Fairytale Engagement


Fairytale Engagement After Eight Years Courting

A proposal that took eight years but ended with a fairytale engagement in an Italian castle!

Bill has never been one to be rushed; he has a tendency to do things in his own time. And the lovely Joanne is quite similar, so together they make a good pair. This was the case when they met and the case when he (finally) proposed.

Bill and Joanne met whilst Joanne was still at university. She had a part time job in a cafe that was located in the hospital where Bill was working. While she had seen him a few times, and was friends with some of his colleagues, she hadn’t really taken much notice of him. Bill obviously had noticed her as despite being a lifelong tea drinker he developed a sudden twice daily coffee habit.

“I didn’t realise at the time, but on the day that Bill decided to ask me out he came down about seven times, lost his nerve and ordered a coffee instead. At the end of the day when the cafe was closing and he knew it was his final chance, Bill finally came down, all hyped from the all-day coffee binge and asked me on a date. From there we never looked back.” – Joanne

Whilst they started speaking about getting married from very early on in their relationship, Joanne was still studying and the time never seemed right.

After they had been together seven years they went on a holiday to Europe to attend the wedding of some friends. Despite the reason for the trip, a proposal was the last thing on either of their minds. However, on the final day of the holiday, high up in the Italian Alps Bill suddenly woke up and thought “Today would be a good day to propose.”

With his mind made up he told their Italian friend Claudio the plan and the two men set about making it happen. Claudio organized for Bill to go into the town under the guise of buying breakfast and found a jeweller to make a ring.

On the way back to Claudio’s home, Bill looked up the mountain, and saw the nearby Castle Ivano. This castle dates back to 590 A.D. and was used as a Roman fort until the end of World War I, when it was bought by a family, who own the property to this date. Bill knew that Joanne loved castles and told Claudio that was where he wanted to propose. Whilst this was a great idea, there was one major problem: it is a private residence and was at the time only open to the public once a year.


Castle Ivano. Photo courtesy of: http://www.visitvalsugana.it/en

As an Italian that knew Bill and Joanne’s history of a very long dating period, Claudio decided that quick action was required to make this proposal happen. He called the Castle’s caretaker, and explained the situation. Italians love a good romantic story, and the caretaker agreed to the plan of allowing Bill and Joanne in for a private tour.

Bill and Claudio came home and told Joanne that they had organized a tour of the local castle. Bill then snuck out of the house to call Joanne’s mother and ask her permission for her daughters hand in marriage.

Later that afternoon they drove up to the castle for the tour. The caretaker put on a good show, charging 5 Euros entry and issuing them tickets. Despite the castle being empty of any other tourists, and that Bill was sweating, Joanne was still oblivious.

As the tour neared the end and they were about to climb the tower, the caretaker announced this was the last stop on the tour. Unbeknownst to Joanne however, what the caretaker was really saying was “Bill, you better make your move”. We got up the tower and while Joanne was distracted with the amazing view, Bill knelt down on one knee and opened the ring box. In shock, all Joanne could manage were tears and a nod of her head. Much to Bill’s relief with his knee aching from the cobblestones, she eventually said yes.


Bill proposes to Joanne in the tower at Castle Ivano.

The next day the newly-engaged couple got on a plane home and started telling their friends and family. There were two things Bill heard more than anything else: “You set the bar high with that proposal” and, more often, “Finally!”.

When I met Bill and Joanne, it was clear that Bill was going to be one of the funniest men I have ever met, and Jo was a strong and confident woman. With a proposal that nothing could complete with in terms of romance, I suggested going to Luna Park in Sydney for a more fun engagement shoot. Afterwards we could then take a few engagement photos followed by a few more around the Sydney Harbour Foreshore. The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge always makes a beautiful backdrop for some engagement photos.

The afternoon and evening we choose did not have the best of weather with intermittent rain throughout the session. It gave us all an excuse to go on some more rides and have some fun. All this fun made us hungry and Joanne had a great suggestion for a local Asian tapas restaurant. Beautiful food and some Japanese beer made the evening complete.


Bill and Joanne enjoy the fun of Luna Park for their Engagement photoshoot.

Before parting we made a little time to get a few quick photos with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. Overall, it was such a fun evening and it was great to get to know Joanne and Bill at lot better. I couldn’t wait for their wedding that was not too far away.

Bill and Joanne’s engagement shoot ended at night in view of Sydney landmark Harbour Bridge

Joanne also decided that instead of a guest signing book she wanted an Engagement Photo board that we made for her with her favourite photo from the engagement shoot. Now Joanne and Bill have a memory to hang on the wall of both the engagement photo shoot and their wedding.


An Engagement Photo Board is a great alternative to a guest signature book for you wedding.

An Engagement Photo Board is a great alternative to a guest signature book for you wedding.

Click here to view their colourful Luna Park Engagement Shoot
Read their First Look Q&A