Sarah and Gideon van Kampen

Sarah's Proposal in Portofino, Italy

How We Met

I’m going to share this from my perspective (Sarah) – don’t worry Gideon gave me full permission! We met in Ghent, Belgium while I was studying abroad and Gideon was working in this town. When I decided she wanted to take an abroad semester the one thing my parents told me not to do was fall in love with a European man… thankfully I didn’t take their advice! It didn’t happen overnight though, I really was committed to keeping Gideon at arms length as I would only be in Belgium for a few more months, but that didn’t last long. We hit it off from the start and quickly started spending more and more time together. From romantic dinners, eating fries and pizza along the canal, makeshift barbecues (he did not have a barbecue but the grocery store sold this fake disposable one… needless to say it wasn’t a success), weekend adventures (one of my favorite getting to watch his favorite soccer team in Amsterdam) and simply getting to know each other more and more each day – I began to fall deeper and deeper (I think I had Gideon from the start, regardless of what he would say). After 6 months of traveling back and forth (mostly him making the sacrifice and coming to me while I finished school) for weeks at a time to see each other, Gideon moved back to the US and the rest is history! (attached is one of our first photos together!)

How They Asked

Gideon and I recently went on the most wonderful trip through Italy. What I thought was a major coincidence, which turned out to be very planned by Gideon, my parents were planning a vacation to Italy at the same time! So about midway into our trip, we all ended up in Portofino, Italy together (including Gideon’s parents who currently live in Europe). After a day of enjoying the sunshine and the charming town, I was under the impression we were going to a wine tasting and then meeting our parents for a final dinner together before continuing on to our final destination.

As someone who loves wine, I was quite excited about this. So, after getting all dolled up, we began our trek to Castello Brown (the beautiful castle on the hill where I thought our wine tasting was). Upon getting to the top, and let me tell you this was a major climb, we took in the stunning views and had a moment to appreciate the place we were. Me being the planner that I am, I immediately noticed we were a minute past the time Gideon had said we were to meet for the tasting. When we walked to the front of the castle, the door was closed and locked.

I thought for sure we had missed it because of being a few minutes late. Disappointed and discouraged, I urged Gideon to contact someone to let them know we were here and just a few minutes late but he was certain we’d be okay. A few minutes later, a woman did finally come to get us which relaxed me for just a bit. But, when we opened the external patio of the castle, I was awestruck.

A beautiful table with some of our favorite photos, roses, and candles was scattered about. Before I could even react, Gideon was down on one knee asking me to be his wife. It was the absolute perfect moment – and after we had the most amazing views to enjoy while celebrating the rest of our lives. He takes care of me every single day, but the thought and intentional nature behind this day just prove how well he knows me.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in Portofino, Italy

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Portofino, Italy

Special Thanks

Simone Primo
 | Photographer
Martina Udicova
 | Planning