In January this year we noticed someone pop into Ashleigh D’Mello’s Instagram account that we hadn’t spotted there before… our very first feed sighting of fiancé and partner of 10 years, Rohan Benstead. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of seeing Rohan pop up in Ashleigh’s feed a handful more times – with each post cuter than the last.
6 months on from the couple’s engagement, we grabbed Ashleigh aside for our latest Love Stories article to discover everything from meetings on MySpace, to long-distance relationships, to wine and cheese proposals.
How long have you and Rohan been together?
Ten and a half years! That makes me feel very old…
Can you tell me how you first met?
This is really going to show our age, haha. Technically we met on a little social platform called Myspace, and if you’re too young to know what that is, it was the way cooler version of Facebook back in the day! We were chatting for a month or so, and then one day Rohan sent me a message saying he was coming to Perth to visit a friend for his birthday (Rohan is originally from Brisbane, and I from Perth), and asked if I wanted to meet up. I actually knew the friend he was coming to visit so I thought, ‘why not, he’s pretty cute!’
Were you friends before getting together?
Before we actually met in person when Rohan came to Perth, we were talking practically every day – so had definitely formed a friendship, albeit a long distance one!
Was it love at first sight?!
Let’s just say I had a bit of a Myspace crush on Rohan, and as soon as we met it was definitely love at first sight on my end (and it was totally the same for him too, but he won’t admit it!). We had 3 days to spend together before he was flying back to Brisbane, so it was a pretty whirlwind romance as we decided to do the relationship thing before he flew home!
Can you talk me through your first date?
We didn’t really have an official ‘first date’, but the first time we spent time together I’m pretty sure I just took Rohan around to do some Perth touristy things. Such a good host, haha.
And what about your most romantic date so far? What happened on it?
This one is an easy one – definitely the weekend Rohan proposed last December! We love going on weekend trips down south to Margaret River, so we had planned a weekend away to take a breather before Christmas madness and end of year work deadlines kicked in. We were staying in a gorgeous little forest cabin and had booked lunch at one of our favourite restaurants. Before lunch, we popped into our favourite winery, Voyager Estate, because I wanted to shoot something for a client in their absolutely stunning grounds (seriously – it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world!) and grab some bottles of our #1 white wine. Me being the perfectionist that I am, after we shot the photos I wasn’t 100% happy with them so Rohan said let’s go for a walk to see if we can find another spot to shoot. We wandered around their stunning rose gardens, I decided to give up (the wine was calling my name and at a second look, the photos were great, haha), but Rohan wanted to keep exploring. It was then I realised what was about to happen – sure enough, Rohan got down on one knee with the most beautiful ring I have ever seen which we designed together earlier that year (but I hadn’t seen since initial chats with the designer!). He also said some mushy words that I can’t remember over my tears! We then got to enjoy our favourite wine, have lunch a delicious lunch, and then Rohan had arranged a big cheese platter and wine for when we arrived back at our cabin (the way to my heart). He’s a keeper!
What was it about Rohan that made him more special than other guys you’ve met?
From the very first conversation we had, I knew Rohan was going to be my best friend. We are so similar in so many ways and just feel so comfortable with each other, which makes every moment we spend together the best. Not a day goes by where we don’t laugh together. He’s my soulmate.
What has been the most incredible thing he’s done for you that blew you away?
Well, besides deciding that he wants to put up with me for the rest of his life (hehe!), making the decision to move to Perth so we didn’t have to do the long distance thing anymore was pretty incredible. At the time we first started dating, we were both studying so neither of us could really make a move – but as soon as he finished his course, he trekked over to the West Coast and besides the few jokes about Queensland “the home of XXXX” being the best state in Australia, he hasn’t made me move over East. Yet …
What are the favourite things you like doing together as a couple?
We are very low-key people and self-proclaimed homebodies, so we really enjoy nothing more than spending any downtime we have on the couch with a good movie, a glass of wine, and a cheese board!
And three quick ones to finish off… how would you describe Rohan?
The best human on the planet.
How would he describe you?
I asked him to answer this one because I don’t like talking about myself! He came back with “extremely selfless, caring and affectionate”.
Thing you most love about him?
How he always makes me laugh… 🙂
All images: Ashleigh D’Mello