The night before a lads holiday to Turkey, Stephen Forde was at a bar in Cork when he first clapped eyes on Catherine Curran (now Forde). ‘We were all chatting and I remember being smitten with her,’ says the Creative Director of a print company of that first meeting 20 years ago. The next weekend, post-trip, he returned to the same bar and she was there again. ‘Catherine mentioned that she liked the cinema and I knew where she worked so a couple of days later I dropped off some tickets. At first, she was convinced they were for her friend but then we spoke on the phone and arranged to meet up. We went out and that was that.’
Husband and wife Catherine and Stephen Forde met 20 years ago and travel together whenever they can.
"We have a lot of fun; that’s one of the keys to us."
It was a whirlwind romance: after six months Stephen proposed at The St. Regis Rome (Catherine said yes although she made him wait until the next day for an answer). Yet it wasn’t until 2011 – 12 years later – that they finally ended up tying the knot. ‘There were a couple of times when we planned to get married,’ says Stephen. ‘Once it was going to be in Mexico but when we got our connecting flight in Boston, the airline lost the suitcase with Catherine’s wedding dress in it so it didn’t happen.’ Typically for a couple who have spent much of their lives travelling together (and as a family with their two teenage daughters), their honeymoon was a two-month round-the-world trip that took in countries including Greece, America and Thailand. ‘We have a lot of fun; that’s one of the keys to us,’ says Catherine, a GP surgery Practice Manager who was initially attracted to Stephen’s outgoing personality.
The couple always make a point of going away for birthdays and special occasions. ‘If you’re in a hotel, you can have room service or go out and paint the town red – it’s your choice,’ says Stephen. ‘You’ve got the security of knowing that once you check-in, the staff are there for you: all you have to do is dial the magic ‘0’.’ For Catherine, it’s the quietness and the ability to switch-off that she relishes most about the experience (her all-time favourite hotel is Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, which they are returning to for her birthday later this year). Yet at weekends when they are at home, they rarely go out, preferring to have friends round for dinner instead. ‘Stephen doesn’t cook. I’m the cook,’ says Catherine. ‘He sits in the kitchen with a glass of wine, giving me good suggestions. It’s precious time together when we catch up on the week.’
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