The Sydney couple first laid eyes on each other in the David Jones bridal registry. The 21-year-old Louisa was shopping for a friend’s engagement present. Steve, who was working there at the time, offered to help and then wrapped the gift for her. She remembers it took a while, so they chatted as he wrapped. When they realised they were both studying art at university, Louisa casually suggested they visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales together sometime.
A few weeks later, she returned to the department store, this time dressed to impress Steve. “I was enjoying my youth,” she laughs huskily. Steve looked surprised when she suddenly strode into his area: “He was in shock,” she laughs. “And he just said, ‘Oh hi. Do you want to go to the gallery?’”
The way that Steve tells it, that first mention of the gallery was Louisa asking him out. “And I said yes on the second visit … so there was like a two week gap,” he laughs.
He remembers it as being an unreal moment. “When you’re bored out of your brain thinking wouldn’t it be cool if the girl of your dreams walks in – and then as soon as you stop thinking about it, it happens,” he remembers. “Luckily I was the best gift wrapper in David Jones. There’s nothing like the skill of being able to create your own rosettes to impress a girl. It’s better than buying drinks,” he laughs.
On that first date, Steve remembers feeling intimidated by how “arty” Louisa looked. “She’s got the big green eyes, and she actually looks like an artist. And I’m going, ‘Man, I’m out of my league already.’” They spent the afternoon at the Archibald exhibition and again Louisa seemingly out-classed him. “She’d be going, ‘What do you think of this?’ And I’d be going, ‘Great.’ And when she’d be talking about [the art], I would be like, ‘I actually don’t know that much’.”