Traveling has always been such an amazing thrill for me. I love to explore and experience new cultures, immerse myself in a world unlike my own. Just over three years ago, my best friend and I backpacked through Italy and it was a trip of a lifetime. When the opportunity arose to travel abroad again, we jumped on it and brought along four more people! My husband, her boyfriend, my sister and mother all joined in on the fun. However, while everyone was planning what sites to see, Abbey’s boyfriend, Andrew, and I were discussing plans for the perfect proposal for his girlfriend. (By the way, Andrew, HARDEST secret to keep for two months!!!)
We discussed the different options – The Cinque Terre region on our first day? No. We hoped to do some hiking between towns and with just getting off the plane, she wouldn’t like the “plane hair” look. How about Venice on day 5? One word. Water. And would we really want to keep that secret for the ENTIRE trip?! How about sunset in Florence? Winner winner chicken dinner right here! Florence was a town we both adored while we were there in 2013. I’ve seen immaculate photos from the lookout at sunset in Florence and we knew it would be the perfect destination for his surprise proposal.
ALL day Wednesday, I had the ring and box in my camera bag. ALL day I was worried she would see it, it would fall out, someone would somehow pickpocket it. Talk about nerve-wracking! (I know I know, not as nerve-wracking as popping the question! But still…). Florence was full of life and art. Wednesday, the 8th was International Women’s day, which meant ladies got in free to most museums. That Wednesday was also a day for workers to go on strike, so most everything closed up early. We still managed to fit in quite a bit – 12 miles worth of walking and exploring! We checked out the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens, we were able to see the Statue of David – who is GIANT by the way! We also took a peek inside the famous Duomo – Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, also quite large. Seriously, those who think everything is bigger in Texas has clearly never been to Europe.
About 4 o’clock, the six of us met back up and began the nearly 2 mile trek up to the Piazzale Michelangelo. I didn’t realize just how many steps were involved with climbing UP to the lookout. After already climbing hundreds….if not a couple thousand….flights of stairs already, Abbey kept side-eyeing me for making her climb even more! I only kept telling her, “I promise it’s worth it. You’re going to love the view!” All I would get in reply was some huffing, puffing, and scoffing.
We finally reached the top! PS at the top of the steps is a small coffee and snack shop. BEST Italian hot chocolate I had during the duration of our trip. Italian hot chocolate typically has the consistency of hot pudding and this surpassed every one I had by far. It puts American hot chocolate to shame. However, I digress. Back to the story!!
The lookout had two levels, an upper deck that backed up to a parking lot, then stadium seating leading down to the bottom tier that even had a small restaurant to enjoy the view of the setting Tuscan sun while you enjoy your meal. We clamored down the stadium seats and checked out the sites. I conveniently had to use the restroom and handed my camera bag off to Andrew. I came back and wanted to get some sunset photos of the “couples” – mom and Meg, Derek and I, and Abbey and Andrew. Mom and Meg went first, then I handed my camera to Megan to snap a photo of Derek and I, all while Andrew still carried my bag. I finally “remembered” to get my bag back from him and I snapped away of Abbey posing in front of the glowing setting sun. Finally, she was fed up and called Andrew over, “If I only had a man!” she giggled. Oh honey, you have your man. <3
Andrew hid the little blue box behind his back and he walked up, Abbey still oblivious to what was about to happen. They took hands and soaked up the view for a moment. That’s when Andrew leaned in to kiss an unsuspecting Abbey. She took both of his hands, but recoiled when she felt something in his left hand. Suddenly my own hands became hot and shaky! This was it!! The moment we’ve planned…my best friend is getting ENGAGED! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! Andrew dropped to his knee and pulled the ring box out in front of her. She squealed, “That’s my ring!” Though we couldn’t hear what Andrew was saying to her, Abbey was speechless.
As the seconds dwindled by, tears were flowing from Abbey. I honestly don’t remember much, I was trying so hard just to keep my camera still because I was bawling like a little baby trying to capture this amazing moment for the two of them. As Abbey kissed Andrew and Andrew arose to embrace her, we began to cheer and applaud in celebration. Suddenly, we hear a crowd erupt behind us with cheering that could challenge a stadium full of soccer fans! Apparently everyone on the upper deck and stadium seating behind us also watched and began celebrating with them!! What. an. experience. After we wiped the tears and snot from our faces, so many people had come from all sides of us to say congratulations to the newest betrothed couple.
I am so honored to have captured this amazingly perfect Italian proposal for my best friend. They deserve the absolute best and I can’t wait to see their love story unfold as they journey through life together.
Want to see the VIDEO of the proposal?!? Check it out here! And come back later for their engagement photos up on the blog!
Because there is always an afterward – here are a few more photos of the most amazing sunset and city skyline view you’ve ever seen. Enjoy <3