Ayla and Franceso

How We Met

From Ayla: Francesco and I are actually family friends. His mother’s cousin is a very close friend of the family, so we likely saw one another over the years, just never really spoke at length. I remember meeting his mom 10 years ago at a bridal shower and how warm she was. In 2015, I was about to move to Italy and he asked me if I wanted someone to practice my Italian with ( he was born and raised in Rome). We dated briefly before I left, but the timing was wrong. We kept in touch while I was away, and shortly after I moved back home, we went out for pizza and decided that we were worth another shot , and started dating again. May 18th, the day I moved to DC and started a new job, we made it official. That following year, January 18th, we moved in together in DC, and then August 18th he proposed.

How They Asked

From Ayla: For the proposal, I had no idea how much planning was happening all around me. My best friend Krysta and Francesco worked out an idea that we would be doing a couples shoot in Rome at sunrise, on my favorite bridge. She had me do some solo shots, and some solo shots of him, and then had us do some silly action shots together. After, she said I’d have to stand facing away from him, and him away from me to do some shots where she would ask questions and we’d turn around at the same time and then she’d snap the picture. I don’t know much about photography but trust her implicitly, so I turned around and just stood there. She asked me a few questions and then said, “turn around I think Francesco has a question for you.” And I turned around and he was on one knee ?? it was the best moment of my life thus far and even better is my closest friend got to be there and share that moment with me.

We called our families, who already knew, and I found out how much planning went into all this. Later that night, we were going to dinner to celebrate, and I found out that my parents had flown to Italy to surprise me!

It has been a whirlwind week but the best week of my life. We will be getting married at Castello Monaci in Puglia, Italy on 8/28/19.

From Francesco: The idea originated when Krysta (Ayla’s best friend and professional photographer) offered to do a portrait session of us while we were in Rome, Italy. Given Ayla’s strong connection to the country, I knew it would be most meaningful and romantic if it was done there. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this plan was truly the perfect way to ask Ayla to spend the rest of her life with me. After several ideas, Krysta suggested we do this on the bridge at the feet of Castel Sant’ Angelo, and also coordinated the proposal such that it could be perfectly caught on camera. We could not be happier with how this memory was recorded and could not be more thankful for her dedication and attention to detail. We can’t wait to cover our walls with these pictures. Not only do they vividly depict the visual of the moment, but also capture all the emotion and love that was running through every nerve in my body, when I got on a knee to propose to my FOREVER.

The nerves slowly built up as the shoot progressed. I really believe that Krysta was starting to sense this and as a way to take the edge off she had us do some funny poses. It really helped, and got my mind off of it…. sorta. All the poses were well thought out and executed. I’m remember thinking to myself, how glad I was that such a detail oriented photographer was about to capture the most important moment of our lives. As the session was coming to an end she signaled to me that this was the moment, Ayla with her back towards me as I knelt down. This is when I froze, I had a whole speech prepared but I couldn’t find the words that had been rehearsed several times. Krysta asked her to turn around, and once she did it took her a few seconds to realize what was going on. Before I could finish my sentence of asking her to marry me, she said “but yes, of course I will”. I’ll remember the feeling of her hug, and the adrenaline rush forever, I could barely speak. It was truly beautiful.

Special Thanks