If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, it’s been no secret that my partner in crime popped the question on our 10 year anniversary in December! 🙂

Our relationship has never gone to plan and neither did the engagement. I chose the ring before he officially asked me to marry him. I bought the dress before we even went ring shopping (long story!). I think everybody that knows us, knows that our wedding would never be a traditional civil ceremony and reception. But more on that later.

While we had previously joked about how cool a surprise wedding on our anniversary would be, we didn’t commit to the idea and so it never happened. What did surprise me was when Zen forwarded me our flight booking confirmation for a day trip to Brisbane! We’re both complete opposites with our interests – he’s into adrenaline-fuelled sports and I’m terrified to even climb a ladder – but I love that our spontaneity and life goals have always been at the same wave length. And he knew that the engagement ring I had been eyeing for years, was at a Brisbane jeweller.

Still, I don’t think either of us knew we were going to be engaged by the end of that day.

Rings never look the same on your hand as they do online, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to choose one at all. (Thank goodness he had picked up on all my hints over the years that when the day comes, I wanted to choose the ring.)

After trying on several rings, I narrowed it down to three designs but couldn’t cull any further. I was given a very loose budget and the three rings couldn’t have been more different from each other!

The modern-day bride takes photos of each ring on her iPhone so she can decide over lunch.
I don’t think all jewellers permit this but I’m glad ours did.

I had never been to the original Stokehouse in Melbourne but research led me to Stokehouse in Brisbane. Offered the best seat in the house, our table overlooked the river but was well shielded from wind and sun. On a tight timeframe to get back to the jeweller before they closed, we opted to skip appetisers and jump straight into the entrees.

Stokehouse Brisbane

Zen had the entree size of the fresh lobster, tagliatelle, saffron cream, chives and lemon ($28) while I had the hand picked local blue swimmer crab salad, apple jelly, avocado, creme fraiche ($26).

Stokehouse Brisbane

The balance of salty, sweetness and acidity is perfect in my crab salad. I adore the subtle boldness of the curry creme fraiche, the creamy mousse texture of the avocado, the pop of the salmon roe, and the fun zing of the apple jelly. Everything just highlighted the fresh sweetness of the fleshy crab meat.

Stokehouse Brisbane

Zen’s main course was honey glazed free range duck breast ($41) with peach, fennel, semolina fondant and radish.

Stokehouse Brisbane

My dory fillets ($39) were served with a grilled NZ scampi, smoked eggplant, black garlic and sauce vierge. I can never cook fish right at home so I tend to order it every chance I get when I eat out. The dish felt very Middle Eastern inspired with the smoky baba ganoush but also had a vibrancy from the diced tomato, lemon juice, fresh herbs and olive oil dressing.

Stokehouse Brisbane

The last couple shot before we were engaged!

Stokehouse Brisbane

Stokehouse Brisbane

For dessert, we shared the strawberry five-ways tasting plate ($18) that was on the specials menu. It consisted of a strawberry macaron, marshmallow, jelly, strawberry emulsion, macadamia crumb and strawberry ribbon ice-cream. As if I don’t love strawberries enough on its own, this tasting plate was so exquisite.

Stokehouse Brisbane

Fast forward to the end of the day, we arrive home from the evening flight and while I’m rushing to charge my phone (don’t you love the iPhone5’s battery life!!), I turn around and he’s on his knees.

Isn’t it funny that even after 10 years with someone, the relationship can still be taken to new heights? I’m very much enjoying calling him my fiancé and cannot wait to call him my husband.

Wedding planning, bring it on!

P.S. I didn’t end up getting the ring I thought I would! I fell in love with an original 1920’s vintage hand-cut diamond piece instead.

Stokehouse Brisbane

Sidon Street, South Bank, QLD

Phone: (07) 3020 0600

Web: stokehousebrisbane.com.au

Stokehouse Brisbane on Urbanspoon


  1. Aww Congrats Jen & Zen. What a lovely post. You had the dress chosen before the ring? haha. Now that’s something different. IT is a gorgeous ring by the way, so good thing Zen listened to you after all this time 😛 can’t wait to hear about the wedding planning xx

  2. Congratulations Jen & Zen! Wishing you both many lifetimes of adventure sports and delicious food!Funny how you can plan and plan, but what feels right “in the moment” is sometimes completely different but utterly “right”!! xx

  3. YAY! How exciting for you two! I just got married two weeks ago, and it was indeed a quirky wedding in a 50’s vintage garden party type dress, and a picnic for 110 people!
    I was the same, always thought when the time came i would know what ring i wanted, and then he surprised me at lunch in Berlin, and took me to an antique jewellers, and i found a stunning art deco 1920’s vintage ring! Ahh love it is a funny thing!

  4. Congratulations on your engagement, Jen! I’ve been following you on instagram, and I was wondering if the delay in your post entries has anything to do with you working again? Are you back on the corporate ladder? Is that why you haven’t been posting every much?

  5. Thanks Victoria! From a work perspective, I’m still working for myself. It’s an ongoing juggle act with trying to balance business/life/blog… I’ve been doing longer hours at my digital agency as we’re growing quite a bit this year, and I’ve added exercise into the mix too which means less time for blogging! I’ve got so many blog posts half written in draft, it’s time to lock myself in a room and get them completed!


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