How did you meet?

Marty – Eleanor and I met on Bumble in early 2017. It was in the early days of those types of dating apps and from memory Bumble had only just come onto the scene. I remember it being an awkward topic explaining to people how we met, so the running joke between us at the time was that we’d just tell people we met at a design conference, which sounded much more sophisticated. 

Where was your first date?

M – Our first date was at Stomping Ground in Collingwood. It was a bit of a strategic choice on both of our behalf. Not too romantic and big enough to make a getaway if things went pear shaped. I had just hit my 1 year anniversary at work that day and got given a Dieter Rams book as a gift; knowing El was a designer too I knew I had something to fall back on if I needed to. Luckily she was a Rams fan as well and the rest is history. 

What were your first impressions of each other?

E – I remember thinking that Marty was a bit cool. He was wearing all black when we first met (classic designer’s uniform) and holding that Dieter Rams book…talking about how he goes surfing all the time and all the gigs he’d been going to. But as we relaxed into our first date I realised he was just a daggy kid from the suburbs just like me. His handsome face also helped keep me interested. 

M – This is really testing my memory here, but I remember El being incredibly sweet, funny and a real treat to be around – even on that first date! She might have had a totally different impression of me, but I think our similar personalities made it easier to hang out in those early days. We’re both a bit introverted and quiet (most of the time) – that combined with some very obvious shared interests (food, design, good looking dogs) ensured conversation was always interesting.

If your partner was a type of food, what would they be?

E – Marty would definitely be scrambled eggs. Very comforting and doesn’t need much to be a great meal, but equally can be jazzed up with a bit of spice or some herbs and they take on a whole new personality. Scrambled eggs was also the very first thing Marty ever cooked for me, back when we had only been dating for a few weeks. Watching him tend to those eggs with such care and attention was really something!

What was the biggest thing that surprised you about your partner?

M – Probably her competitiveness – not really in a classic sporting sense, but more so from a cards and board games perspective. One of my first Christmases with El’s family wrapped up with a card game that I had never played before but was supposedly a bit of a classic. I somehow managed to be victorious but also found myself on the receiving end of a few choice comments. I loved every minute of it!

E – For me it was probably how silly he is. Having a sense of humour and being quick to laughter is something I find incredibly attractive and it definitely doesn’t take much to make Marty laugh – at me mostly, but also at himself. When we first met I think he was a bit reserved and probably a bit nervous about embarrassing himself, but it didn’t take long for him to come out of his shell and there is definitely lots of silliness at home now. 

When did you realise that you wanted to marry this person?

M – It was less of a realisation and more of a growing appreciation (over a number of years) that Eleanor was going to be the person that I wanted to marry. I think there was a moment at a house party where we turned to each other and said something along the lines of “So…do you want to get married one day? Yeah sure, let’s do it!” – it’s little interactions like that – the no fuss, low key, let’s not make a big deal about it, style of our relationship that I believe has made life with each other so easy and enjoyable. We joke often that we are just the same person in male and female form and it’s not actually that far off if I’m honest – we seem to always have the same/similar outlook on things, whether they’re small (what’s on the dinner menu for the week?) or big (what type of wedding do we want to have?)

What is the biggest thing you have learnt from your partner?

E – Patience. And when it’s not worth getting upset about something. I have historically been someone with a bit of a quick temper, but some of Marty’s calm coolness has rubbed off on me since we’ve been together. Being patient when things don’t go to plan and not immediately jumping to anger or frustration is definitely something I’ve learned to do over the last few years.

How did you propose?

M – It’s probably worth giving a bit of backstory. I had grand plans to propose in Norway in April of 2020 but COVID ensured that that wasn’t going to happen. The next option on the list was to do it at Brae (in September) but after successive cancellations and postponements, it was clear that I had to adjust my expectations and just wait it out until we could actually leave the house. 

Fast forward to November and we were out for the first time in a long time. I had booked a pensioner hour dinner at Carlton Wine Room followed by a bit of wine time at The Moon and then cocktails at The Everleigh to round things out. Maybe it was the stress of knowing what was to come, or that we were not at all socially fit, but the night ended up being a bit of a blur in the best possible way. 

In terms of the actual proposal, El did know what was going on, or at the very least she had an inkling. I didn’t want any fanfare or any bending of the knee so I kept things pretty simple – just a couple of glasses of champagne at The Everleigh surrounded by some very excited bar staff and luckily the answer was a yes!

Why did you decide on a hand crafted ring?

M – When we started talking about some loose wedding plans – probably back in mid-late 2019 , we agreed from the outset that we would look to support friends and local businesses as much as possible. Luckily I knew Alice from university and had always admired the work she had done, so it was a no brainer for us when it came to deciding who we’d go to for both Eleanor and my rings. 

As designers and fans of anything handcrafted, we really wanted to be a part of the process with Alice and her team. It was really great to spend the time with her talking through different cuts and materials; ultimately landing on an engagement ring and set of wedding bands that were very much us.

Can you tell us a bit about the journey of collaborating on a bespoke ring and/or why you chose the specific design?

M – The journey all started with an email in late January 2020. I had no confidence in my own ability to pick something nice so I asked Eleanor to come along with me to our first meeting in February to go through some engagement ring options. I remember the day really well – it was a sunny Saturday morning in Cheltenham and it was the first official thing we did as part of our wedding planning so it was smiles all round. Despite some initial nerves –  i.e. I have no idea what I’m doing, what questions to ask or what to look for – Alice made us both feel immediately at ease and was so accommodating and generous with her time that we often look back on it as being one of our most enjoyable experiences.

E – It really was such a lovely morning. I had some initial ideas, but didn’t really know how to articulate what I wanted. Being able to try on a few things and see what we could do was super helpful and super exciting. I decided to go with a solitaire setting for a classic engagement ring vibe, but mixing it up with a beautiful salt and pepper diamond. It still surprises me sometimes how it catches the sun, and looks different in different light. I love it!

And then when we knew the date of our wedding we picked the conversation back up to start talking about wedding bands. For this I knew exactly what I wanted – something that nested around the diamond in my engagement ring so the two sort of locked together. I barely needed to explain anything, Alice knew exactly how to make it work and make it beautiful.

M – It was really great to get a look in this time and work on something bespoke for myself; I’ve never been much of a ring wearer so I was keen to explore something that was a little bit different, a little more interesting than what you might expect. One of the best parts of the whole experience was working on the wax cast with Alice while we were at the studio for our fitting – the initial signet shape was a little too sharp around the edges so we just rounded them off then and there!