A sweet floral scent filled my nostrils as I walked through the rows of flowers.
My boyfriend, Chris, and I were on a European holiday to see our relatives but today, we were sightseeing in Caen, Normandy with our photographer friend, Rémi.
As we explored the garden, we couldn't stop snapping photos.
Standing between towering sunflowers, Chris turned to me.
"You're pretty cool," he said, his voice shaking, "do you want to… kind of… keep being cool together forever?"
Suddenly, he got down on one knee.
"Yes!" I replied as he placed the ring on my finger.
Thankfully, Rémi was there to capture the moment.
Chris and I had been together for almost eight years.
We'd met at a mutual friend's New Year's Eve party and clicked right away.
Ten days later, we were an item.
For five years, it was bliss.
But when I finished my studies and became an occupational therapist, I realised I needed to move to a more remote area if I wanted practical experience.
Sadly, Chris had to stay in Melbourne for work.
"I love you," Chris said. "This distance won't be forever, we can do this."
On the day I left, Chris popped a ring into my bag engraved with the words wish you were here.
It almost broke my heart to say goodbye to him but I knew our love could withstand anything.
I moved nine hours away to Broken Hill and started working in a hospital.
Although the job was incredible, it put a strain on our relationship.
For almost two years, we made it work with me driving back to Melbourne every two months to see Chris.
I eventually got a job in Lakes Entrance so commuting was easier for both of us.
Then, after 10 months, we moved in together in Melbourne.
Coming home from our holiday with a beautiful engagement ring, I was walking on air.
We started planning the wedding and decided on a garden ceremony in May the following year with all of our friends and family.
But as the wedding date neared, we became nervous. COVID-19 had started to cause havoc and with a lot of our guests coming from overseas, impending lockdowns and restrictions became an issue.
By March, laws had been implemented to limit four people per square metre at all venues and friends from other countries.
We were worried that by May, our dream wedding wouldn't be possible.
"Why don't we just do the wedding tomorrow?" I asked Chris, "I just want to marry you!"
"Let's do it!" he said.
We got to work, calling all of the vendors to see what they could do for the next day.
Thankfully, they were all incredibly accommodating.
Chris's mum, Virginia, had agreed to be our celebrant and organised for us to be married in a local garden, while my mum, organised the flowers.
We set up a livestream so our loved ones could watch our special day online.
Next morning, butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I went to work.
Although it was my big day, it was too last minute to take a whole day off.
At midday, I headed home to have my hair and make-up done and put on my wedding dress.
I felt more beautiful than ever.
With 16 of our closest friends and family by our side, and 200 watching on Facebook live, I walked down the aisle, in a garden just like the one Chris proposed in, then we enjoyed a picnic with our guests.
It was perfect.
Next day, the government announced that weddings could only have five guests to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
"Luck must be on our side," Chris chuckled, as we enjoyed our first day as husband and wife.
Now, our honeymoon to Hawaii has been put on hold, but we don't mind.
After surviving a long-distance relationship, we're just happy living together under one roof.
I love Chris and together, we'll always be okay.
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Now To LoveJul 26, 2021