The goodbye was difficult, but very quickly they knew that they wanted to keep the adventure going. They lived in Sydney, Australia for two years together before deciding to move to Chicago, Mike’s hometown, to be closer to family. However, before the big move they decided to go traveling around Europe for six weeks. It was a great opportunity for Francesca to show Mike around her home (London) and to also meet her family for the first time. Mike was kind enough to share their beautiful proposal story in his own words:
“After meeting her parents in London we embarked on our trip. First stop was Italy.
Francesca is half Italian, her Mothers family is from Northern Italy and she is very proud of her roots there. I knew that I wanted to propose somewhere she would love. So I researched places and found Cinque Terre. To be exact a small village called Riomaggiore, built right on the Mediterranean sea.
There was a walk along the cliffs in Riomaggiore called ‘lovers walk’ where I planned to ask Francesca to marry me. Unfortunately that plan was ruined when we arrived and were told that the walk was closed due to a landslide.
I had been carrying around the engagement ring (a makeshift ring as I was getting her diamond ring made for her in Chicago) all day and I started getting worried that Francesca might see it in my pocket, so I put the small pink box into my sunglasses case and put it in her bag.
It was coming towards the end of the day, I hadn’t quite found a perfect spot and I started to get more and more nervous. It was such a hot day and we were sweating walking around the village as tourists.
We bought two Italian beers and sat in a doorway in the shade waiting for our boat back to the mainland. I was sipping my beer when I heard, “uh oh, on no’. It was Francesca. She had gone into her bag and opened my sunglasses case to find a cloth to clean her glasses and instead she found the little pink box.
It wasn’t my perfect plan but I knew I wanted to ask her there and then. So in that doorway on the cliff overlooking the sea I got down on one knee. I told her that I loved her more than anything in the world and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.
While I was on one knee asking this important question I noticed people walking by. They all quickly realized what was happening and stopped to watch. By the time Francesca said yes we had a big applause and people cheering us. It may not have been the way I wanted to ask her but it was perfect nonetheless.”
With such an epic meeting and proposal we wanted a location that could somewhat depict the different adventures that they experienced while traveling Europe together. The Garfield Conservatory ended up being the perfect location. Between the “Palm House” which takes you through a tropical oasis, to brilliance of the “Desert House”, we explored some of the most stunning landscapes in the world just within this incredible greenhouse in the city.
We ended the session with the scenic glassy backdrop of the Chicago city skyline against the glassy blues of Lake Michigan. Since being engaged their bond has only grown stronger. The golden sunset was exquisite as Francesca and Mike shared everything from the memories of how their relationship began to the sweet dreams they see for their future, and I was beyond grateful and honored that they allowed me to capture it all.