Our Engagement Story

Let’s rewind to three weeks ago.

It happened. Six days ago, I said “yes” to the biggest question I’ll ever be asked in my life. 

As I sit writing this 30,000ft in the air, I can finally stop for a moment and let it sink in. The week has been so busy that I’ve hardly had a moment to put work aside and actually just think. I’m on my way home to New Zealand, where our families are waiting and we will get to celebrate together. 

Last Saturday was the best day of my life so far. 

It’s absolutely surreal to be waiting for something for what feels like forever and then, finally, it happens! I can’t imagine what waiting for a baby someday might be like… patience isn’t my strongest quality. 

I knew I would say this… it was so worth waiting for. The day couldn’t have been more perfect and I felt God’s presence throughout the whole day. 

Sam planned the most incredible day, starting at a fresh 3am. He arrived at my house with the sweetest grin on his face, looking incredibly handsome in his white shirt and grey suit jacket (a personal favourite). With coffee waiting in the car on the passenger seat, we set off. In that pickup moment, the anticipation was real. I had no idea what was planned, but I had an inkling that this potentially could be the day. 

After a 30 minute car ride down the coast, Sam pulls into the strangest carpark. Surrounded by cheap Asian takeaway shops and a supermarket, he turns off the car and looks at me with a different kind of grin on his face. I was so confused and asked why on earth we had stopped here, of all places? 

Turns out this was just a pick-up point… to go on a hot air balloon flight! My jaw dropped open, which was apparently funny to Sam, and the excitement levels (along with disbelief) rose quickly.

When I was just a little girl, my Grandparents took me to some kind of festival where there were loads of hot air balloons and I was captivated by them. Ever since then, it’s been a life dream of mine to take a ride in one. 

It was the most amazing experience. As the sun slowly rose and lit up Queensland, we floated over 1km up in the air. It was beautiful. Looking down, I loved seeing the flocks of birds flying below us, particularly some white ones that were glowing in the morning light. We held each other close and barely needed to say a word – the quick glances of awe said it all. 

After our graceful landing, the next stop was revealed to me: a champagne breakfast at a pretty vineyard nearby. We both had eyes way too big for our stomachs, but the food was delicious and we sipped our champagne, saying a joyful “cheers” to the special day. Quite honestly, if the proposal hadn’t happened later, I still would have been perfectly content with that being the dreamiest morning possible. The vineyard randomly had a bunch of alpacas so we got a sneaky pat in through the fence, and then it was time to keep moving. 

I knew if a proposal did happen, it wasn’t going to happen right away or during a big event per se. So after leaving the vineyard, the nervous butterflies starting fluttering and the anticipation ramped up. 

Sam’s joy on this day really spoke to me. In every moment, I could tell he was a little nervous, but he was so incredibly joyful (despite, as I later learned, only having 2 hours sleep the night before!).

It was time for the last final destination. We continued to drive down the Gold Coast and eventually I realised where we were: Burleigh. This place has become so special to us after moving to Brisbane in February. It’s been our go-to day trip spot and we’ve always had the best days here. In particular, there’s one rock, slightly hidden off the path of a walking track, that has become our go-to place for watching sunsets. We’ve shared precious moments on this rock and also just embraced peaceful rest away from the business of our lives. 

Sam walked me to our rock and that’s when I knew. With the announcement of “So, I have a letter for you” my heart started racing. Letters have been a key part of our relationship. Since high school, dozens have been written back-and-forth, expressing our love to each other. I can’t wait to collect a whole lifetime of them.  

In this letter, Sam read 10 reasons why he wants spend the rest of his life with me. With every point, my emotions built and by Reason 7, I began to lose it. I was shaking like a leaf (because that’s what I weirdly do when I’m emotional… I’m not a crier, I’m a shaker). 

He asked me to stand. My handsome love knelt down on one knee, with big blue eyes gazing up at me, and said “Renee Elizabeth Allison… will you marry me?” 

I didn’t even see the ring, my “yes” barely got out even though my heart screamed it. A huge hug was just the number one priority. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the most joyful moment of my life. I have never experienced the amount of joy I felt on that day and that’s just one way I know that God was in that moment with us. 

A little crowd of people above us up on the walkway must have watched the moment because as I threw my hands around Sam’s neck, a chorus of cheers and clapping broke out. This made it so special too. 

After stopping for a moment to actually see the ring and have it slid on my finger, Sam says “so, this is Cam!” And out pops a sneaky photographer friend! I hadn’t even noticed him! It was so perfect to take some photos of the moments to follow, break open the champagne, and just know that we’ll get to keep beautiful images of this moment forever. The fact that I didn’t even know Cam was there was so hugely appreciated (because a non-discrete third wheel photographer up in our grill would not have been great.) 

The day was perfect. I’m still so overwhelmed and thankful for the support and love that we have been shown. It was such a huge revelation to me just how much people value love. 

I am so excited to plan a wedding! I’m getting married! I’m going to be a wife! These “oh my gosh” moments have snuck through my mind all week. Especially while gazing at a perfect diamond now on my left hand… 

Most of all, what overwhelms me with joy is that I am marrying the man who I have loved since I was 15 years old. The only man who has given me a safe place to be truly myself; to be fully vulnerable and share my story. The man who stole my first kiss in the driveway of my home. The man who took me to three balls my senior year (and wore a Naval uniform polished with a hat and sword to one…). The man who I have moved to two new countries with and travelled to many others. The man who has revealed to me a kind of love that I’ve never known and once believed I wasn’t worthy of. This man always seeks to love better and understand more. This man makes me feel truly known. 

Samuel Paul Brebner, I am so excited to live this life with you and to choose you endlessly. 

I cannot wait to be your wife. 

A huge thank you to Cameron who captured our special moment. Go check out his amazing work!

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