Waterlooville couple's Grand Canyon helicopter proposal prompts fairytale wedding day
When Taylor Chalk flew to Las Vegas for partner Lee Stedman’s 30th birthday, she never expected him to propose 1,500 feet above one of the world’s natural wonders.
For Taylor and Lee Stedman from Waterlooville, who have known each other since they were teenagers, the opportunity to fly in a helicopter over the Grand Canyon was a dream come true. And when Lee popped the question on the holiday of a lifetime, Taylor ‘cried like a baby’ in elation.
Taylor says: 'We planned to go to the Grand Canyon just for a trip away. We had a little Champagne lunch in the Canyon. When we were up in the air on the helicopter, he proposed. I had no idea it was coming.
'Lee was acting weird all morning. I kept thinking, "why is he making such a big deal of this day". I don't think I quite expected him to do it. He said that he proposed in mid-air so he didn't have to get down on one knee.’
Four years and three pushbacks later, the couple finally tied the knot on August 28 with about 120 family and friends at St Thomas a Becket Church, Warblington, followed by a reception at Havant Rugby Club where an extra 30 guests arrived.
Taylor, 30, says: 'It was very overwhelming because I thought "wow" it's finally here. It was perfect; it couldn't have gone any better.
'This was the third time that we'd booked it because I fell pregnant the first time, so we had to rebook it. The second time it was postponed due to Covid, so this was the third time lucky.'
Taylor, a self-employed beautician and Lee, a grounds worker, are parents to three children, Blue, six, Baye, five, and Brook, two.
She says: ‘We went for a really relaxed feel for the afternoon. We didn't want it to be too regimented so we went for a hog roast and a graze table for the evening.
‘My highlight was when I arrived to see the boys dressed up. That was lovely to know they were there with their dad getting ready’, says Taylor.
What made the couple's big day even more special was the sentimental value behind choosing the church as their wedding venue. Both Taylor's grandad and auntie are buried there so for Taylor it 'seemed like the right place to go'.
The couple both grew up at Leigh Park, Havant, and their families were already friends. But it was only when the pair grew older that they formed a close bond and started seeing each other romantically in 2009 when Lee was 22 and Taylor, 18.
Taylor explains: 'I thought Lee was very funny when I first knew him. When we were younger, Lee said he was going to marry me one day when we were teenagers. Now we have.'
The Stedmans spent their honeymoon at the Solent Hotel and Spa, Whiteley, as they plan to go abroad next year with their children on a big family holiday when Covid rulings allow.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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