Tony was a special client of ours recently, and we loved his dedication to coordinating the most perfect surprise wedding proposal for his partner Kay in Central Park in New York. Post the 'big moment' we were delighted to get his thoughts on how it all went down and why it was so important to capture the moment...
Tell us about you and your partner?
Kay and I both work in education. Kay owns and manages a commercial business called Kumon, which provides students with additional assistance in numeracy and literacy beyond the provision by schools. I am a primary school teacher, fortunate enough to have taught at a wonderful school for more than 25 years. Kay and I have both been through our own respective first marriages and each raised a family. We both have maintained our own daily fitness regimes by attending various classes or work out in the same gymnasium. It is here where we would occasionally cross paths and nod hello. My elderly friend, John, who I would often take to the cinemas of a Saturday afternoon, passed away during that year, and I no longer made the effort to go to movies at the cinemas. When Kay asked me, “Have you seen any good movies lately?” I told her why I hadn’t been. Being the lovely person that Kay is, she kindly offered to accompany me to the cinema if there was a movie I would like to see. It all started from there.
Why did you choose New York for the proposal?
I struggled emotionally for many years after the end of my marriage breakdown and while I was fortunate enough to have the support of family and work colleagues during this time, it was the breakout decision to visit Canada and the United States in 2017 that began to turn my life around. I took time off from work and left for a holiday on my own. Over a period of two-months, I travelled around Canada and loved it. Highlights would definitely include riding The Rocky Mountaineer through the Rocky Mountains and witnessing The Niagara Falls. The scenery at both is stunning. However, the final ten days of my holiday in Boston and New York really caught my imagination. In particular, I was certain that I would one day soon return to New York to immerse myself in the atmosphere and energy. When my relationship with Kay grew, I could think of no better place to enhance our romance.
Why do you think capturing the moment for you both was so important?
Kay is worth it and much, much more. I know what she has been through over the years and yet through a quiet dignity, she managed to maintain herself as a strong independent woman and a beautiful person whom her long-time friends love. When we met and fell for each other, I wanted to make a statement of commitment that would sweep her off her feet and underline the feelings I have for her.
How did you feel on the day?
I must admit I was feeling a little nervous. I was keen to savour the whole wonderful experience without becoming anxious. For the most part, my senses buzzed with excitement, especially as we entered Central Park and I took in its beauty and smiled with anticipation for what was to come. My sense of composure was certainly challenged as the special moment approached. As we entered the clearing and caught sight of the lake, I felt overwhelmed by the scene that our photographer had set up. The location was beautiful. However, when Kay said, “Yes”, there was such a release of emotion….for both us, I dare say.
How did you celebrate afterwards?
We slowly finished the red wine on the rug and enjoyed the beautiful scenery, took in the moment and then eventually meandered around to the Boathouse Café where I had booked a table. It was a lovely open-air café with views across the lake, good service and excellent food. It was a perfect follow-up to the moment by the lake. Tuesday was quite a warm evening, so we walked back through Central Park, down Seventh Avenue to Times Square and eventually onto our hotel. The afternoon and evening hold very special memories.
Best tip for someone travelling to New York?
There is so much to see. Make use of the subway by organising a weekly pass. This is great for convenience, but having said that, walk everywhere you possibly can. There are so many iconic locations and such great atmosphere so close at hand.
Where’s your favourite place in the world and why?
I am very tempted to say Central Park. It naturally holds a special memory for me this year given our experience of the last two weeks, but during my last visit in 2017, I was mesmerised by its beauty when I spent half a day riding around and through the park one beautiful sunny morning in August. Melbourne has beautiful city parks as well, so I love parts of my home city as well.
Why do photos/memories matter to you?
As wonderful as the best experiences are, they are all too fleeting. A good photo or series of photos like with a Travelshoot can capture that memory and be the point of recall for many years. The tricky part is striking a balance between living the experience and recording the experience. I’m not one to be too focussed on taking photos, so I have to be careful to remember to take photos at appropriate times.