Nearly two years ago, my soul mate (or as close as you can get, the [Tim Minchin-esque] cynic in me feels compelled to add!) proposed to me in beautiful Bayahibe. Over that summer I managed to put a few ideas together, before being thrown into an intense teacher training year that left little time for us to talk, let alone plan a wedding! We are in an interesting situation, I work as an English teacher at a Secondary school here in the UK, working my a$$ off day in, day out; leaving me no time, other than holidays to plan for my big day. Therefore, last summer, I found myself suddenly with time to breathe, time to take a break and time to obsess over a day that seemed both scarily close and horrendously far away at the same time! I planned A LOT. I crafted A LOT. I posted on here A LOT. I delved, as much as I could, into this wonderful world of chiffon, flowers and bubbles. There have been trials and tribulations over the past year: family and friends doing the 'yes/no/yes/no' dance as to whether they'll even attend, flights STILL not being released and guilt trips galore. But despite this, I am happy to (at last!) be able to say that I will be saying 'I do' next year, and (hopefully without feeling as foolish now that it's getting closer) I can share with you my story, my DIY to date and my INCREDIBLY gradual build up to my 'I DO' moment. THE START: FI and I were friends for an entire year before the thought of being together had even crossed our minds. My best friend (or new uni flatmate at the time) had gotten together with FI's best man our first week of uni, and thus a wonderful new circle of friends was formed. Despite us being in the same circle, there were members of the group that each of us was closest to, with little overlap. So despite the fact that we were both always around each other, I don't think either of us really even noticed the other... We went a full year in that same circle, talking to each other every now and again, but never anything more. To be honest, I'm pretty certain he thought I was a gobby cow and aimed to avoid me as best he could . But then the group got smaller. I lost one of my sub-group, and he lost one of his... We grew closer over the passing months, though I don't think either of us really noticed it at the time. And eventually we ended up at a party, the only singletons amongst our vastly diminished group (and a lot of people neither of us knew)... the couples departed; we stayed. The rest, as they say, is history... THE PROPOSAL: FI and I had always talked about getting married, even from early on in the relationship we'd tripped up and accidentally talked about 'our wedding', and we'd already bought a ring (albeit months earlier on a trip away) The day itself though, was perfect from start to finish. We'd visited the Dominican Republic the year before and had loved the people, the culture and the stunning scenery so much that we'd booked to return less than a year later, albeit to a different part of the country. This time we were to stay down the beach from the fishing village of Bayahibe, at a resort called Dreams La Romana. The morning began with breakfast in bed and the opening of presents and cards to mark my 22nd birthday. By 9am we were at 'The Private Corner' a secret spot with the ocean-view jacuzzi that wey had pre-hired to celebrate my surviving another year. It comprised of many wonderful elements: a meeting with Edwin- our wonderful personal waiter for the day (and amigo for the duration of our stay ), a *lot* of champagne and corona, meerkat raving (don't ask), a three course gourmet meal and a couples massage. It was so lovely to relax and spend quality time together being silly, and it will forever remain one of the most perfect days of our lives. At sunset FI suggested that we went for a walk down the beach, where we watched the waves splash against the rocks and shared some romantic words, all of which are a blur now. (I also took to photographing the scenery, completely oblivious to the fact that he'd left the ring back at the jacuzzi- I think he nearly had a heart attack!) As we walked back to our special spot, FI pointed down to behind some flowers, 'surprised' to see a turtle (of the cuddly variety) protecting a ring box. (I'd always joked that when he proposed he should have a [real] turtle present it to me in its mouth . This was a superior option to a lost ring and a dead turtle! Turtles were kind of an in joke, and a continued theme in our wedding) At this point I grabbed him and kissed him, preventing him from even being able to ask the all important question! When I finally released him, he got down on one knee and asked. Obviously I said YES!