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A match made in Disney; My engagement story

30 Nov 2018

Ahead of her wedding to fiancé Matt Cox, Catherine Hiley from Southampton shares the journey to her big day which began with a proposal at the happiest place on earth

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Image gallery

My fiancé has always been completely sure he wanted to marry me. So much so that he told me the first time we went out for a drink together.

We met at the Disney Store in Southampton eight years ago when I started working there to support myself through university. I've always been a huge Disney fan, so getting a job there (even if it was a part-time shop gig) was a dream come true. Matt already worked there as part of the management team and we had so much fun working together.

Because of this, Disney has always been a huge part of our lives together. We watch the films constantly, go on holiday to the theme parks and, when we bought our first home, we themed everything around Disney. We have a Sleeping Beauty bedroom, a Little Mermaid en-suite, a Finding Nemo bathroom and a Minnie and Mickey living room.

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So, of course, it was no surprise to anyone that Matt decided to propose in Disneyland, California. It's my favourite place in the whole world and it's the first place we ever went on holiday together.

We went back to Disneyland on 14th October 2018. On the first day of our holiday, we were having a lovely day in the happiest place on earth, going on as many rides as we could when I asked to get a photo in front of the castle. Matt pointed out that is was very crowded in front of the castle and asked if we could get our photos taken in front of Snow White's wishing well instead, which is just to the side of the castle. 

There was a cast member taking official photos by the wishing well and a few guests milling around. Matt asked the cast member if she would take some professional photos of us and spent a while talking to her, which seemed a bit odd. But to be honest, I was so happy to be in Disneyland, I barely noticed. Then as she was taking photos, Matt went down on one knee, pulled a Disney ring box out of his pocket and asked me to marry him.

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Of course I said 'yes' and the cast member gave us a free pass to get as many professional photos taken throughout the week, so we had our engagement photo shoot around the parks.

The ring itself is the Snow White ring from the Disney Enchanted jewellery collection. Matt told me afterwards that he'd always wanted to propose by Snow White's wishing well as the first time we went there together, he threw a coin in and wished that one day we would get married... so the Snow White ring felt appropriate. Besides, he figured that the diamonds in the Snow White ring must have been mined by the dwarfs themselves.

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We really wanted to get married in Disneyland but it's sadly a bit out of our price range. So we're getting married on Thursday 25th July 2019 at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Southampton instead. If we can't get married in Disneyland, we at least want to have a magical honeymoon there, so we're trying to economise on the wedding as much as possible, and the DoubleTree Hilton had a really good Groupon offer.

When we went to have a look round the venue, we met the wedding planner, Jake, who was so lovely and so excited about our wedding, we instantly got a really good feeling about the place, and the surroundings are really picturesque. Naturally, we want to make everything Disney-themed, from the invites and table centrepieces to the clothes, music and cake. And Jake is only too happy to do everything he can to help us theme it down to the very last detail, which is fantastic.

Stay tuned for my next instalment, where I tackle a topic that many brides will relate to... how to feel good on your big day. 

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