Stella and Joseph

Proposal Ideas Royal Botanical Gardens-Melbourne

how they asked

Joe and I had been friends for four years and then dating for three years at the time of my magical proposal. We had achieved so much together and as a consequence of massive financial ‘firsts’ (buying our first home, moving in together) I did NOT think this proposal was happening any time soon. In mid-July, Joe asked me when my next free Saturday afternoon was (as I usually work until 5pm), as he wanted to organise a night “just for us”. He enthusiastically suggested we book “one of those horse and carriage rides” (it’s not unlike him to suggest something like this so I didn’t suspect a thing) and told me that he’d book dinner as I “always pick the crap places” (not true Joe) so I left it all to him.

The day before the proposal my sister looked at me up and down and told me that I “look like crap” and that I need to “fix my hair” (as a child Psychologist you always have your hair in a ponytail or bun, as you’re always working with little children so of course, my oily pony didn’t look elegant). In response to a typical ‘Grace comment’, I reassured her that I was going to wash my hair and style it tomorrow morning (thanks for the nudge). I was also told to “dress nice for once”, as I’m always a jeans and top or Adidas kinda girl, again I was a good sport and rose to the challenge.

They say rain brings good luck, and we had an abundance of it. Saturday the 11th of August in Melbourne was one of the rainiest, most miserable looking Melbourne winter days. During our drive to the city, Joe continuously looked through the rain washed windows, sighed and in a deflated tone muttered: “it’s still raining”. Me, (miss oblivious over here) was baffled as to why he was so stressed about the weather! The carriage was going to be undercover and dinner was inside, right? I urged him to think positively, be rigid with the universe and tell it that the sun WILL come out for us.

Our horse and carriage ride started off pretty rainy but a magical experience nonetheless, and we set off on our trip through the Botanical Gardens. As I predicted, the rain suddenly stopped and the sun burst through the clouds. A huge smile beamed across my face in an “I told you so” moment but little did I know, it was a “the rain stopped just at the RIGHT time for this” moment. The coachman pulled the carriage over, folded the cover off and took photos of us in the carriage surrounded by the Botanical Gardens. He then suggested that we “go for a walk” as the horses “needed to rest”. I’m easy going and love an adventure so I enthusiastically agreed and followed Joe through the gardens with an umbrella in hand (just incase).

As we approached a beautiful white rotunder, I (a Christmas freak) pointed and childishly screamed “look Joe! There’s fairy lights!”. Joe calmly commented, “Stella I think they’re letters, what do you think it says?”. I’m short-sighted and can’t see distant objects without my glasses, so naturally, I admitted “I don’t know I can’t see from here!”. In hindsight, my poor eyesight actually gifted me an instant overwhelmingly beautiful surprise. As I stood directly infront of the rotunder, I realised that the fairy lights were actually a light up MARRY ME sign, with rose petals scattered on the floor below it. For a millisecond I still thought that all of this was not for me until I looked own and saw MY face in the picture frames below, I. was. speechless.

Joe proceeded to tell me that the best three years have been the best of his life, that he is proud of what we have achieved and the person that he has seen me grow to become. As I loudly sobbed, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I managed to choke out a “YES!” mid sob and tried to stop my head from spinning in shock. I was completely overwhelmed in the best possible way, I was so grateful and amazed that all of this was for me. Not only that, I was so excited to be marrying my best friend, who lights up my life with his humour and energy every day.

Our friends, Ashley and Chris popped out from behind a rotunder pillar and ran towards us with open arms cheering. They had set up two hours before I got there and fought off tourists who were trying to use the rotunder as shelter from the heavy rains. Thank you so much! As I finally re-entered my own body, we took some memorable photos with the set, and I didn’t want to leave, I kept hugging our friends and thanking them. Joe told me that we had to move on, as there were more surpises to come…and there was no dinner.

On the way home, Joe in relief blurted out all of the secrets he had been hiding from me for months. He told me that once he got home that we would change and go visit my mother. I opened my front door and turned the lights on to find our families and close friends waiting, who screamed SURPRISE! Our families had staged a massive surprise party for us, had decked our entire house out with decorations and had food and champagne ready to go. The crying and sobbing started again, my heart was so full and I was grateful to Joe and the people in my life who were there on this memorable day. Joe knew how much it would mean to me to share this moment with our family and friends,it was perfect.

I was still crying on and off the week following and it still hadn’t hit me that we were getting married until about 2 weeks after, I was on cloud nine! Now the excitement has shifted to wedding planning which I am very much enjoying! We have booked our wedding for March 2020.

I am so thankful to my fiance for the effort he went to to make this a special moment for us and I’ll never be able to articulate how grateful I am. There are few surprises in life, and this was the best one yet.

Special Thanks

Ashley Orchard | 
Christopher Borg | 
Pina Franzese |