Couple celebrate anniversary 20 years on from hubby’s shock proposal after being inspired by showing of Love Actually

A COUPLE are celebrating their anniversary 20 years on after getting engaged on just their sixth date after a showing of Christmas classic Love Actually.

Lisa and Ben Joseph first met on 26 October 2003 after friends set them up on a blind date, but it was love at first sight when just six weeks later, Ben popped the question.

Ben and Lisa Joseph back in 2003.
Ben and Lisa Joseph back in 2003. (C) Lisa Joseph

Watching a showing of then-newly released Love Actually, Ben was inspired by Liam Neeson’s character Daniel – a widower who tries to help his stepson win over his crush – and got down on one knee.

Astonished Lisa said yes to the spontaneous proposal, and the pair married in March 2004, moving to Edgeware, Greater London, where they share two children together.

Lisa, 42, and Ben, 45, are now celebrating 20 years together and are planning to attend the live orchestra showing of the film at the Barbican, London, later this month.

Lisa took to social media last month to share the couple’s story, explaining: “When the film Love Actually came out in the cinema, I went to see it on a date.

“I had been dating this lovely young man for about six weeks at the time. We enjoyed the film but when it finished, he looked perturbed and suddenly he was down on one knee proposing.

“He said that Liam Neeson had made him realise that he didn’t want to spend one more day without knowing we could be together forever.

“No ring, no preparation, the most spontaneous proposal ever. Tomorrow my now-husband and I celebrate 20 years since that date so I’m here to tell you that Love, Actually, is all around.

“We are going to see the 20th anniversary showing at the Barbican in London and I’m very much looking forward to it.”

The post received over 8,500 likes and more than 390 comments from loved-up fans left touched by the two’s tale.

One person wrote: “Beautiful story. It was while watching Love Actually in the cinema that both me and my now hubby realised we loved each other.”

Lisa's cinema ticket.
Lisa keeps her ticket from their sixth date in her wallet. (C) Lisa Joseph.

Another said: “Ah, I love this. Mazel tov on your anniversary.”

A third commented: “Ah, what a lovely story. It’s actually my 20-year anniversary today.

“We decided not to go and see Love Actually as we thought it might be a touch too romantic and a bit awkward for a second date (first date we went for a drink), so we saw the Texas Chainsaw Massacre instead.

“Not romantic in the slightest but still special.”

A fourth added: “How fabulous. I’m a hopeless romantic. Love this. Congratulations.”

Speaking to Lisa today, she said: “Our friends (a married couple) set us up. I met Ben for the first time on 26th October 2003 and he picked me up at home for our first date.

“We only saw each other on weekends as he worked in Nottingham during the week, and I was in London.

“I think it was our sixth date that he took me to see Love Actually on a Saturday night – 22 November 2003 – and that was when he proposed.

“We definitely liked each other from the first date but we were both quite religious and didn’t jump into anything.

“I had dated so many men beforehand and had so many rubbish dating experiences, and what I noticed with my first date with Ben was how great it was. He listened to me and was really attentive.

Ben and Lisa on their wedding day.
Pictured: Ben and Lisa on their wedding day. (C) Lisa Joseph.

“We came out of the cinema, and it was in a big shopping mall, so we sat down outside one of the little coffee shops.

“We were just sitting quite quietly and then he was out of his chair and down on one knee.

“I think I said, ‘What are you doing? Right here? Now?’ but he gave me a lovely little speech, obviously completely on the spot, about how the film made him realise he didn’t want to spend one more day without knowing we could be together forever.

“He asked if he could please be the one to look after me and go through life with me.

“It was really lovely, and I just said yes straight away because I didn’t want to keep him a second longer to wait for an answer.

“To be honest, I really wasn’t looking around at anyone else so I’m not sure what others were doing, I was just fixated on that moment between us.

“I think we were both in a bit of weird daze afterward, it took us ages to find our way out of the shopping centre and pay for our car parking ticket because I think we were both in a bit of shock.

“We got married a few months later, 17 March 2004.”

Speaking on their wedding and their traditions, Lisa added: “We are big movie fans, so our friends made us some Disney posters and Lord of the Rings posters (also very big at that time).

“However, we watched Love Actually once a year after that, it’s definitely our special film, as is the song featured in the film – God Only Knows [by The Beach Boys].

Ben and Lisa with their children.
Pictured (L-R): Ben Joseph, Lisa Joseph, daughter Elinor and son Ezer. (C) Lisa Joseph.

“We are going to see the 20th anniversary showing with a live orchestra at the Barbican in a few weeks.

“We’ve always loved the soundtrack (yes, we bought it on CD along with the movie on DVD), so seeing it with a live orchestra really will enhance the showing.

“We love going to theatre and concerts and obviously the cinema still, so this really seemed like a special way to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

“We have actually also managed to book on our 20th anniversary a showing of the Return of the King at the Royal Albert Hall as that film is also one of our favourites – that one we are taking our kids to.”

Lisa and Ben’s love story has warmed the hearts of many but their children, Elinor, 18, and Ezer, 13, are yet to be convinced by the film that brought them together.

Lisa joked: “We can’t seem to convince them to watch [Love Actually], unfortunately, as they said it would be very old fashioned.

“However, they think our marriage is ‘relationship goals,’ so that’s heartwarming to hear.”