Dave and Judi met online dating in August 2009 through eHarmony and, despite living 200 miles apart, became inseparable. Luckily their children, and even their pets, were more than happy with the union. After a proposal, which didn’t quite go to plan, the couple married 18 months later in a lovely country hotel on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire borders.
I now hand you over to Dave to tell their story:
“To be honest, when I joined eHarmony I was pretty sceptical as to whether these sites could really work or not. The whole personality questionnaire thing intrigued me and when I read my Personality Profile at the end of the questionnaire, I was amazed at how accurate a portrait of me it appeared to be.”
With his Personality Profile complete, it didn’t take long before Dave found someone who caught his attention.
“I was immediately struck by Judi’s photos and her answers on her profile so thought I would drop her a quick icebreaker to “say hi”. To my amazement she answered almost immediately (I have subsequently found out that followed enthusiastic encouragement from her daughters!) and we started immediate open conversation. Two or three days and numerous emails later we exchanged personal email addresses and mobile numbers.”
Long distance love
Living 200 miles apart, Dave and Judi’s paths would never normally have crossed but, realising they had found something special, they were determined to make it work. Although it was tough at first they tried to see each other as much as possible – mainly at weekends. But this made Monday mornings really hard when they had to wake up without each other.
To overcome this, Dave gave Judi a small box on their first Christmas together, which contained 52 small envelopes with dates on – one to open every Monday morning for the next year.
The first one said – “I love you because you’re the best Christmas present and I get to unwrap you again and again.” Judi resisted the urge to open them all and instead opened one every Monday morning from then on, as she was supposed to. Each note started with, “I love you because…”.
Introducing the families
As both Dave and Judi had children from previous relationships, introducing them for the first time was always a worry. Happily, after the first nervy introduction, they all got on like a house on fire and even went on their first short break after only a few months together – which was a huge success.
“We have both been extremely lucky so far, as both sets of kids have been genuinely pleased that we have got together, and indeed all of the kids have actively encouraged us to move things on.”
“We both made it very clear from the outset that if there was any resentment from the kids early on in the relationship, then there would have been immense pressure which would have meant any early merging of our two families would have been impossible.” “We decided early on that we would keep the kids out of the relationship for the first few weeks at least so that we could get the time to know each other first, without any additional external pressures.”
“Because we both knew pretty much instantly that things were going to work out, we made an initial introduction of all the kids after about seven or eight weeks of the relationship. We decided that a trip to the cinema, followed by a meal would be the ideal way to break the ice – and it worked like a dream. Initially there was a bit of shyness all around, but after a very short while it was as if they had known each other for ages. Kids are extremely adaptable.”
“After the initial cinema experience, it was only a matter of a week or so before we went the whole hog and booked up a short break in Cornwall together so that we could all really get to know each other better. Again this was a huge success and everyone got on fantastically well the whole week. Indeed, because Judi and her kids had to leave a day earlier than me and my two, my eldest daughter wrote a note in her diary saying how sad it was because they were all leaving and that she wished they could go too now as “it just won’t be the same without them all”.”
“The family bonding wasn’t just about the kids though. Judi has a cat and I have a dog (who normally chases cats and has never been in the same room as one for more than a few seconds!). After five minutes they were both sharing a room together very happily and, indeed, deliberately making a point of rubbing noses and being close.”
“More was still to come. I had 16 chickens, including about nine very small chicks, and Judi’s cat had a notorious reputation for catching and killing birds. When we moved in, though, and the chickens were let loose for the first time, the cat ignored them all completely. It was truly amazing.”
“Our experience has proved that there can be a really harmonious bonding of families if everyone is fully behind the idea and we both feel sure that the closeness of us all will only get better in the years to come.”
A ‘not quite perfect’ proposal
Even from the off, Dave saw a future with Judi and less than a year later he had popped the question. He recalls:
“I knew when I was driving home after our first date that it was going to lead to something fantastic – there was never any doubt in my mind, and that night I even phoned into a radio station on the long drive back home saying I had just been on a date that had changed my life, and so it proved!”
Dave decided Valentine’s Day 2010 was the day to ask, however, despite his best efforts, events didn’t quite go to plan.
“I had been thinking for a while about how to pop the question and wanted it to be something really special. In the end, though, it didn’t work out quite as planned and very nearly didn’t happen at all as two of Judi’s children were taken slightly ill and her visit to Sussex for the weekend was almost cancelled.”
“My babysitter had also let me down so my two girls were at home that night too, both anxiously awaiting and listening eagerly at the door as they knew what I had planned. I had cooked a three course meal which four of us ate together – not quite the plan!”
“Despite the two extra guests, the dozens of candles in the room set the right tone for what was to follow. I’m pretty sure the proposal came as a total surprise to Judi, but thankfully she had absolutely no hesitation in saying yes straight away and first thing the next morning we went off shopping for an engagement ring.”
The intimate Big Day
When it came to choosing a venue, Dave and Judi were in wholehearted agreement and the date was set for 26th March 2011. Judi’s dress was from a little boutique shop in Malvern. It was made of Italian lace and the veil was also Italian – a reminder of a trip to Tuscany.
“We had both commented that there was a lovely looking country hotel in a little village in the centre of a large heath, so when we discussed venues we both agreed straight away that it would be the ideal place. As soon as we walked in we both knew that it was perfect as it was small and intimate, and the staff were immediately excited and enthusiastic about hosting our Big Day. The Corse Lawn Hotel was booked on the same day we viewed it.”
“Our aim for the day was to keep things pretty informal but most of all to ensure that everyone had fun throughout the day and really relaxed and enjoyed it. We had only invited about 25 of our closest friends and family as we wanted to share our special day with the people that meant the most to us and, from start to finish, I am certain that everyone there just relaxed and enjoyed the celebration.”
“For the food, there was a choice of starters and main courses so that everyone was catered for as we had a couple of vegetarians in the party. Rather than the traditional wedding cake, everyone was given an individual, handmade cup cake”.
Bring Me Sunshine!
When asked what their favourite moment of the day was, Dave and Judi had a definite stand-out.
“Rather than leaving to the strains of the Wedding March, we had the Morecombe & Wise theme tune ‘Bring Me Sunshine’ playing, and left the room skipping out with arms and legs flailing everywhere…complete with Eric Morecombe glasses too, of course! From that moment on the mood was set for the rest of the day. There were no nerves on the big day, just a lot of laughter and that’s exactly what we wanted the day to be remembered for“
Online dating success story
There’s no looking back for Dave and Judi. Without the confidence to try online dating, they would never have met. Now the couple have their happy ending, Dave offers some advice to single people in their 40s who are thinking about giving online dating a try:
“It can be very difficult when you’re in your 40s and you’re single. For most of us it means that a previous relationship has ended and we all have a bit of baggage to deal with. You can feel very self-conscious when you’re out socialising as a single, but using online dating can really open new horizons to you.”
“Because we were so ideally matched by eHarmony UK, when we first met up it wasn’t like meeting a stranger. We already knew we had so much in common and both had the attitude that the past isn’t worth dwelling upon and it’s only the future we build together that counts.”
“Life has never been better since we both took the plunge and signed up with eHarmony, and my world is a much brighter place now that Judi is in it.”
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