Jake – I had planned a romantic surprise proposal that I guarantee Katherine would have seen coming a mile away… However on Christmas day, we shared a beautiful morning together onboard in the South of France, so I decided the time had come for me to get out the engagement ring that had been burning a hole in my pocket for a couple of months.
When she left the room, I patiently waited on one knee waited for her to return, and then told her that I knew the upcoming year was going to be a difficult one (I was right), but that I’d hoped that with this ring on her finger, she would be reminded that better times were coming. Unfortunately due to COVID-19, that difficult year turned into 2 and a half, but we got there eventually! Katherine and I spend a lot of time in travel destinations, so I decided the most wholesome way to propose was to wait until the right moment came, rather than trying to fabricate it.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…
In my mid-twenties, I was ready for a change and concerned that I was becoming stuck in the LA bubble, which drove my best friends and I decided to go backpacking around Europe. Whilst in the Cote d’Azur, we spend a few nights in Nice and visited a friend in Antibes. Here is where that fork in the road became apparent, a decision that would forever change my life. The life of the yachting industry was discovered. Fast forward 6 years later, after living all over the world, countless contacts were made, with one special individual in particular. We immersed ourselves into each other’s lives, entwined. Living together, working together, travelling together, those first few years we didn’t spend more than 30 days apart. An engagement was quick to follow. Covid may have postponed our wedding, but it couldn’t stop our plans to start a family of our own. Funnily enough, someone once told me that being a Chief Stewardess was a lot like being a mum, I’d have to say they were right. I’ve retired now from the industry, to raise our little girl, Vienna Celeste, my sidekick, named after her Dad’s love of a Billy Joel song and my curiosity of all things that hold meaning out “there” in the universe, and the added bonus that Celeste is Spanish for sky blue. Hopefully, she shares the same adventurous spirit as her folks.
Jake – I don’t like to talk about myself so I’ll keep it short and simple. I grew up on Great Barrier Island, with only boat access to my home. I loved everything to do with the ocean for as long as I can remember and was therefore naturally drawn to a career where I could spend as much time on it as possible. Now that I’m a husband and father, however, my priorities have shifted somewhat and my life now revolves around the intense love I have for my little family.
How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
We met in Sint Maarten, during the spring of 2018, after their Chef, a friend of mine I had previously worked with in Seychelles, convinced me to postpone my holiday and join their sailing crew on an Atlantic crossing to Malta. My first impression of Jake was how clever and confident he was. He took charge, had the respect of the crew, and had this relaxed easy-breezy attitude with an edge that he was not to be messed with. I liked that he had this strength about him, but without taking himself too seriously and always maintained this sense of being humble. He was approachable, considerate, and intelligent. Jake was the first mate and had cheekily put us on the watch rotation together, which meant for the subsequent 3 weeks, we spent 6 intimate hours together alone every day standing at the helm and navigating. There is really nothing to do except chat with one another and listen to music during those hours, especially in the middle of the night when you’re trying to stay awake. So that’s what we did – we chatted, laughed, joked, got to know one another, spoke of our past, our families, likes, dislikes, bantered, played cards, exercised, and got to becoming friends more quickly than would typically occur in the outside world.
When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
Jake and I had a bit of a “pen pal” start to our friendship. We were both working on yachts, in different parts of the world, with schedules that weren’t quite conducive to the makings of a romantic relationship. I always tell him he has the gift of the gab. In those weeks and months, the writing back and forth set a strong foundation for the start of something more. I was enraptured with his ease of communicating and the effort he was making, amid being a yachtie.
Not being able to see one another, and solely relying on speaking, caught my attention, especially in this day and age where that old-fashioned courting has become a thing of the past. I found that to be refreshing and gallant. For me, there was this specific moment. I know this is a phenomenon that must happen to many people, but it’s that single profound second that blows you away with how complex it can be, in such a small minute amount of time. The human mind is interesting in that way. I had that “Ah ha,” second, “He’s the one,” moment. When we’d finally been united after our months of being pen pals, Jake had managed to invite himself on my upcoming trip to Hawaii. When I say trip, this was in no way a vacation, I made that clear to him.
My best friend had cancer and she was somewhat on the mend after quite a radical surgery and a form of radiation. My visit was meant for spending quality time with her, her 2-year-old son, and her partner, but mainly to help take care of her. She was weak, tired, and doing her best to regain a sense of normalcy in her life after the devastatingly painful year she’d had. The support and tenderness that became so obviously transparent over the course of those weeks completely blew me away. Here was this completely masculine late 20-something-year-old, on holiday in Hawaii, taking care of my sick sister. He was just absolutely God-like to me in those moments, pure, perfection. I’ve never seen anything like it nor had anyone ever made me love them so deeply, so quickly. That for me, was it.
What was one element you were happy to splurge on?
Mainly the catering and endless cocktails, but also the location. We both wanted a day when our family and friends would be completely spoiled. We wanted them to be taken care of, for a change, and be waited on all day. A sit-down, indulgent meal, was important for us, especially for our families. As for the location, we knew that this was a holiday for nearly all of our guests, with the majority having flown in and/or driving quite a ways.
After years of waiting, we loved the idea of having a beautiful destination that was off the beaten track, but also removed from the city and had an air of being connected to the water, which for me personally was a must. Also, Jake’s mother had previously given him her mother’s wedding ring to use as he wished for my engagement ring. As a surprise, we took the diamonds, from her three-stone setting, and had three individual rings made to give back to the women in Jake’s immediate family.
One for his mother and two for his older sisters, with the smaller diamonds being used for my wedding band. We thought it was only right for the diamonds to stay within the family, and also go to the other women that were directly descended from the grandmother. To say it was a tearful moment would be an understatement. Jake was able to surprise his mum and sisters before the ceremony and present them with their own family heirlooms that they could also one day pass down to their daughters if they wished.
VENUE & PLANNING: Omata, @omataestatevineyard / PHOTOGRAPHER: Jonny Scott Photo, @jonnyscottphoto / VIDEOGRAPHER: Ben Journee, @ben.journee / CELEBRANT: Robyn Richards / ENTERTAINMENT: DJ Cade / FLORA, STYLING & HIRE: Best Day Ever Events, @bestdayever.nz / MARQUEE: Hire Marquee, @nzmarqueehire / CATERING & BEVERAGES: Salt and Seed, @saltandseed.nz / CAKE: La Patisserie / STATIONERY: Minted, @minted / DRESS: Justin Alexander, @justinalexander / SUIT: Todd Snyder, @toddsnyderny / SHOES: Tods, @tods / HAIR & MAKEUP: Ruth Baron, @madeupbyruth / FRAGRANCE: Ralph Lauren Fragrances, @ralphlaurenfragrances; Versace, @versace
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