In this edition of Hogans Couples, we speak to one of our most recently engaged couples - Jake & Shaelee. We were incredibly impressed with the amount of thought that Jake had put into this destination proposal that we couldn't help but share their story and the beautiful photos that were snapped during their picturesque proposal that took place in Tropical North Queensland's Whitsundays.
Q: As always, we’ll start by introducing your love story - tell us how you crossed paths.
A - Shaelee: Jake and I first met each other through my older sister, Bri and her now husband, Ben. I always saw Jake as Ben’s hot friend and always had a little crush on him since the day we met. It wasn’t until a few years down the track that I decided to make my move on a night out. The following day, he took me to Encores, a restaurant in Toowoomba, and the rest is history! We have never left each others side since.
Q: Now a question for you, Jake. Your picture-perfect, sunset filled proposal took place overlooking the pristine waters of the Whitsundays. What was it that drew you to selecting this location? Did it have a sentimental meaning to you before the proposal?
A - Jake: I had the opportunity to go to the Whitsundays with some friends at the end of 2021. We spent a day at Hamilton Island and I loved the feel of the place. I decided then that I definitely wanted the sunset and this location along with a private space to propose.
Q: You were able to organise the entire destination proposal in secret. Run us through the booking arrangements, the planning involved and even making sure the ring remained hidden. Did you have to consult any close friends or family for advice?
A - Jake: I booked the accommodation about 9 months out from the day of the proposal. It was a close guarded secret between myself and direct family members. Shae and I had not been on a holiday since COVID, so I wanted to do something special for her birthday. Up until the night before our flight she thought we were going to Noosa. The ring itself stayed under lock and key at Hogans until the week before. We had arrived in the Whitsundays and both of our parents were booked to arrive the day prior to the proposal so I had arranged for my Mum to collect the ring and bring it up for me. This certainly made the proposal a lot less stressful.
Q: With all of the arrangements that were going on in the background, did you, Shaelee, clue onto the proposal plans at any point?
A - Shaelee: I may have had an inkling of the big plans unfolding after being told that I should definitely get my nails done, and buy that expensive Aje dress that I had, had my eye on for a while specifically for the 'Noosa' trip. I think the biggest tip off would have been when I jokingly messaged my Mother a picture of my left hand that showed my Hogans signet ring on my pinky finger and my Hogans pearl ring on my middle finger. I captioned it, "will I even need these on, or will this hand be too crowded soon?". When she replied with "maybe take them off for the day", I did exactly that and then I definitely knew I was upgrading from girlfriend to fiancé with my best friend. Within ten minutes of sending that message, Jake was on one knee proposing and Mum was actually on the other side of the door in our accommodation!
Q: Another question for you Jake. You went with a beautiful cluster style engagement ring that was designed and crafted by our jewellers. How did you come to decide on this style?
A - Jake: Shae and I have had many visits to the Hogans showroom over the years given Shae's Mum, Yasmine, works there. Every time Shae would go past the display, she would point out the rings that she loved. I remembered these designs and then added my own personal touch when designing the final engagement ring with Lachy during a consultation.
Q: Your proposal took place in the Whitsundays, and this was all planned meticulously by Jake, who also organised a few special surprises at the accommodation. Run us through the proposal and how you were able to organise everything without Shaelee knowing.
A - Jake: When I booked the site, Shaelee was only aware that we would be going to Noosa. Both sets of parents were scheduled to fly up to the Whitsundays the day after we arrived, and they sneakily told Shae they were going caravanning to see family. Once they flew in, it was easy enough to stay in contact to make sure we didn't run into them (especially with it being such a small island). I had a photographer booked and had been talking with him the day before to make sure he knew how I wanted everything to transpire. While Shae was getting ready, I actually had to sneak out of the accommodation so I could talk to him face-to-face to make sure we were on the same page. To throw Shae off, I told her we had an early dinner reservation and that I wanted to get some nice photos taken outside. This is when I decided to make a suggestion that she change into something nice. The proposal itself happened on the stairs going down towards the pool which had both the sunset and a bit of greenery for a backdrop. It was perfect!
Q: As part of the proposal plans, you arranged both sets of parents to fly to the Whitsundays. What did your post proposal celebrations with them look like?
A - Jake: Our parents flew up the day after we did, about four hours before the proposal took place. They stayed clear of us until I gave the all clear by text message. When we went outside onto the infinity pool, all four of them snuck into the accommodation and onto the balcony which overlooked the pool. After the proposal, Shae and I were down by the pool having photos taken and neither of us had realised they had been watching over us the entire team. I told Shae to look up because there was one more surprise, and there they were.
After the proposal, we all went to dinner to celebrate. Later in the week, we capped off the getaway with a trip to Whitehaven Beach.
Q: Finally, what’s your number one piece of advice for those planning a destination proposal without their fiancé-to-be finding out?
A - Jake: Don’t let the secret out until they start packing 20kg worth of shoes with a 23kg checked baggage limit!