couldn’t quite believe I was engaged, was going to be a wife? Me? Laura? Yes… you… Laura … a wife! We sat in the park for a while, looking out over the city being the only two people in the world to know we were getting married. Neil gave me his grandmother’s ring, It belonged to his grandmother on his mother’s side and is a beautiful vintage setting. It is a gold band with a white gold setting. 8 diamonds surrounding a beautiful blue sapphire which is my birthstone, Neil had the ring restored and the sapphire replaced as it was originally a black sapphire. I will say that the ring means so much more to me because it comes from his family, I never got to meet his grandmother but I have worn her ring every day since that day and I never plan to remove it, the fact that she is part of our love story is something that I will never forget and I can only but hope she approves of Neil’s choice of a wife and soulmate
The necklace I wore on our wedding day after the ceremony by @tattydevine
The wedding… We married on the 13th of may 2016 exactly 596 days from the day we met. We married in Belfast city hall with 10 guests present and our photographers. The morning of the wedding as the first time anyone really found out about the wedding when I was tagged in a facebook post “ getting hair and makeup done with the bride to be” and I was asked when are you getting married. I guess my response of “2pm today” was a little shocking to people as the post went a little crazy!
My Dress on our big day
To be honest we are a simple couple, our wedding day was about us, our love and the commitment we wanted to make to each other, I remember getting to city hall and all I kept thinking was I want to see Neil, I got emotional and upset because I wanted it to be 2pm already so I could walk up that aisle on the arm of my brother to become his wife, I do think he may have had a mini heart attack as just before we walked into the room my Brother told me how proud he was of me and the tears started so I had to compose myself for 30 seconds… I think Neil thought I wasn’t coming !
We had our closest family at the wedding and it was genuinely perfect. If I could go back and change anything about that day I literally couldn’t find anything I would have done differently. From city hall to Rayanne house in Holywood for the reception to the guest list, the food, photographs in Botanic gardens and the quick nip to Starbucks in our wedding attire. The day was perfect, for us
My shoes came up across a lot of excitement on our wedding day with everyone wanting a snap of them! In city hall a man also stopped me to tell me my shoes were beezer…. only in Belfast! @irregularchoice
I think the important thing I have learned these past few years is that love comes along when you least expect it, love is not just a word, I have learned that being part of a team can be so fulfilling and having Neil by my side makes me a better person, he makes me go out of my comfort zone and makes me challenge myself, he supports, encourages and helps me smile every single day and I truly hope I do this for him to. ( he says I do!)
This photo has to be my favourite of all the wedding pictures
People can think and say what they will about whirlwind romances but the truth is you should never judge a relationship by your own standards, everyone is free to love, to marry and get swept up in romance, it doesn’t always last and I was one of those fortunate enough to find a man who loves me, who cares for me and protects me every step of the way. We have come across our critics but if i’m honest looking back I wouldn’t change a single second of the story that made us who we are today, the road that lead me to him, to being Mr and Mrs, The Pattersons, Neil and Laura.
The rest is just an adventure waiting to happen
Love Laura x