Perfect timing.

Happy Monday, readers. And a happy Monday it is. This is a story that is going to set you up for the week. You will read it, and I guarantee that by the end of it you’ll be smiling. Carly’s story is a story of love, and how timing is everything, but also about how the length of time you know someone is not always important. 

If you had told me at the start of this year that I would meet my future husband and become engaged to him in 8 months time I would have thought that you were absolutely insane. I know I am an old romantic and that my career is based on photographing love stories and I’m obsessed with any sort of romance movie – despite all that I STILL would have thought you were insane.

I’m the youngest of four sisters and all of them are happily married. Even my identical twin, and that was not easy. My twin and I are so very close and when she met her husband, despite how incredibly lovely he is it was hard to see someone take my place. And I know those words look crazy written down, but it’s true. Kirsty is the first person I will share anything with. I’m the person she came to for hugs when she was desperately upset, so when this strange boy came on the scene, it took a while for me to get used to. But I did and I am so happy she met the one person who adores her most. In contrast, my love life was rubbish. I had been hurt in the past and was dating on and off and had even been persuaded by friends to go on dating websites. But after a string of disastrous dates I came home one night in November and decided that that was it. I was absolutely done and I would rather be on my own than date the wrong person for me. And it’s not that these guys were awful, some of them were absolutely lovely, but something in my heart told me after a few dates that they were not the one for me and I followed that feeling in my stomach. The feeling that still led to me being single but the proud owner of a puppy at the start of 2013 and my 31st year on the planet.

At the end of January I went to my friends house for a party. It was a fantastic night and at the end of the evening I remember being surrounded by the girls and being quizzed about my love life and lack thereof. And I remember one of them saying “Do you really want to be on your own for the rest of your life?’ My answer was no. So they convinced me to try online dating one more time. And I did. Without much enthusiasm, in fact the photo I used didn’t even show my face properly. I got lots of one sentence emails that were immediately deleted and with every single one I got asked if they could see a picture of what I looked like. Bar one. I got an email that was simply open and friendly and fun. And when I clicked on his profile I remembered his face from my first flurry into online dating because I emailed him a year ago and he never replied back to me (I like to remind him of this every now and then). Our short emails turned into longer ones and they turned into texts. Which then turned into a first meet up in a coffee shop in Belfast. It was only the day before that I sent him a photo of what I looked like so he knew who to look out for.

I will never forget that when we saw each other and when he sat in front of me with his coffee and his big smile, I vividly remember that he had the kindest eyes I had ever met. At the end of the date he insisted in walking me back to my car, 20 minutes in the opposite direction of his own journey home.

I didn’t fall head over heels in love and there were no fireworks (back then), but I knew with all my heart that I was in the company of the kindest guy I would ever meet. The next few dates after that were filled with nerves and even a teeny tiny freak out on my part after date 3 but it was on our 4th, when he insisted on driving through snow just so he could take me bowling and then surprised me with a picnic on the floor of his student accommodation, and we finally had our first kiss I knew absolutely that he was going to be a major feature in my life.  Flash forward a few months later I remember sending a text to my friend and telling her I had found the boy I would marry. I know she thought I was insane. At times i wonder if he had replied back to my first email over a year ago what would have happened, but I know without doubt that I was not in the right place to even think about meeting someone like him and neither was he. In fact when I wrote him a year ago both of us got off internet dating and had only just got back on when we connected again. Neither of us would have been ready for the other a year ago.

Flash forward to September 2014, in my handbag there’s a receipt for our booked wedding day. To our parents and immediate family it was absolutely no surprise, in fact they were more surprised we hadn’t done it sooner. Our love for the other is so blatantly obvious to anyone who sees us together. We were seperated for 6 weeks when he had to work in Canada during the summer and they were the longest 6 weeks of our lives. When we were reunited at the airport, we knew then with absolute certainty that we simply didn’t want to be seperated again. My mum believes entirely in positive thinking and putting things out into the universe. Earlier this week I was grabbing the train and I wanted to make business notes on the journey, so before I left the house I ran to my bedroom and grabbed what I thought was an empty notebook off my shelf. It was only when I opened the book I found letters I had written to my future husband that I had written a whole year ago. I wrote of our hopes and dreams and I described our life in detail and I wrote of how I felt when I was with him. I read the letters with my mouth wide open in shock and tears running down my face because every description I wrote is how my life is now with Him. I cannot wait to marry this boy. He is everything and more. He has made me stronger and he has made my love stronger for everything and everyone in my life. We cannot believe our luck.


PS When I emailed Carly to say that we’d love to feature this piece, she wrote back the following email with an update:

Oh that’s incredible!! Thank you so much!! When I sent it to you on Friday we had booked our wedding a week ago due to our time being limited next year and we were desperate to find a date in june that that the humanist said she was free on june 14thand so every door opened for that date and we would have been crazy not to book it. Although we physically felt engaged, Alan wanted to properly get down on one knee when I least expected it with the ring. On Saturday we went for one of our favourite walks and he surprised me on the beach beside the sea so now it truly is 100% official. We are both very happy indeed and thus email has made my morning.

Now readers, go, enjoy your Monday!

Categories: Engagement, Family, Friends and Relationships
9 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Caroline
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    What a lovely way to start the week. I love a good old fashioned love story…please can we have more “how I met my boyfriend/husband) posts? Because I’m soppy.

    Good luck to you both…! Can’t wait to hear all about your big day next year!

  2. Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Aww! The lovely feeling of being in love is described so beautifully here. I’m glad you found each other.

  3. Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Although I already know this love story, it has still made me feel all warm and fuzzy on an otherwise miserable Monday morning. Having the pleasure of knowing Carly in ‘real life’ (as it were) I can say with my hand on my heart I don’t think I have ever seen anybody light up quite so much when they talk about their partner as she does. That alone tells me that they’re made for each other, and given how insanely lovely Carly is, A must be a very special man indeed.

    I think it was before date number 2 (or 3?) that she was at my house doing the most wonderful love shoot with my whole family and while we were waiting to get sorted we were chatting about this new man she had met. When I recently told my grandparents that Carly and A were engaged I think they were nearly as thrilled as when I announced my engagement!!


    • Posted November 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much Hollie!! It was you who had me writing this in the first place :) I remember very well telling you about our first dates and going on to a date with him after photographing your grandparents love story. Your grandparents story was and is very inspiring to me so I’m delighted that your grandparents were thrilled xx

  4. Alison
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Aww this is lovely. Finding love is lovely, especially when you’ve resigned yourself to being single and it sort of comes out of the blue! I too had a fourth date freak out from my internet date (now husband of two years) so hope that’s a good sign for you guys too! Good luck with wedding planning, hope you share it all with us :)

  5. ClaireH
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Awwwww this is all so sweet, I’m grinning happily for you both! Wonderful way to start a Monday morning, thank you so much for telling us all about this :) I hope all the planning goes well and you have a wonderful day.

    I’ve also just got enagaged to my internet boy (although it did take us three and a half years) and like you, one of the things that really sticks in my mind from our first date is just his lovely kind eyes. Almost right from the start I just felt so safe and happy with him…even though in total self-protection I tried for the first few months to convince myself he was obviously way more into me than I was into him!!

    Claire x

  6. Carly
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    This is such a lovely story, made me all smiley this morning!

    And I am also a Carly with an identical twin!!


  7. Posted November 4, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    This has brought a tear to my eye. I absolutely love a good love story, and this is an amazing one!! Wishing you and your lovely man all the happiness in the world Carly, but it sounds like you already have it :) xx

  8. Posted November 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    What a cracking way to fend off the afternoon lull – so happy for you both Carly!! That picture at the bottom just makes me grin from ear to ear.

    It may not be the main focus of your post but the paragraph about your twin sister made me well up, I hope my girls are as close as you are with your sister. Reading that was like a little flash into the future. xx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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