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05 February 2020
By SARAH SCULLY
Before Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and the plethora of social media applications at our fingertips, there was MSN Messenger.
The now-defunct chat application was the way for teenagers to communicate in the 2000s, and for one Horsham couple, the way to meet the love of your life.
Twelve years ago, year-12 students Ashleigh Davidson and Jon Fitzgerald started a conversation online.
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Today, the high school sweethearts are planning their wedding after a romantic engagement at home on Christmas Eve.
“Jon and I knew of each other when we started talking – he went to St Brigid’s and I went to Horsham College – but we’d never met,” Ms Davidson said.
“Pretty soon we decided to start seeing each other and we’ve been together ever since.”
Ms Davidson said despite being together for more than a decade, Mr Fitzgerald’s proposal came as a surprise.
“I knew it would happen one day, when the time was right for both of us,” she said.
“Jon proposed on Christmas Eve in front of the Christmas tree – it was perfect.
“He’d planned it to be on Christmas Day, because both of our families were coming to our house to celebrate Christmas for the first time.
“But my Nonno passed away late last year and Jon decided it wouldn’t be the same without him there, so he decided to propose privately the night before.
“We’d had a tough end to the year, so it was a really nice surprise. I was very emotional. I cried for about an hour after Jon asked me – I don’t even think I said, ‘yes’. Actually, I’m sure I didn’t.”
Mr Fitzgerald said he had planned to pop the question for a while, it was simply a matter of deciding on the right time and place.
“That was probably the hardest thing, deciding how I wanted to do it,” he said.
“I’d had a lot of different thoughts about how I wanted to propose, and Christmas is a pretty special time of year.
“We’d had a pretty rough end to the year and I thought this would be a good way to finish the year off.
“Also, I figure when we have kids, it will be nice to remind them each year about the time I proposed to their mum on Christmas Eve, and how it’s such a special time.”
Mr Fitzgerald said he was nervous in the lead-up to proposing – because he was awaiting delivery of the ring.
“I picked it out and organised it all, and I had decided I wanted to propose on Christmas Eve but it didn’t look like the ring was going to get here in time,” he said.
“It was stressful at the time but it all came together.”
Mr Fitzgerald said although everyone liked to joke his proposal was ‘a long time coming’, he felt it was perfect timing.
“Ash and I have done a lot together – we’ve pretty much grown up together,” he said.
“We’ve been on a couple of big trips, we bought a house together last year – we’ve built a life together.
“Now, we are ready to take that next step and it’s really exciting.”
The couple will marry at Jack Rabbit winery on the Bellarine Peninsula on November 7.
“We’ve obviously been together for a long time now and we didn’t want to muck around – we wanted to get it done this year,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“We went to Geelong one weekend to have a look at a venue Ash liked and it was available on the weekend we were considering, so we booked it.”
Ms Davidson said wedding plans were progressing well.
“I’m pretty organised,” she said.
“I don’t muck around. We’ve already booked a lot of things and I’m going dress shopping next week, which is exciting.”
Ms Davidson said she and her fiancé did not have any Valentine’s Day traditions and were ‘pretty low-key’.
“We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day as such, but Jon always buys me flowers for special occasions and writes something silly on the card,” she said.
Mr Fitzgerald said he was excited about their Valentine’s Day plans this year.
“We have very special plans, actually,” he said.
“We’re going to Bendigo for the under-18 state basketball championships. It is something very close to my heart.
“I coach the Horsham team and Ash is my team manager. I’m sure afterwards we’ll be able to have a quick team meeting and I’ll be able to take Ash out for a nice dinner.”
The entire February 5, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!