Alison and James met in Bristol after a master's degree and work bought them both to the city.
“Turns out, our mums only live about 40 mins from each other in Surrey/Hampshire but Bristol's what brought us together!”
On paper they're complete opposites - Jim works in cyber security, likes to be inside, playing on his computer or building something else technology-based, ideally with a beer. Whereas Alison, as an ecologist, would much rather be outside looking for animals or drawing with a cup of tea in-hand. Somehow though, that 'opposites attract' thing worked out pretty well.
“We still frequently choose the opposite if there are two options for dinner, or fold a sheet the opposite way if trying to do so together - it's become a running joke! Our trip to the north-east of the USA (where we got engaged) was even planned to be both a city-break and a nature-tour to keep both of us happy!”
The only slight change of plan was the engagement location... It was planned meticulously (a very Jim trait) to be at the top of Mount Washington at sunset having had front-row seats on the cog railway to the top (trains/technology to keep Jim happy, great views of the autumnal trees for me, perfect.)
They did do that trip on the day, but a quick check of the weather saw a bit of a change of plan....
It turns out, more often than not, that the view from the top of Mount Washington is a complete white-out and there's even a sign to say so at the top!
“Thankfully I mentioned that Maine (our previous stop on the tour) is pretty famous for its lighthouses and that it might be cool to go and see a couple on our way out.”
Jim seized the moment and instead, popped the question in front of Portland Head Light. All of this was a complete surprise to Alison who had no idea what was going on, so much so that her first reaction was to leap back in shock saying "NOOO"! We’re pleased to report that it was, however, followed quickly by the "YES!"
“It was not exactly my best move and one I don't think I'll ever live down!”
Fast forward a little and it was time for Alison and Jim to do some research and to design their rings. Initially Pinterest led Alison to the idea of wooden bands and then, coincidentally, an Arborist she used to work with actually had one.
“Eco Wood Rings was top of our list for a few reasons: contact-ability, customisation options and great reviews.”
Alison knew that she wanted something a bit different for her wedding ring. The engagement ring James designed for her is beautiful (a classic style of a single diamond set in a gold band) so she wanted something that would complement it but also tell a story. James is not big on wearing jewellery, so he wanted something that he would be happy to wear, and which was a bit more personal than a standard metal band.
Alison describes their ring design ideas:
"James - James' ring was always going to be the simpler of the two! He is very into craft beer, and we got engaged in Portland in Maine. Portland is known for James' two favourite things - breweries and lobster which is why he chose to have beer cask wood as a double inlay to resemble a beer barrel. He also chose titanium for the metal as it's not as shiny as silver/white gold and is very light which is great for someone who doesn't wear jewellery!
Alison - It took a while, but I ended up having a lot of ideas for my ring, so it was hard to pin them down! Settle in, it's a long one! Our engagement in Portland was part of a bigger tour of the North-east of the USA in autumn which included a few days in New York with friends followed by a tour on our own of the National Parks and north-eastern states to see all the autumnal colours. The maple trees were the highlight and I like how maple wood is a similar/complementary colour to my yellow gold engagement ring so knew that would be the wood for my ring straight away. I loved the idea of a fully bent-wood ring but my job means I'm outside in the elements a lot so I wanted to make sure my ring could sustain that so opted for the gold liner. For the inlay I knew I wanted it to be subtle but very personal. I chose a mixture of dried lavender (which borders the aisle of our wedding venue), sapphire (mine and James' birthstone) and mother of pearl and lapis lazuli (for a bluer colour and subtle sparkle). I initially wanted to include shavings from the wedding/engagement rings of my grandparents, but for a number of reasons (my end) this wasn't feasible in the end so the gold liner/sapphire/sparkle in my ring also pay tribute to them.
I would like to include how great EWR have been with the process though and making sure that both rings are perfect even when we've requested changes, so thank you!”
Congratulations to both, Alison & Jim who, despite having to delay plans due to lockdowns, finally tied the knot earlier this month! 💚🌞🌿
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