In July 2017, way before they knew of each others existence, Alba and Claire moved to London to start their first graduate jobs – Claire fresh out of the University of Exeter and Alba arriving in London all the way from Spain. They both happened to have had their first day of work on the same day, however, the first few months were spent adapting to working life and enjoying the dating scene that London had to offer.
Towards the end of 2017, they both found themselves on OKCupid (a dating app), and whilst waiting for her flight home to Spain for Christmas, Alba had a notification on her phone that she had a match.
Alba always says to Claire that she liked her blue eyes but wasn’t completely sure from Claire’s profile if she would be a good personality fit…luckily she decided to give Claire a chance and sent her a message asking “what’s been your biggest adventure”. The pair then spent the Christmas break messaging each other in between parties and family celebrations talking about travel, literature, film, and comparing British and Spanish Christmas traditions and wished each other a happy new year at midnight on the 31st. On the 1st January Claire took the plunge and asked Alba if she’d like to meet on the 2nd January after work and of course after such engaging and sparkling conversations she had to say yes!
Ironically, their first date nearly started off as a disaster as Alba was nearly 10 minutes late to meet Claire. Claire was pretty convinced she had been stood up.
Once Alba had arrived, they headed to a cute restaurant near Claire’s office – which just happened to specialise in beautiful, fancy kebabs that the waiter recommended they eat with their hands – needless to say, it was a bit of a risky choice of food for a first date.
Luckily they both managed to eat their dinner gracefully and all seemed to be going well until Claire attempted to go to the bathroom and wasn’t able to open the door… It was a tiny restaurant so she was visible to everyone as she struggled with the door. Embarrassed and flustered Claire turned to look at Alba who was smiling and gestured that it was a sliding door, not a pull!
They both agree that moment of complicity, humour and teamwork was when they really started to feel like they were with someone special. Alba also paid for dinner for both of them. Claire explains this was the first time anyone had ever done that for her so she was feeling very flattered and a little swept off her feet!
They reluctantly said goodbye at Oxford Circus station, with Claire grabbing Alba’s hand and promising to book another date.
Claire knew that she wanted to marry Alba about 3 months into their relationship. From the first date, she really swept Claire off her feet. They did a surprise weekend trip to Bath, a last-minute trip to Vietnam together, Alba met Claire’s parents around 2 months after they started dating and most importantly really, Claire’s younger sister ended up in hospital in Liverpool seriously ill and close to death’s door for many months (she’s since recovered!) and despite the newness of their relationship Alba was fiercely loving and supportive of both Claire and her family. Shortly after Claire’s sister became ill, she decided to officially move into Alba’s flat in London after having unofficially spent a lot of time there for support and company.
They both spoke very openly from the beginning of their love of weddings and even only 3/4 months into their relationship they started a note entitled “wedding plans” on Claire’s phone and jotted down any ideas or thoughts they had for a future wedding that they didn’t want to forget – from best man favours to possible food and cake options. They both knew that they were very serious about their relationship and they wanted something long term.
Claire can’t remember when exactly they decided who would be doing the proposing, but Claire was really keen to have the chance to ask her in a beautiful and meaningful way.
Alba knew that Claire was planning to propose because they’d discussed it so openly together from the beginning. Alba is a sucker for weddings and proposals so Claire wanted to make sure she asked her somewhere beautiful and somewhere that was just the two of them – plus one person to take photographs. It sounded easy until you brought a pandemic into the equation.
Claire found us (Ethica Diamonds) over Christmas 2019 when looking for an ethical/eco-friendly diamond company. One of the biggest things Alba and Claire have in common is their love of nature and the outdoors and our concerns about being responsible consumers. Claire knew even before looking for an engagement ring that the diamond mining industry is the exact opposite of ethical or eco-friendly and she was determined that if they were honouring their relationship with a diamond, it would be one that matched their personal values. A Google search bought up plenty of blogs and recommendations and initially Claire was looking for a vintage / second-hand diamond however the choices of styles were limited or didn’t really match what she was looking for. She explains that she was so happy when she found Ethica Diamonds because it was a sustainable and eco-friendly option and there was such a huge choice of styles and a variety of options for personalisation, and obviously importantly they were all within budget too. They looked at a few styles together, but once Alba had let Claire know she preferred a shoulder-set style, Claire chose a short-list of options and narrowed it down to one – Estella. She then kept the tab open on her phone for the next year so she wouldn’t forget her choice until she was finally able to buy the ring in December 2020! “The buying experience was so easy and smooth and all my conversations with support were friendly and thoughtful!”
The proposal plan was a wild ride! Claire’s first plan was to take Alba on holiday to Iceland for her birthday in August 2020 and propose behind a famous waterfall there, thanks to COVID plan number one didn’t quite work out…
They then moved to Spain in September 2020 and Claire hoped that it would give her plenty of opportunities to take Alba somewhere beautiful to ask the question, but unfortunately local restrictions left them unable to leave their city until the new year. Finally, at last on the 6th January (Kings Day / Epiphany) which is a special feast day in Spain for family and gift giving, they were able to take a day trip to a beautiful location near the Pyrenees and Claire was able to propose.
Because Alba already knew Claire was going to propose, Claire was keen to add a small surprise element to the proposal, so she bought her a special notebook customised with their initials and she wrote a note inside for her to read.
On the day of the proposal, they walked to a beautiful beach on the edge of the water and Claire handed her the notebook pretending it was her “Kings Day present” and asking her to read the front page. Whilst she was reading the note, Claire was able to pull out the ring and wait for her answer.
Luckily, she said yes! They took some beautiful photos, enjoyed a picnic on the beach and headed home. What you can’t see in the photos is how cold it was! It was below 0 degrees, so whilst they’re not wearing gloves in the photos we put them back on pretty quickly afterwards!
They are hoping to get married in January or February next year in Spain, in the Pyrenees, just something small and intimate with close family and then they will have separate special celebrations with their wider family and friends in the UK and Spain afterwards.