I got engaged on a first date

engaged on first date

by take-a-break |
Updated on

Less than 24 hours into an adventure, I made a jaw-dropping decision. But what would my family say? By Jessica Viljakainen, 29

married on first date

I turned up the volume on my favourite song, and as I nodded along in time to the music, a message popped up on Facebook.

It read simply: Hi!

I peered at my screen and saw that it had been sent by someone called Santeri.

I didn’t have a clue who he was and I was about to ignore it, when another message appeared.

Santeri continued: We don’t know each other, but I like your style.

Intrigued, I clicked on his profile and the penny dropped.

Santeri was from Finland, a place I’d visited a few times.

It turned out we had mutual friends, so I replied and we got chatting.

We discovered we had a lot in common. We listened to the same music – and that wasn’t all.

I liked the look of him with his dazzling blue eyes, and he was quite taken with me.

He told me: You’re so pretty. I bet you’re even more gorgeous in real life.

But with me living in the UK and him over a thousand miles away in Finland, I didn’t think he’d ever find out.

'How will I tell my friends and family?'

Instead, we made do with our chats.

We messaged every day and sent each other photos of ourselves, our homes and our pets.

Santeri asked to video call, but I was too shy and worried that he might not feel the same if he saw me on camera.

He wasn’t easily put off though.

He messaged me and said: If you won’t do a video call, how about meeting up?

I couldn’t believe it — he was asking me to go to Finland.

Heart hammering, I replied: Yes!

Then, before I could change my mind, I booked a flight.

But my family were concerned. I was only 18 and they didn’t like the idea of me travelling all that way to meet a stranger.

‘You don’t know him!’ they said.

‘I do,’ I replied. ‘And he’s great.’

So just three months after we’d become friends, I boarded the plane to Finland to see Santeri.

engaged on first date

As we touched down, I had butterflies in my tummy.

But when saw a figure with sparkling eyes and a big smile, my worries melted away.

‘Jess!’ Santeri said, pulling me in for a hug.

He was even lovelier in real life, and as we walked along hand-in-hand, I thought: Wow, this is what love at first sight feels like!

That evening, things moved very quickly.

Within minutes we’d shared our first kiss, and within hours we were cuddled up in bed together.

It was all so quick. But it felt right.

When I woke up next morning, I had to pinch myself.

I thought: Blimey! Am I really lying naked next a man I’ve just met, in a different country?

But the whirlwind hadn’t stopped by any means.

After breakfast, Santeri turned to me and said something that took my breath away.

My jaw hit the floor — had I heard him correctly?

Had he really just said: ‘Will you be my wife?’

‘Uh…’ I began.

Then I looked at him and his expression told me he was serious.

So I said: ‘Yes!’

We both cheered and went straight to a jewellery shop. We’d never even been to Tesco together, and yet, there we were, picking out engagement rings.

It was crazy but wonderful.

After an amazing week together, we were heartbroken to say goodbye.

But on the plane back, I began to worry.

I thought: How will I tell my friends and family? What will they say when I tell them I’m engaged to a man I’ve just met?

I was terrified of their reaction so, for a whole month, I sat on my engagement secret.

Then one day at work, a colleague took me aside.

‘You’ve been so quiet since you came back from Finland,’ she said. ‘Are you pregnant?’

‘No!’ I gasped, breaking down in tears and confessing everything.

‘That’s amazing news,’ she said, and she helped me phone my mum and nan to break the news.

They were shocked, but I knew when they met Santeri they would understand.

And when they saw him on our video calls and got to talk to him, they realised we really did love each other.

Three months later, Santeri decided to move to be with me in Kendal, Cumbria, and we started arranging our wedding.

Finally, just a over a year after we first met, we tied the knot at the register office in Kendal.

Santeri’s godfather and brother flew over from Finland, and my family was there too.

It was a really small and intimate ceremony, with just our nearest and dearest, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Now we’re enjoying life as Mr and Mrs.

Saying yes to a stranger on a first date was a wild thing to do, but definitely the best decision I’ve ever made!

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