Dani and Michael

How We Met

I had heard about Michael for a long time through our very close family friend, Belinda, who is a mutual friend of both our families. Belinda, kept telling my mom and I for months that she had a guy for me, and that I must meet him. I knew who Michael was, as he was a pharmacist in our community and also a swimming prodigy at my school. We both went to the same school but he was a few years older than me, and then he left to go to a different school for a swimming scholarship before we crossed over in high school. At the same time, unbeknownst to Michael, Belinda would also tell Michael’s mother that she had a girl for Michael. This information was never passed on to Michael, and so nothing really eventuated for about 6 months.

Finally, Belinda invited both our families to a big dinner she was having at her home. Michael’s entire family were invited as well as my family and many other families were there too. Michael actually had other plans and wasn’t planning on coming to Belinda’s house that night. Luckily, his dinner plans finished early and so he went home and got into bed. While in bed, his mom texted him saying he should come past Belinda’s house, because Michael’s brother, David, was in town (he lived in Melbourne at the time and we live in Sydney) and he was also at Belinda for dinner. So…Michael got out of bed, got dressed again and came to Belinda’s house to see his brother. When he arrived, there was a huge commotion between him and his brother. A lot of laughing, hugging and family jokes- it was hard not to miss his entrance!

Everyone was sitting on long tables, there were about 50 people there for dinner. I was sitting with my family and Michael went to sit next to his family at a table that was opposite mine. I noticed Belinda approach Michael where she was chatting to him for a while, and looking over at me…there was a lot of laughing as well! A few minutes later, I see Michael start approaching our table, holding flowers in a vase that was the table decorations. He comes right next to me, goes down on one knee, presents me with the flowers in the vase and says “Hi, I’m Michael nice to meet you,” with his whole family watching on and laughing at his courageousness. I was dying of embarrassment, with my dad, mom, brother and sister all laughing hysterically at what had just happened. Not to mention everyone in the room saw what had unfolded and started clapping- I was absolutely mortified. I can’t even remember if I responded to him! We didn’t speak for the rest of the night, I think I couldn’t get out of there quick enough! But the next day I received a facebook friend request and an invitation to go for a coffee. We met for a coffee the next day and the rest is history!

how they asked

So… It is my birthday on the 11th of November, which fell on a Saturday this year. Michael has a learn to swim school, which operates on Saturday mornings, so I had plans to go for breakfast with my parents on my birthday and see Michael after he finishes work at about lunch time. I hadn’t really given my birthday much thought this year as I was so busy with university exams which finished a few days before my birthday, however I had arranged Saturday night drinks with about 30 of our friends at a bar for the night of my birthday.

Three days before my birthday, Michael said to me maybe he will see if he can get his sister to help run the swim school for him the morning of my birthday so that he could at least join us for breakfast and go back to work after. I told him obviously that would be amazing but there was no pressure, but he said he would try work something out. The next day he excitedly told me that he had arranged with his sister to open up the swim school so that he could join us for breakfast. I was so happy! He said to me that we should then make the most of the morning if he was taking off work, and that we should go for an early morning walk before breakfast in Palm beach (one of the most beautiful beaches in the Northern beaches precinct of Sydney). I love going for walks around Sydney as there are so many beautiful walking trails, and I always beg him to go for walks with me! So Michael definitely thought I’d be thrilled with the idea.

My initial reaction was not what he had expected. I wasn’t keen and said I don’t really want to wake up so early on my birthday, and I suggested we rather go for that walk at lunch time when he gets back from work instead. He looked upset when I said no, but he didn’t insist on it and said “okay, we can do whatever you want, I just thought it would be so nice and not as busy early in the morning.” I still wasn’t budging and said no, lets rather go later on!

Unbeknownst to me, Michael was freaking out as he had already booked a photographer to capture our proposal early in the morning because there would be less people around and the lighting would be beautiful at that time. He called my mother that day in a panic saying he didn’t know what to do because I didn’t want to go for the walk, so they were scheming the whole day about how to get me to want to go for the morning walk. My parents knew he was going to propose as Michael had asked my dad’s permission about two weeks before.

That evening my mom casually asked me what Michael had planned for my birthday. I told her he wanted to take me for an early morning walk before breakfast because he got off work to come with us, but that I wasn’t really keen on waking up so early. She did an amazing job at making me feel so guilty!! She said “Shame Dan, he’s taken off work for you to do something nice and make the most of your birthday! You are being so mean to him- all he wants to do is spoil you! Just let him do what he wants to do for you for your birthday and stop being difficult.”

After that conversation I felt sooooo bad and straightaway texted him, while he was at work, telling him I wanted to go for the walk and it was the most beautiful idea! He was incredibly relieved. The day before my birthday, my mom and I went to get our nails done (at her request). When she suggested it (two weeks before), I was more than happy to, as I had my birthday drinks the next night, so I didn’t really give it much thought. Michael, however, had actually arranged with my mom to make sure I got my nails done, as he knew that I would have been so upset if I got engaged without nice nails!! He knows me too well!

The next morning was my birthday. We woke up bright and early at 6am, to leave the house at 6:30am, to get to Palm beach for the walk at 7:00am so that we could meet my parents for breakfast at 8:00am at the boathouse in Palm Beach (a really well known, beautiful cafe) because Michael had to leave to get back to the swim school by 10:00am. I didn’t think anything of it. I rolled out of bed, put my walking clothes on, I didn’t even bother to put on any makeup, and we got on our way. The morning was normal, I didn’t notice Michael feeling nervous or anything at all, which was so unlike him as I was always worried that the day Michael proposed I’d know just from his behaviour! I am very inquisitive and exceptionally hard to surprise!

We arrive at Palm beach and its the perfect morning, the weather was so beautiful. We start to make our way across the beach to get to the walking trail. The walk isn’t very long, but it is a steep 1km up to the lighthouse at the top of the mountain. Michael told me that he had never done this walk before so we were both excited. As we were making our way up, I notice Michael huffing and puffing, which is so unlike him, as he is the fittest person I know- A national swimmer, triathlete and Ironman. I ask him whats wrong and why he is so out of breath?? He blamed his “lack of fitness” on not really training for a while (little did I know he was about to propose!)

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

I kept stopping along the way to take photos, and Michael (anxious to get to the top), kept telling me to stop taking photos because we would take even nicer ones at the top. We finally get to the top, where the lighthouse is and there were a couple of people there admiring the view and scenery. I noticed a photographer who walked past us in the opposite direction and we said good morning to each other. Michael then led me to a bush path. My nervous self asked him how does he know where to go and if it was safe? He assured me it was fine and said that he had seen pictures of the walk and knew we were going in the right direction (little did I know he had been there a few days before to map out exactly what he was going to do and the perfect spot where he was going to propose).

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

Dani's Proposal in Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

He led me to this big rock which overlooked two beautiful beaches- it was absolutely spectacular. There was no one around us. We took a selfie, admired the view and then, he took out my birthday card and gave it to me. At this point, in my head I was thinking- wow, this would be a perfect place to propose!! I start reading my birthday card and it was so beautiful and special, it brought me to tears.

I get to the end of the most beautiful card and it said… “I just have one more question for you…” At that exact moment, he got down on one knee, took out my dream ring (which he had been designing for nearly a year) and asked me to marry him. It was the best moment of my life! I was in such shock, I burst out crying, we hugged and soon after Michael pointed out the photographer who was hiding in the bushes, capturing the whole moment. We stayed at the top for about 20 minutes- laughing, crying and talking about the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it.

Where to Propose in Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

The best part was that the photographer captured the whole experience. Michael then told me that both our families were waiting at the cafe at the bottom! We walk back down and I see my parents, my sister and my brother on facetime (as he is in Canada on exchange) as well as Michael’s parents. It was so emotional! We all had breakfast together and it was just the most perfect morning- not to mention the best birthday ever. To top it all off, that night I had already planned to see all my friends for drinks, so what was originally birthday drinks, turned into a mini engagement party- it was so amazing. Michael also booked one of the most beautiful hotels for the evening, which was right around the corner from where I had planned my birthday drinks. He really thought of every detail- it was the most amazing day and definitely a birthday I will never forget! I am so lucky!!

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

Proposal Ideas Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

Dani and Michael's Engagement in Palm Beach Lighthouse, Sydney Australia

Special Thanks

Deanna Gerlach
 | Photographer