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You, Me and 3,000 strangers | Modern Love Stories, Sean & Mark

Friday, June 25th, 2021

A few weeks ago, Sean and Mark walked into our flagship Chupi store and picked out their wedding bands. Here is the incredible story of how they got to that moment…

On first impressions

Mark: I was on a date, and Sean came up to chat to him, but then the two of us started chatting.

Sean: Turns out, Mark has messaged me on a dating app we were using at the time and I hadn’t replied!

Mark: On our first date, we went for a walk around Doneraile Park. We had a lovely walk and shared our first kiss on this cute bridge. But we totally lost track of time, and when we got back to Sean’s car realised that the gates were locked and we couldn’t get out! This lovely woman walked past and managed to get someone to let us out.

On knowing it was love

Sean: After about five dates I asked Mark to be my boyfriend – and he said no.

Mark: I had decided before we met that I didn’t want a boyfriend, I was just looking to date for a while. Sean is much more emotionally aware, I’m a bit slower.

Sean: I’m a hopeless romantic. A couple of months into the relationship, I thought, ‘I want to marry this boy’.

On planning for the future

Sean: We had a bit of a break up around four years in, and it made me realise just how much I loved him.

Mark: I think it made us stronger, as we realised just how tough it was to be away from each other.

Sean: It solidified things for me, I knew I never wanted to feel heartbreak like that. But when we got together, Mark didn’t want to get married full stop.

Mark: When I came out and accepted myself as a gay man, I wrote off the idea of ever getting married. Even when marriage equality came in, it still never felt that it was for me. It took a while for me to come around to the idea. But then I started thinking about how I might propose, and said to myself, ‘If you’re thinking about a proposal, you want to get married’.

On proposal plans and the stars aligning

Mark: I know there were things I wanted to do first though – to own a house before planning a wedding, to have been together at least seven years. We got the keys to our house on the Thursday, we were celebrating our seventh anniversary at the weekend, and Sean proposed that Sunday.

Sean: The night before, were relaxing at the Body & Soul area at Electric Picnic. Mark turned to me and said “I can’t wait to marry you” – not knowing I was planning on proposing the next day!

Mark: That was my epiphany moment of, “Ok, I’m 100 per cent sure I want to marry Sean.”

On getting engaged – and going viral

Sean: I knew wanted to propose that weekend, but I really wanted to make it special. I’ve been a massive fan of Sing Along Social for ages. I had a friend who worked there as one of the Craic Mechanics and she put us in touch with the founder Aoife McElwain, who is amazing, and came back with the idea of getting everyone to get down on one knee.

Mark: Sean mentioned that Sing Along Social would be doing something really cool on the Sunday, but I had no idea that’s what it was. So the whole weekend I was inviting my own friends to my own engagement, and they all knew about it and I didn’t know!

I want our rings to have memories and a story attached to them. I want them to be a symbol of us, who we are and where we are going.

Sean: When the moment came, I had a big speech all planned, but all that came out is “Will you marry me? It’s been seven years”. The whole place went wild!

Mark: Some people had live-streamed it, so our phones just blew up within minutes of it happening.

Sean: My sister found out on Instagram before I had a chance to tell her!

On wedding planning

Mark: We want to try and do things differently – everything we’ve ever done in our lives is different, there’s no tradition for us, so we get to make our own.

People have asked me things like why I have an engagement ring as a man, but why can’t I wear an engagement ring? Or they ask ‘who is going to walk who down the aisle’? But we can do our own thing, we can break things up, and do it differently.

Sean: We want to do something special.

On picking wedding bands

Sean: For us, we hadn’t really thought about rings until we did. The Chupi bands landed literally in front of us, and they were the first ring we saw and we were like “That’s the one, that’s the ring”. Sustainability is a big part of our lives and personal ethos, and Chupi fed into that exactly.

I want our rings to have memories and a story attached to them. I want them to be a symbol of us, who we are and where we are going.

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