Today is Valentine's Day and the Chronicle has been checking out the state of romance in the River City. Here's the final part of our 'love story'.


"Yep, I saw her and I thought 'I'm marrying her'."

That's Abigail Marthinusen talking about when she spotted Emily Wolmarans at a music festival in South Africa in 2012.

"It was very movie-like - it was love at first sight," Abi says. Emily agrees.

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Not only that, it was New Year's Eve so the South African couple's first kiss was a New Year's Eve kiss ("such a cliche", they say). The relationship moved fast and three months later they were living together.

They decided to visit Emily's family, who had moved to Whanganui, fell in love with the town and moved here as well. Emily is now the manager at Frank Bar and Abi works at Rutland Arms Inn.

The couple have been engaged for a year and are planning a "destination wedding" in the Ladies Pavilion at New York City's Central Park in August next year.

Emily says her marriage proposal to Abi was "pretty much perfect except for the weather".

"We got engaged in Wellington at the Botanic Gardens," Abi said.

"We were in Wellington for our fourth-year anniversary. Emily said her family had planned a scavenger hunt and they would send us photos of landmarks and we had to go there and take photos and send them back.

"For the last one we had to get on the cable car. I'd tripped and fallen on the road and was soaking wet, like a drowned rat, because it was pouring down. We got to the Botanic Gardens and the last photo in the scavenger hunt was of a rotunda.

"We eventually found it and I saw a white square in the middle of the floor. I went and picked it up. It was a book of photos of us and words which I read and then I turned around and Emily was down on one knee. I said 'it's about time'."

Emily says she came up with the idea of compiling a book of photos of the couple's memories and writing notes "about what I love about her" for the proposal so Abi would have a permanent reminder of the occasion and why Emily wanted to marry her.

"But I was stuck about how to use it for the proposal and my nephew suggested the scavenger hunt idea. We take lots of photos and put them on Instagram and now we have the scavenger hunt photos that we can use in our next book of memories."

The couple's future plans include the wedding, having children and eventually setting up their own hospitality business.

So what's their advice for a successful relationship?

"Being each other's best friends - laughing together will keep you together forever," Emily said. "We have fun together."

"Being your partner's friend always has to come first because with that there's always understanding and communication," Abi said.

"Being selfless and trying to understand the other person as much as you can - though it's so hard sometimes! Realising that love doesn't stay giddy and puppy love forever. It's always a decision and a choice."

Celebrating love this Valentine's Day with San Valentino by Lorenzo Buhne.