Manon and George – Photography by The Kitcheners

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…

George and I have been together for over 7 years and a half now. We met when we were both very young (me at 18, he at 20) at university.

As we were both working part time while studying, it was beneficial for us to condense our university time as much as we could. As such, we both found ourselves taking a compulsory sound engineering class late on Tuesday nights during our second semester. I am so thankful for this class – the class that brought us together. We met on the first week, went on our first date on the 3rd week and have been inseparable ever since.

We have never been very fond of following the rules of dating. We met young, introduced each other to our friends and family only 4 weeks after meeting, never “defined” our relationship or asked to be “exclusive”. We just knew that our relationship was special. And one of the reasons it is so special, is that we have truly grown alongside each other. We are a true partnership. Going through university, finding our first job, health scares, travelling the world, saving up together to buy our first home and more, we’ve been and continue to be each other’s strongest supporter and best friend.

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?

George and I are adventurers and dreamers. We much prefer exploring somewhere new and investing in our memories, then investing in material things. As such, we have a tradition to celebrate our anniversary by organising a couple\’s session so that we may look back on the photos captured one day and share them with our children and grandchildren. This is our gift to each other and to ourselves.

This time around, we were celebrating our 7th anniversary together. To commemorate the moment, we decided to go for a 6-week holiday, starting in Scotland. We thought, what better way to start off the holiday but with our anniversary shoot with none other than the Kitcheners. They had been on our wish list for a while, so it seemed like fate to be able to capture this moment with them.

Since this shoot was planned so long in advance, and was part of our tradition, nothing led me to believe that this would be the moment George would ask me to be his forever. I had perhaps hoped this may be the moment, but those thoughts evaporated when Dylan from the Kitcheners asked us how long we’d been married. He was so genuine about it that I could sense there was nothing happening in the background.

Yet, unbeknown to me, when I headed to the loo before starting our shoot, George quickly and quietly informed Dylan of his plans to propose later that day. They didn’t have much time to talk before I came back so decided to reconvene at lunch to make a proper plan. The best part is that I had completely no idea and nothing they did all day gave them away. Dylan held on to the ring for George, George wasn’t nervous or acting weird, and when they reconvened at lunch, they did so in the men’s bathroom, so nothing was out of the ordinary for me.

Close to sunset, Dylan took us to the most beautiful valley with tall grass and purple flowers. After climbing a small hill to better see the view, Dylan asked us to close our eyes and embrace to get a great shot. Completely unaware of what was happening behind me back, Dylan passed the box to

George before quietly leaving room for us. George then started whispering beautiful words in my ear before letting go and showing me a rock he was holding. A little surprised and confused as to how he got a rock in his hand while we were hugging, he then proceeded to drop to one knee and asked me to open it. That’s when I realised what the box symbolised, and couldn’t help but break down in tears. See, since the very beginning of our relationship, whenever it was time for a present (Christmas, birthdays, and the like) George would always joke I would get coal. However, as luck would have it, George would always have the most thoughtful gifts waiting for me. As such, coal became a lovely metaphor for his gifts over time.

With that in mind, he thought that for this ultimate gift, a piece of coal would be the perfect way to present it to me. As a 3D sculptor, he proceeded to sculpt a ring box to look like a piece of coal and 3D printed it with a prop maker in Sydney. I will treasure this box forever.

We were so happy and full of emotion in this moment that we completely forgot about Dylan’s existence (sorry Dylan!). So when he popped back in to congratulate us, it took us completely by surprise. Knowing that he was able to capture and immortalise this moment for us to treasure forever is the best gift I could have ever imagined.

The funniest part is that George became so nervous and full of emotion in the moment, that he actually forgot to ask me to marry him. He got down on one knee and flung his arm in the air to get me to open the box, but never actually uttered the words. So later on that night, when I reminded him of this fact, he then officially asked me right before we fell asleep. I couldn’t have asked for a better proposal.

Tell us about your main outfits:

It was summer in Scotland, and was a pretty mild Scottish day, yet both being Australian, we needed a little bit more warmth. Having not planned for it to be so cool, George suggested we find me a colourful jumper to wear for the next day, which is how we found this amazing Mustard coloured woollen piece. Yellow is one of my favourite colours, which is why I also wore this beautiful yellow Mister Zimi jumpsuit during the earlier part of the day. I complemented it with one of my favourite orange shawls which we had bought a few years back in New Zealand. George also wore a woollen jumper in a beautiful dark red which we found on that same New-Zealand trip.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?

There is so much that goes into nurturing a strong relationship. But if we had to pick one of the most important aspects to a healthy relationship, we would definitely say that trust and communication are THE most significant. Life has its ups and downs, so being able to rely on your significant other, being able to be truly and completely yourself with someone else, being able to share your deep darkest thoughts and feelings is what will make or break your relationship.

Nurture your intimacy by communicating straight away when something is bothering you. Don’t take each other for granted and also let the other know how happy they make you and how much you love them every chance you get. The “honeymoon” may be over, but make sure to make your relationship a priority and continue to do the little things for one another. A lifetime can be a long time, yet goes by in a flash. Make sure this time is meaningful together. Push each other to be better selves, support each other in your dreams and failures and fight for the things that you believe in and respect each other. We are all humans, with our own qualities and flaws. We are imperfect, so learn to love what makes your significant other unique.

Photography: The Kitcheners | Main outfits: Mister Zimi and Barkers | Engagement ring: Vale Jewellery | Jewellery: Two twiggy rings in white gold with rubies by Melissa Harris