It didn’t happen in Paris and it didn’t happen in Rome – but it did happen in Hamilton. And Silver Fern legend Laura Langman certainly didn’t expect a proposal in the lounge, over a Starbucks latte – but it was perfect.
Sitting on the couch at the home she shares with partner of four years Adrian Pooley, Laura (26) had just been treated to a spread of her favourite foods when Adrian (33) handed her a takeaway coffee cup.
“He said all the awesome food was because it was the first anniversary of us buying the house,” says Laura. “I was stoked, I’d been craving coffee all day. But I was a bit confused as to where he got it from, because he just pulled it out from nowhere. I thought Starbucks must have started doing take-home packs. Apparently I'm quite gullible!”
But instead of her favourite latte, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic captain opened the lid of her cup to a much more sparkly surprise – a gorgeous, squarecut diamond engagement ring.
It was a far from conventional proposal, especially since the couple had recently visited the most romantic cities in the world, with not the hint of a wedding on the horizon.
“I was shocked. All I said was, ‘Oh my God’, over and over,” Laura laughs. “I couldn't believe how well Adrian had done, the moment was just perfect. Actually, I was a little bit gutted because he had dressed up and looked all handsome, and I was in shorts and a singlet!”
The engagement has been a long time coming for the Hamilton couple, who met in 2009 when sports science technician Adrian ran fitness tests for Laura’s netball team.
“Our friends were starting to give us grief,” Adrian admits. “Yeah, but now we can give it to other people,” laughs Laura. While the proposal wasn’t a surprise to the down-to-earth couple’s family and friends, it came out of the blue for Laura, even though Adrian had been planning it for the better part of a year.
“I’d been carrying the ring around with me for months to try and nd the right time,” Adrian says. “We’d been all over Europe last year and it had been tucked into my shoe in my
suitcase. But it didn’t feel right.”
Despite visiting the romantic capitals of Italy and France, Adrian decided he had to pop the question in Hamilton. “It’s home,” he says simply. “I thought about it, and asked myself, where does Laura love to be? Home.”
“He’s always had this amazing ability to make me feel special,” Laura adds. “He knows what’s going on without me needing to say, and he’s the most attentive person on earth.
It’s one of the reasons why I want to marry him.” Although it took Adrian a while to propose, he and Laura had known since they met that they’d each found “the one”.
“I think it’s when you always want to be around that person, you know you’ve found it,”
Adrian says. “I’ve known Laura was it for years. It’s her positivity and her attitude to life. She’s pretty special.”
“We had an instant connection, definitely,” adds Laura. “And I think we both reached that point in the relationship where we couldn’t see a future without the other.
So I wasn’t dying to get married, I was happy to keep doing what we were doing! But we do balance each other perfectly.” While Adrian is a meticulous planner – almost the entire
wedding has already been organised and the pair only got engaged a month ago – Laura is laid-back. And when she gets caught up in her many responsibilities as captain of the Magic, it’s Adrian pulling her out of the netball bubble.
But they do share an absolute love of sport, and it’s that passion and competitiveness fuelling their relationship – although Laura is drawing the line at a sports themed wedding.
“I’m not the biggest ‘girly girl’ in the world, but I’m planning to indulge that a bit for the big day, I think,” she says.
“Although there could be mini-golf!” she adds. That’s if Laura gets a say in the process, with Adrian looking to take the title of New Zealand’s most enthusiastic male wedding planner. “He’s so funny,” Laura says affectionately. “You're really excited, aren’t you babe?” “Well, yeah,” replies Adrian. “Planning is good! Organisation is good!”
“Adrian’s got a big list, and I’ve got a little list,” Laura adds. “But I'm in charge of the food. Food is everything!” While the actual proposal went smoothly, Adrian says asking Laura’s father Greg was the hardest part. “We were at Laura’s parents’ place and I was helping him in the barn, and the whole day I just kept chickening out. He was about to leave and I just blurted it out. He said yes, but he did ask me if I was sure!”
Although 2013 was always going to be a hectic year for Laura, with a full season of domestic and international netball ahead, as well as her new job at Hamilton accountancy firm Deloitte, she’s still looking forward to a bit of “girly wedding planning time” on the side.
“I'm addicted to Pinterest,” she giggles (an online contentsharing site where users can “pin” pictures of things they like to their accounts). “I keep finding these amazing ideas on
there that would be incredible.”
“Yes. But some of those are a bit far-fetched,” Adrian interjects. “I know. My ideas are fantasy, and his are the reality,” Laura concedes. “We’ve got to a stage that he’s banned Pinterest after 5pm because I was on it so much. But I'm just so excited! I’d get married tomorrow if I could. Everything feels so much more official now.
“I said to Adrian, ‘We’re so grown up.’ And now he’s stuck with me forever!”