Roniël and Aldert

Roniël and Aldert

Like they say, “Third time lucky”.  This was our scenario and after the first attempt that got the ball rolling, we had no idea we would end up getting married on the 14th of June this year. Years past between our first holiday romance in Strandfontein during an April holiday and the year I asked her to be my wife. (It was in 2002; I was St.9 (Grade 11) and she St.7 (Grade 9)).  The second time we tried, the chances for a good relationship was almost the same as the first, except now we were older, maybe wiser but both to busy building careers for a serious relationship. Then, in 2011, out of the blue I received an instant massage on Facebook. It was from Roniël, asking if I would be interested to try some wine they received from overseas and give my opinion. Seeing as I was an assistant winemaker at this time, this was not out of the ordinary and decided to meet with her, not having the faintest idea we would be engaged today.

So that’s how the third time started, after two years of getting to know each other, I knew this was the girl and decided to ask the big question! When I realized this I tested the waters by asking her what way she would like to get engaged some day. Should there be people, a video and photos or would she rather prefer to be alone with me. The answer, like I hoped, was to be alone but with photos (not so easy if it’s a surprise and we’re alone). So I started thinking of places for this special occasion and came to a conclusion, what better place than the one everything started at, Strandfontein. We want to be alone, go to some place romantic and be able to revisit our memory by going to this place any time we like. After weighing all the options I decided on the place I always thought of getting engaged. There is a spot with a patch of sand along the cliffs between Thornbay and Strandfontein.  Here the warm sun sets over the big stretched out ocean with its waves breaking against the rocks beneath you and leaving a cool refreshing breeze on your face. There is sand under your feet pushing between your toes and only the eyes of the one you love to distract you from the surrounding beauty.

With the place set the next step was to get the ring and plan the right time without her expecting anything. She wanted to design her own ring, so to keep it a surprise, I purchased a not so expensive white gold ring with a Topaz stone the previous week. We have a beach house in Strandfontein so this was the perfect stop on our way to hunt on their family owned farm “Toeval” near Upington (They call it that because of the bore holes that always collapsed after retracting the drill). She still had an expensive bottle of France Champagne from her work that she saved for a special occasion. (“Like when we get engaged” she always joked about). Without knowing about the life changing moment that awaits her she agreed it will not last and to take it along for the trip.

On the second day of arrival in Strandfontein everything was perfect. My heart started racing with mixed emotions when I realized this was the day. There was no doubt in my mind that she will say no but the thought of not getting everything perfect and making this a day for her to remember was frightening. The excitement over clouded the fear and I felt an uncontrollable happiness within. The time for the sun to set was near, I told her we should go for a sun downer at this place she haven’t seen yet and enjoy that expensive bottle of bubbly. She hesitated but I convinced her if not now then when and if we keep it for our time on the farm we will have to share it. So while she was packing the Champagne I went to fetch the uncomfortable square box. I say uncomfortable because everyone that’s gotten engaged and had to hide this box knows that this is not an easy task. The least of my worries was my dress code but luckily I had a jacket with big pockets in which I could hide the box. While driving I got lost between all the gravel roads along the cliffs that lead to the spot and the sun was getting lower and lower. I thought we were going to be too late. With a sigh of relief I recognized the area and saw the spot in front of me. We stopped, got out, walked to a lower area of the cliff where the sand is and held each other appreciating the view and calmness.

Not as calm for me, as I was thinking about what to do next and how I am going to let this play out. I hurried getting the Champagne out and pored some into the glasses. She warned me to be careful not to spill any of the expensive champagne. It was nothing out of the ordinary to have a camera and take some pictures of this sunset with Champagne. I started taking random photos with the idea of putting the camera on a rock to get some photos with both of us and me on my knee by using the timer. She still had no idea. After probably eight tries to get us both in the photo with the sun set and sea in the back ground, she wanted to sit. I had to persuade her to keep standing and said she can’t because then I’ll have to do everything over. (In the back of my mind I was thinking it will spoil the photo, I can’t ask her while sitting it won’t look right). So finally I set the timer on ten seconds after which it must take two photos, two seconds apart. To save some time I opened the uncomfortable little box in my pocket while running to her and got on one knee while the seconds ticked away. She was standing on the rocks and there was no place to kneel but I had to. Uncomfortable and off balance on one knee I asked her if she knew how much I loved her. After she replied yes, I showed her the ring and asked her if she will marry me.

She held her hand over her mouth by the time the first photo was taken, said yes and out of total shock and indescribable exhilarating happiness she grabbed me around my neck. Her glass of champagne spilled over us while she tried to kiss and hug me. With me being a bit off balance and her leaning on me I fell over onto the rocks with her on top of me. The timing for the second photo could not have been better to capture this moment. There was too much adrenalin for me to feel any pain from the rocks pressing against my back. We were both soaked with Champagne, expensive or not,  she couldn’t care less. Spilled some of it accidentally by tipping the bottle over and my toe was bleeding from hitting against the rocks.

Imperfect perfection, I could not ask for more!! It was the perfect way to ask my perfect fiancé and we have two amazing photos to remember it by. We finished the bit of Champagne we had left while the last bit of sunrays fell on our faces, bringing an end to an unforgettable time in our lives.

At the family farm

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