Why do we get married? “It is a way of expressing your love and devotion to another person,” writes Mark White, Ph.D, in Psychology Today. “Not the only way, of course, but a well-established and particularly declarative way. And these two aspects of commitment are, to a large extent, inseparable: the public declaration of devotion would not mean as much without the promised made therein.” It is the traditional wedding ceremony, says White, where a couple stands up before friends and family and promises, “to love each other, support each other, and be true to each other, that gives that public statement its force.”
Thomas Denehy and Justine Lum agree. After meeting at university in Melbourne and becoming firm friends, the pair realised that they meant more to each other and were married last December. While they laughingly protest that “we’re really not very traditional,” their wedding was held in the chapel at Melbourne Grammar, Tom’s old school and the reception at the Australian Club where Justine’s father has worked for many years. “Our wedding was about acknowledging what we honour about each other,” says Tom. “We were very involved in choosing our service and when I read the words of our vows, it really meant something to me.” But of course, marriage is more than a wedding ceremony. “Day to day, things haven’t changed,” says Justine, “but our commitment to one another, that’s what has changed.” And a constant reminder of that commitment says Justine, is her engagement ring. “Having a ring is a reminder of what you’ve got.”
Designing Justine’s ring was a year-long process says Tom, that began when he attended a business function at the Fairfax & Roberts showroom in Sydney. When he visited again to begin looking for a ring, “the experience, from the minute I stepped through the door, was amazing. I knew straight away that this was the place.”
Tom worked closely with Sydney Jeweller Fairfax & Roberts staff to find a stone and design that Justine would love. “Every jeweller knows the guy walking in hasn’t done this before. Stephan Ballarin was great – very reassuring, attuned to costs and very honest. Buying an engagement ring is a lot of money and I wanted to understand how the business side of jewellery worked. Honestly, I didn’t know how good Fairfax & Roberts were until further in the process. I got a bit lucky.”
She Said “Yes”!
He proposed on the bow of a yacht in Sardinia, where they were holidaying after attending a friend’s wedding. “I didn’t expect a proposal at that time,” says Justine with a smile. Of course, she also said yes and now, comfortably in their first year of marriage, Tom and Justine are firm believers in the importance of marriage, commitment and permanence in an ever-changing world.