STEVEN McIntosh didn’t just pop the question. He was so confident of a positive response that he arranged the marriage celebrant and invited the guests first, then surprised his partner with a commitment ceremony beside her father’s grave.
Lynne Prowd of Maryborough hates surprises, so for her long-time partner to choose a graveyard in which to promise a lifetime of love in the presence of family and friends, and without her having the opportunity to dress for the occasion, was a brave, brave move.
However this was one surprise that, after first expressing a few profanities, Lynne said she would treasure for the rest of her life, for all the right reasons.
The gesture was so typical of the man she loves – Aussie larrikin on the outside and wonderfully sentimental on the inside.
Steve said it was love at first sight when they met 11 years ago.
“Having both been married previously with unhappy endings, we had lost the taste for wedding cake and all the fanfare that goes with it. Not to mention the enormous costs involved.
“We have always planned to have some form of ceremony to substantiate our relationship, with the view that it would be simple and discreet. It would be very personal, with no legalities, vows or holy matrimony – easy, just like our relationship.
“During the Christmas period just passed, we were in country Victoria to share the festivities with family and friends.
“In secret, with the help of Lynne’s mother Judy and our daughter Kylana Ruby, I planned to have the ceremony next to Lynne’s father’s resting place.
Steve explained that soon after meeting Lynne he told her father, Fred Prowd, he would someday ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
“Sadly, Fred Prowd passed away suddenly a few years ago. He was, and always will be, extremely close to us all,” Steve said.
So it was fitting their commitment ceremony was held at a place where Fred was sure to be nearby.
“The tricky thing was to arrange for our closest friends to be there. My friend Anthony and his wife Kylie from Melbourne, as well as Lynne’s friend Silvana and her husband Shane from Cairns made a huge effort to meet us at the small Lang Lang cemetery in South East Gippsland.
“When I asked them, they both said they wouldn’t have missed being there as our unofficial Best Man and Matron of Honour for anything so I hastily met with and organised a civil celebrant to perform the commitment ceremony. Amazingly, it all came together perfectly.
“The most remarkable thing about this wonderful event was that it was all arranged in two days and we kept it secret from Lynne for the next two weeks while we holidayed in Tasmania. The day after we returned the weather was stunning. At 9am on December 22, Lynne, Judy, Kylana and I went to the cemetery to pay our respects to Fred.
“At 9.15am, Lynne was totally astounded and extremely delighted when she glanced around to see our friends with the celebrant Elizabeth, walking up the main path through the tiny cemetery toward us. Tears flowed freely.
“It was truly magnificent. Under a stunning blue sky, we exchanged single red roses and smiled adoringly into each other’s eyes throughout the entire ceremony. Lynne’s sweet tears of joy when we kissed will linger on my tongue forever.
“We all celebrated in the car park afterwards with charged glasses of cold champagne and plenty of chocolate dipped strawberries. Superb.”