As print advertisements go, it had a very specific target market but a 100 per cent success rate.
When Hartley man Sam Hayden wanted to propose to his girlfriend Meredith Warren, he took out a full-page advertisement in the Blue Mountains Gazette.
The couple was having breakfast at Echoes Restaurant and Bar in Katoomba on September 13 when the maitre d’ brought over a copy of the latest Gazette, which Mr Hayden suggested his girlfriend read. When she opened the paper to see the full-page marriage proposal, Ms Warren said she was shocked, “but I was really happy he had put so much thought and effort into it”.
Her answer was an instant yes.
Mr Hayden said he thought of several unusual ways to propose before deciding to do it via his local paper.
“I wanted to do something extra special and a bit different that would show Meredith how much I loved her so came up with a list of things like having my proposal written in the sky with white smoke... I also thought of proposing on a hot air balloon,” he said.
“A full page advertisement in the local paper, which I know she reads, was in the mix and was something that I thought would get the most attention.”
Mr Hayden, had been single since his divorce from his first wife 10 years ago, while Ms Warren, had been single since returning from the United States three years ago where she was working as a model.
They are both Christians and vegans – two ‘deal breakers’ that made the task of finding each other all the more challenging.
“No online [dating] search produced a single result when you combine vegan and Christian within 100km or 200km from Hartley,” said Mr Hayden, a chief financial officer for a St Marys company.
The couple only met three months ago through Ms Warren’s mother, Lillian, who helps run a group at Blackheath Baptist Church that Mr Hayden attends.
“Lillian found out that I was a vegan and invited me to her place for lunch to meet her daughter as we had a common interest in animal welfare and being vegan,” he said.
“I went to lunch with no expectations… [but] after only a handful of dates we both knew we were meant for each other. It was an instant connection on every level - emotional, physical, spiritual - from the very first second we met.”
Ms Warren discovered her passion for animal welfare after volunteering at animal shelters in the US, eventually starting an online business selling cruelty-free products: https://glamourwithoutcruelty.com.au/. Mr Hayden’s dream is to open an animal sanctuary on 100 acres in the Hartley area.
The couple plan to get married in the Megalong Valley in March.