We are so thrilled to announce the winner of Calleija Love Stories. It was a joy to read all the beautiful stories and it was an incredibly difficult challenge to only choose one. In the end, we were so touched by the story submitted by Landine. His devotion and steadfast love for his lovely wife, Phon was truly inspiring. She had no idea Landine entered the competition! We hope you enjoy Landine’s story as much as we did.
How did you meet your partner?
We met in high school both when we were fifteen and have been together ever since.
How did you propose to your partner? How did you know they were the one?
Our story was a bit like Romeo and Juliet. My family never got along well with my partner’s family and they never liked each other. Reputation was very important in our community and my partner’s family had a great reputation, whereas mine…not as much (hence the tension between the families). It was for this reason, and our traditional families, we first kept our relationship a secret from our parents and most of the adult community.
For five years we ensured our time together was very discreet and we did everything we could to prevent anyone from seeing us in public together. Finally, we felt we couldn’t allow our parents to dictate our lives and our future. As young adults aged 20, we felt like we could now make our own decisions. We both conjured the courage together to tell our parents that we were seeing each other and that we planned on being together for the rest of our lives. We felt they could either support it or we would just go our own way together without their blessings.
It was by far one of the hardest things we had to do, but we did it at the same time. Immediately, my parents got in the car, and told me to jump in. We were going to visit the home of my future in-laws. It was one of the most nervous experiences of my life. I did not know what could happen and whether or not her parents would let us in the front door.
As soon as we approached the house, we were awkwardly greeted and moved to the lounge where our parents sat and discussed our future. It was not going so well and I felt so out of place thinking at that time, “How am I going to rescue the love of my life from this and just run away together?” I thought her parents would never agree. While our parents were having their discussions, my partner came out of her room. I could see how emotional she had been this whole time listening in her room.
She walked over and sat down next to me. We held each other’s hands and tried to reassure each other that things will be ok. Her father looked over and at that moment, his walls came down and he gave in. The discussion started on how to split us up and then switched to our marriage. I remember hearing them say, “There is no way these two are going to be together unless they are married.” For us, we didn’t care, whatever it took to be together. The decision was made, and our wedding date was set not long after that day. On January 11th, 2003 we walked down the aisle, with the blessings of both our parents on that day. It was an unforgettable moment to witness my wife being handed off by her father on our special day.
What was one of your most romantic memories?
The first time we made a wish together. This story dates back to the first year of being together. We would normally go on dates to Southbank and enjoy a picnic in the park and take walks getting to know each other. We would often walk past a wishing well, but never paid much attention to it until one spontaneous day.
We looked at each other and both grabbed a coin, walked over to the well, paused to make our own wishes at the same time and tossed the coins into the well. At that time we never told each other what we had wished for.
Many years passed and thoughts of that moment were never really brought up in any of our conversations. Not long after we made a date to marry, we both remembered that day and decided to tell each other what we had wished for. My wish was to be with Phon for the rest of my life. I wanted to marry her one day and be the happiest boy ever. Phon’s wish was exactly the same.
Although we were very young at the time, we were not surprised that both of us had wished for the same things. It feels very special to actually know that what we had wished for came true.
What inspired your Calleija ring design?
When we knew we were to be married, we rushed to find a nice engagement ring. However, being a young man that worked part-time and saved whatever penny I could at that time, my budget was limited. That did not stop my partner from looking at wedding magazines to get ideas and inspiration for the design. One of the magazines she picked up had a very beautiful ring on the front cover and it was by Calleija. Of course, we never heard of such a brand and thought the ring that was displayed would be out of my budget.
We consulted a jeweller to design a similar ring, but before we could show the jeweller the ring design, my wife wanted to see if Calleija would have any other rings that would suit my budget. We took a drive down to Sanctuary Cove and arrived at the beautiful Calleija store. We of course felt somewhat out of place and very nervous going in.
Once we arrived our nerves were settled very quickly when presented by one of the loveliest representatives at that time. She welcomed us, sat us down and got to know why we were there and our story. She began by showing us some rings in the store, even though most rings were well out of my budget range.
The representative did not care and we were never judged, an experience we never had in previous stores we visited. We felt right at home. It was a sign.
After viewing several rings and different designs, my partner of course did not like any of them, but not because they were not good designs, they were all beautiful rings, it just wasn’t the one from the magazine.
I did not know this before we went into the store, but my wife was carrying the magazine in her handbag. As she pulled it out, she looked at me and said, “I just want to see it.” The representative saw the magazine and already knew which ring she was referring to.
As we looked at the picture of the ring, the representative asked, “Did you want to see the ring and try it on to see how it looks?” I remember at that very moment I was gutted and felt this rush of nervousness that made me want to run out of the store in embarrassment.
I think the representative knew this and just reassured me by saying, “There is no harm in having a look; it could be the perfect design and we could always work with you to make this happen.”
That made me feel at ease but then she said, “I will need to visit the vault…” Wow… this ring was sitting in the vault! Nevertheless, off the representative went. When the ring was presented to us, there was no turning back, it was absolutely beautiful and was the right one in terms of design.
We were able to work with Calleija on the exact same design but tailored to my budget. It was one of the most memorable and fulfilling shopping experiences I have ever had in my life even to this day, one that of course I would never forget.