Elizabeth Shoesmith was all set to get married; indeed, at that moment she was mere minutes away from tying the knot with her fiancé. As she began to walk down the aisle towards her groom, however, she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. Then, as Elizabeth began to gesture towards her husband-to-be, her actions prompted him to break in floods of tears.
Finding a match on Tinder can be a risk, as the individual on screen may not be exactly who they say they are. Indeed, many people have been caught out in this way by so-called catfishes – a term given to those who have duped others online and which is inspired by the 2010 documentary film Catfish.
So, when Elizabeth was matched with a guy named Scott in 2016, she sensibly engaged in a little due diligence by investigating the mystery man. In the process of her research, however, Elizabeth uncovered something about Scott that may have been a sticking point for some.
But although what Elizabeth unearthed raised some concerns for her, she was determined not to judge Scott for it. And despite her reservations, the pair went on their first date in Elizabeth’s home city of Sydney in Australia. It was a low-key affair which, as it happened, threw up the biggest of ironies.
Elizabeth explained in a 2018 YouTube video, “Our first date was super-duper casual – Tinder low-key. We went to a burrito bar, [but] it was really noisy; there was a trivia night on.” The volume of the crowd gave Scott an unexpected advantage over his date when it came to conversing, however.
You see, what Elizabeth had learned from her investigation prior to the date was that Scott was profoundly deaf. She told the Daily Mail in February 2018, “I did some research on him before our date, like any woman would, and found out he was playing for the Australian Deaf Wallabies.”
But Elizabeth went on the date regardless, and any reservations she had had about communication barriers soon disappeared. Indeed, she later explained, “It was great; we had an immediate connection.” And romance blossomed between her and Scott. Just 18 months later, in fact, the couple got engaged, with their wedding set for January 2018.
The wedding ceremony itself was a small one, attended by just 45 close friends and family members. Walking Elizabeth down the aisle that day was her 16-year-old son, Dominic, while Naomi, her 19-year-old daughter, watched from the crowd. But just as the pair reached the top of the aisle, they suddenly stopped.
Dominic left his 41-year-old mom standing there alone in front of the assembled guests, though. Then as Scott turned toward his bride, the music started playing. And as the first verse of the track began, Elizabeth started to gesture towards her groom.
It’s not unusual for a bride to micro-manage her big day right down to the tiniest detail. For Elizabeth, though, there was something else she had to think about other than guests, vows and the dress. She had a message for her soon-to-be husband, after all, and there was only one way she wanted to convey it to him.
You see, for weeks before the wedding, Elizabeth had learned how to sign the words to the Christina Perri song “A Thousand Years” for her 38-year-old groom. Having been deaf since the age of eight, Scott hadn’t ever been able to decipher the track’s lyrics – so his bride stepped in to help him out.
Elizabeth later revealed to the Daily Mail, “[Scott] has never heard the words to a song before, so I wanted to translate [“A Thousand Years”] for him. It was the best form of communication, I knew it’d be really special to him.” However, she needed to put in a lot of work before her big day to pull the gesture off.
After all, the mother of two admitted, “I didn’t know any sign language before [Scott and I] met.” So, for several months, the bride-to-be took to the internet to learn Auslan – the Australian version of sign language. Then, with much trial and error, she set about translating the song’s lyrics.
Even having learned the Auslan alphabet at the age of seven didn’t give Elizabeth much of an advantage. “Every time I practiced the song, I was getting it wrong,” she would confess to the Daily Mail. When the day of the wedding rolled around, then, the pressure was on the bride not to make any mistakes.
And according to Elizabeth herself, the moment was an anxious one. “Before I went in, I was freaking out,” the Sydney native recalled to the Daily Mail. “Not only did I want to get it right, but I knew he had friends there who were also deaf, so they would know exactly what I’m saying or not be able to say. I really wanted to get it right, so there was this extra level of stress walking in.”
Elizabeth continued, “Scott was confused because my son left me at the end of the aisle. But as soon as I locked eyes with Scott, I was signing to him like we were the only ones in the room. I got lucky on the day; I didn’t make any mistakes. Everything just came naturally from my heart and not my head.”
And it’s apparent from video footage of the event that the gesture had a profound effect on Scott, as he is seen wiping away a tear or two. Other guests were apparently touched by Elizabeth’s signing as well. Elizabeth herself wasn’t aware of the reactions of the crowd, though, as she was focused solely on her soon-to-be-husband.
Then, finally, after successfully signing all the lyrics, Elizabeth joined her groom at the altar and gave him a kiss. Scott’s response, however, was to share a common gesture that pretty much all of his guests could understand. He pointed at his wife and gave his hand a shake, as if to say, “She’s hot, right?”
Still, after the ceremony, some keen observers of the video clip chose to point out that Elizabeth had incorrectly signed the word “darling.” The bride wasn’t attempting to convey that word, though; indeed, Scott later explained on YouTube, “She was actually saying my name.” So not only had she gone to great lengths in learning to sign the song, but she had also taken the trouble to personalize it.
And in her interview with the Daily Mail, Elizabeth acknowledged that while there may be some communication difficulties in her relationship with Scott, their bond is nevertheless all the stronger for them. She revealed, “Our communication has heightened, because when we’re communicating we’re looking into each other’s eyes. I know I’m being heard.”