Anticipating Valentine’s Day 2020, we recently ran a giveaway on our Facebook page. We asked participants to tell us about how they met their other halves in order to enter. Now we are ready to #TakeLoveHigher this year, with some of our colleagues’ love stories about how they met their partners.
When we think of our story as a couple, many of us might be tempted to say it wasn’t so special after all. But each love story is unique, beautiful and inspiring in its own way. And each such story will resonate with other people out there.
Let us discover how these five Virgin Balloon Flights office teams’ members met their significant ones.
Most Festive Person In The West Midlands, Engaged On Christmas Day
You might remember our Natalie-Ann, voted the Most Festive Person in the West Midlands last year. Natalie works in our Customer Service team, and she won the above title for the grotto she built around her desk in December 2019.
Her festive season turned out to be even more special this year: her boyfriend proposed to her on Christmas Day.
Natalie tells us about the happy occasion:
“Costel and I got engaged on Christmas day! He purposed to me in front of my dad and step mum, my daughter, Polly-Anne, and also his mum and nephew who flew over from Romania. However he did say that, if he waited until summer, he would have looked to do it on our balloon flight or at the balloon fiesta.”
Natalie and Costel met on a dating app. Their first date happened shortly after, in a pub in Ironbridge. Costel showed up with a box of chocolates for Natalie and a teddy bear for her daughter. Natalie was truly impressed by Costel’s gentlemanly manners and she says that is how he has been ever since. He soon got to meet her daughter, and now all of them do a lot of activities together.
“Meeting my daughter and getting to know her has been great fun for us all. One of the activities we did all together in 2019 was Telford Balloon Fiesta. He got to see what I am apart from the time we spend together.
He fell in love with the hot air balloons and showed all his family and friends. We are now planning to do a balloon flight when Polly-Anne is 7, the minimum age for children to fly.”
Abi Met Her Husband At Work
Our colleague Abi, from the Marketing Team, met her husband Hayden at work. It wasn’t one of those sparkles at first sight love stories, but rather… competition at first sight!
Abi admits they are both competitive people. They did not get on at first, working together in a sales environment. But things changed as time went by.
“We became each other’s support through some tough times for both of us. Then we changed work locations and a bit of absence really did make my heart grow fonder. Fast forward 12 years and three amazing children later, we try to create as many memories as possible as a family and as a couple.”
Sharing activities and experience days gives more meaning to their time spent as a family, Abi says. And she remembers her hot air balloon flight with Hayden as one of the most exciting adventures ever, with a twist.
“One of the best was experiencing a ride in a hot air balloon. Hayden really wanted to go and I really, really didn’t… I am very much afraid of heights! Absolutely petrified, I barely made the take off.
Then I went on to enjoy one of the most serene, romantic and unique experiences we will ever have together. Thousands of feet from the ground with his reassuring arms wrapped around me is one of the best memories I will ever have.”
Teenage Sweethearts – Liz And Christian
One of our colleagues having worked for the longest in the Customer Service team here at Virgin Balloon Flights, Liz met her partner Christian just after her 17th birthday. It happened 18 years ago.
“Since then, we have had our ups and downs, as many couples do. But we have been strong enough to get through our obstacles together. Don’t get me wrong, it took some years for us to move in together. Then we had our first little boy Reece in 2013, who is now nearly 7.
We bought our first house in 2014 and since then we had another beautiful little boy called Lewis. Four years later we had the final jigsaw piece, our gorgeous little girl Isabelle.”
With three children under 7 at home, Liz often talks about her young family at social gatherings with the team. Both she and Christian seem to have a great sense of humour. They can’t even keep a straight face in photos!
Liz is planning a hot air balloon ride for her oldest, Reece, for 2020. The reason behind this is a little sad, but also very touching:
“Our little cat Mickey passed away in March 2019. In July this year, I will be booking Reece his first ever balloon flight as he wants to see what Mickey can see from the sky.”
“We Stood The Test Of Time”
Shaun, part of the Customer Service team, talks about his love story as one of strength, effort and consideration for each other. He met his partner through friends on a night out. Shortly after, they started dating.
Shaun smiles at the memory of how people around them thought they weren’t so good for each other:
“Many people actually tried to dissuade us from dating. They didn’t feel we were right for each other. We are somehow complete opposites in nearly every aspect of our personality. Yet, nearly 11 years down the line, I feel we have stood the test of time!”
He remembers how their relationship evolved pretty fast after the first few dates.
“We were living together in a matter of months and got our own place together within 7 months of meeting. We have never done things the conventional way. But yet again here we are 11 years later: going strong.”
Shaun feels that, as a same sex couple, they do face small everyday difficulties. He mentions situations such as booking a meal out, cinema outings or even a date in the pub.
“We never encountered hostility or prejudice, but every day things are just… different. Often, assumptions are made that my wife would be joining me rather than my partner. Things are very different now of course than years ago.
I feel even in the last decade we have come on leaps and bounds with people’s tolerance and understanding towards same sex relationships.”
All The Things We Do Together
After gathering my colleagues’ love stories, as the author of this blog, I will tell you mine now. Just like Natalie met Costel, I too met my partner Adrian through a dating website. It always makes both of us giggle when we remember it all.
The website algorithms chose my profile as his seventh or eight match. However, he noticed it and decided to write.
Now the funny part comes.
Adrian was looking to meet somebody locally, as he had been dating short and long distance previously. He wanted to be able to do more on a regular basis with his partner. So was I, but I was still living in Dorset and not in the West Midlands. However, I wanted to meet somebody in the Midlands, where I was about to move to.
To his surprise then, he found out I was at a fair distance from him, for another month. We went on our first date when I drove over to view a few flats for renting. And we enjoyed each other’s company so much that, when I moved to Birmingham area, we could hardly stay apart. Just like Shaun and his partner, we moved in together after a few months. We just have such a great connection with each other based on how much we have in common.
Not only we both love photography and share a strong creative side, but we enjoy the same things in life. We travel a lot together, watch the same types of movies and series. We both read and discuss the books we read. And, most of all, we just enjoy having fun and sharing experiences together.
Adrian hasn’t yet been on a hot air balloon flight, while I had my first ride this summer from Bath. He is very keen to one day go up with Virgin Balloon Flights, as he loves and has experienced other types of flying, including paragliding.
Tell Us Your Love Stories
These love stories we shared might not sound spectacular. But each has its own warmth and beauty. They are part of who we are, and shared experience. Also, as Shaun says, one never knows how they will meet their significant one:
“Meeting the right person was a chance encounter for me. I truly believe that often finding the one can happen at the most unlikeliest of times.”
We would love to read your love stories too.
Also, why not check out our Valentine’s Day offer? Many passengers choose a hot air balloon adventure as the most romantic experience. And also many propose or celebrate their anniversaries aboard Virgin Balloon Flights. You might decide to surprise your other half with an amazing hot air ballooning adventure.
Book your own hot air balloon ride adventure of a lifetime.
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