Romantic Proposal winners
In our search for New Zealand’s most original and heartfelt marriage proposals we received so many amazing stories that blew us away with their originality and personal touches. They’re all romantic in their own right, but we’re delighted to announce Amelia & Hamiora as the lucky winners! They’ll be jetting off to the magical Solomon Islands, staying at the wonderful Fatboys Resort, plus his and hers fragrances from Narciso Rodriguez.
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who entered – you have put a smile on our faces for the past months as we’ve been reading your entries! We wish we could make everyone a winner! All the best for the very best for your wedding.
Check out Amelia & Hamiora’s story, and those of our five runners-up below…
WINNERS Amelia & Hamiora
Hami and I have been together for over 11 years. We’ve been to our fair share of engagements and weddings, which would always see our friends and families asking when it would be our turn. It got to the point where the word wedding had become a bit of a touchy subject for Hami!
We are both very keen adventurers who love exploring New Zealand’s wild wilderness. We’ve also spent a number of years traveling around the world doing the same thing. We’ve hiked to Mt Everest Base Camp in Nepal, spent a year snowboarding all over Canada, scrambled up Mt Fuji in Japan and explored much of the Icelandic landscape whilst surrounded by the northern lights, just to name a few. With a number of amazing places (all with huge wedding proposal potential) ticked off our bucket lists and still no proposal, I had finally come to the conclusion that memories are more important than a sparkly ring.
A few years back we had a bit of a scare and that made us realise how short life was so we decided to start a family. We now have a gorgeous and determined baby boy who gets carried through all our adventures.
One weekend (like most weekends) we packed our bags and camping gear for an overnight hike. We made our way down to Franz Josef Glacier to start what ended up being a five-hour hike up the mountain. This isn’t the most straightforward of hikes at times. It requires a good level of fitness and many times we had to duck and crawl under fallen trees or climb over big boulders. All of this while having a 9kg baby strapped to the front of me along with 12kg of gear on my back.
After a long, grueling afternoon we finally made it to the top but unfortunately we were surrounded by thick cloud and light drizzle. Our nine-month-old and I huddled together against a rock, protecting ourselves from the wind and rain, while Hami went up ahead to find a spot to set up camp. After 10 very long minutes, Hami returned to take us up to our spot for the night. Because the weather wasn’t playing its part we decided to have an early one as we were confident the next morning would be clear and calm. Overnight the temperature dropped to the low digits but we were well prepared and made sure we were all wrapped up warm. However, I was not prepared for what was about to happen next.
We woke the next morning to a crisp bluebird day. We unzipped our tent door and the scene that presented itself was just the most breath-taking imaginable. From where we laid we were able to gaze across the lush rainforest valley to the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier and equally impressive Southern Alps. While the morning sun warmed us as it beamed into the tent we remained in our sleeping bags just lying there for several minutes soaking up this magical vista. All of sudden Hami turned to me and held out a small box with a ribbon around it. I instantly knew what was in this box before it was opened, but I was in complete and utter disbelief as I had long ago given up on this day ever coming. Hami said something to me – I can’t be sure what he said – but I’m pretty sure it was “will you marry me?” My eyes and mouth were as big and wide as possible. I was speechless. I must have nodded because I then hear Hami ask me for confirmation! What was already a memorable morning had now become a truly unforgettable one.
This may not have been a typical proposal but when you turn down places like the Grand Canyon, Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, or Cinque Terre to propose then you’d better find somewhere pretty special. And he certainly went above and beyond to make this a very special one. But let’s be honest, I sure had to work hard for it! To top it all off he told me he’d carried up a couple of bottles of champers and then handed me a bottle of Speights. I guess after all, he is still just a typical Kiwi bloke.
Crystal & Jonatan
Jonatan and I have been dating for two-and-a-half years. He is Argentinian and I am a New Zealander. We met through a mutual friend and there was an instant attraction, however he did not speak much English and I did not speak Spanish. The first few months of our relationship was difficult as we had to teach one another our language to be able to communicate. He learnt English very quickly and I also picked up Spanish along the way. We knew we wanted to get married and had talked about it a lot but I wasn¹t expecting the proposal when it happened.
Jonatan has a deep love for music, he can play nearly any instrument and will play for hours and hours on end. He recently joined a band with a few fellow Latinos and the opportunity came up for them to play their first gig at Auckland¹s Ponsonby Market. There were many people there listening to his band when Jonatan dedicated a song to me and then proceeded to play one of my all-time favourite songs Stand by Me. Near the end of the song he put down his guitar, invited me to the front and dropped a knee. I was so lost for words and he was incredibly nervous! It was an instant YES! The crowd was cheering us on and congratulating us. It was such a special moment and a day I will never forget. I cannot wait to marry the love of my life later this year!
Kate & David
Kate and I live in Wellington and were in Melbourne with her mum to watch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Harry Potter is one of Kate’s all-time favourite book series and she was super excited to go see it.
On the Saturday afternoon, after having explored Melbourne by foot all day, we had gone back to the hotel for an hour or so to get ready for dinner. I told Kate to get dressed up because there was a nice restaurant I wanted to take her to. Little did she know, that for a few weeks, I had been in contact with Ashley from KIL Productions, a street artist in Melbourne, to commission a piece from him with ‘Marry Me Kate?’ on one of the street art laneways in the CBD. It had to be purple and have strawberries on it (two of Kate’s favourite things).
The three of us headed out, with me following the instructions Ashley had sent, Kate’s mum buzzing with excitement, and Kate happily unaware what was about to happen.
I found the alley where Ashley had been working and standing guard for the last few hours. While Kate was busy reading what the wall said, I got down on one knee and popped the question. I mucked up the speech I had planned but she still said yes!
I know that Kate’s a crier (we can’t watch any movie without her crying), so just as she started to look around for tissues from her mum, I pulled a bunch of tissues out of my pocket that I had prepared earlier. Nailed it.
We stuck around for a while afterwards so we could call family and friends back home. Getting to see her smiling and showing off the ring for everyone, including strangers on the street who would walk past, was something I won’t forget.
I’m a lucky guy
Sarah & Joe
I met Sarah through the ambulance service where I worked as a paramedic, and Sarah was in her final year of the paramedic degree and working for the ambulance service also. It was love at first sight and after becoming a couple I soon discovered our shared love for Christmas and everything that goes along with it.
Knowing that Sarah was the one early on, planning for the proposal started soon after. Having a look at proposal ideas online, found that many of them were public which didn’t resonate with me as I wanted something deeply private and special. As I was packing away the Christmas decorations after our first Christmas together, it suddenly dawned on me to do a Christmas proposal.
After doing some research I discovered the Classic Christmas Tree company located in Greytown. A remarkable business that Monica and Paul have created growing seven different varieties of Christmas trees on their property. Approaching Paul, I asked if I could organise my engagement on his property. This was a first for Paul and Monica, but they quickly agreed and were on board with this fun-filled journey.
I chose a day when Sarah was working on the ambulance and I knew I had 11 hours to get to Greytown and back, without being detected as ever being away. Monica and Paul kindly showed me around their amazing gardens, helping me look for the perfect spot. The last area of their farm I was shown was perfect, and a natural aisle had been created with a row on either side of Arizona Cypress Blue Ice trees that led down to 2x 5m high pine trees as a backdrop.
The plan was that the proposal would occur at the end of October, as this would allow Sarah’s parents and sister to join us for what we pretended was a simple birthday getaway.
I wanted to incorporate candles, but given this proposal was going to be done during summer with trees and long grass around us, I had to get creative. Upon finding the right LED candles with a flicker effect, I ordered 150 of them, setting the path leading to where the proposal would be.
Next was the decoration of the trees.
For this I was able to look through the photos of Sarah growing as a child and picked out ones where we had done similar activities. For instance, we had both attended a beavers and girl guides group, both have fished with our parents, and as toddlers had worn similar outfits of the early 1990s style. Having my photos scanned by my parents from the UK, I had all these photos printed and laminated.
Next I wanted to find lighting similar to a Christmas tree, but could be run off batteries as we were away from the main house. I managed to source copper lights with LEDs built in.
Lastly I managed to find some rustic bunting. The plan was to have the bunting come from the end of the pine tree and then wrap around the tops of the aisle of Arizona Cypress Blue Ice trees. Effectively symbolizing us growing up and then becoming one. On one side of the aisle was pictures of me growing up and on the other was pictures of Sarah.
For the ring, I couldn’t take my eye of the simple and elegant one stone set in an 18 carat gold band. Knowing that Sarah loved rose gold made this an easy decision.
Now to find a photographer to capture our special moment. I was lucky that my colleague and friend Carl was keen to undertake the task. Carl had worked alongside me for several years as a paramedic, and had started a photography business for weddings.
On the day of the proposal I, along with Sarah, her parents and sister, headed for Greytown. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and even better… no wind! Sarah, her sister and mum headed to complete some retail therapy, thankfully allowing me and her dad to slip away to set up the lights, pictures and bunting.
Given that the proposal would have to be after 8pm for darkness, I enlisted the help of Kenneth Miller, co-owner, and restaurant manager of Saluté where we planned to have dinner. Kenneth was only too keen to help and I explained that after ordering dessert I planned to slip away to the site early, and that Sarah’s dad would bring her after. I had also brought with me some light up letters that spelt “love”, and a note would be delivered just after I had left telling Sarah to enjoy her dessert, and then hand her car keys to her dad.
Everything had come together, and seeing Sarah walk down the aisle of Christmas trees I couldn’t have been any happier. Admittedly, we both cried during my proposal, but they were only tears of happiness. She said yes.
Letitia & Eti
On 12 Dec 2012, I received a Facebook friend request from a man in Auckland. At the time I lived in Wellington and we had no mutual friends in common, so I thought ‘I ain’t accepting this”. This friend request sat there for a good three months and one day I decided to accept. I am not sure why! Within minutes I received a message: ‘Hey, I know you from somewhere – you’re really pretty’. From there started a month of casual chatting with Eti. As life would have it, I received a job opportunity in Auckland, so I packed up my life and moved to the big smoke. A few weeks in to my new city life, we decided to meet up for lunch, and it was there I knew he had to be for me. The complete opposite of everything I ever looked for with the sweetest soul. Still to this day we do not how he found me on Facebook!
Fast forward to April 2019 and we had spent four weeks in the USA, in LA at the Coachella music festival, Vegas and New York. Since I was little girl I envisioned going to Times Square and feeling a sense of accomplishment doing so. On the second to last night of our holiday, we stumbled across the most amazing Mexican restaurant in the heart of Times Square, called Dos Caminos. Here we had the most beautiful dinner, with the plan of going out by the lights and taking some photos. I was so excited – this was a bucket list moment for me. Eti kept racing off the bathroom every 10 minutes, I thought he was feeling unwell – turns out he was so nervous he was messaging his friends and my girls on his toilet breaks haha.
We finally found the perfect spot for photos – me being eager to get my bucket list shot I got in position for the most epic photo. Eti asked two tourists to take some pictures of us. He told me to turn around and look out to the lights and he would hold me from the back. I felt him move away and I yelled ‘Are the photos good?’ I turned around and there he was, on his knee in front of 100 or so people asking me to marry him. People were cheering and clapping – it was surreal. Eti is shy and doesn’t like attention so this was absolutely unpredictable.
My bucket list moment turned out to be the greatest moment of my life.
Shelley & Cory
Cory and I have a six-year-old son Lochie. Cory has been married before, I have been engaged before. Neither of us have really spent much time talking about marriage, although I did say a while ago that I reckon it’s got to be a grand gesture!
We aren’t romantic or public people. Cory is a surf lifesaving coach and has ended up with a few kids in his club making NZ teams and needing to fundraise. Through my job I sponsor one of the surf club girls and she had been running a few raffles. She contacted me on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in buying a $20 raffle ticket to win a helicopter flight. Our son is flying-mad so I jumped at the chance. She said Gisborne Helicopters would contact the winner. A few days later she pressed me for my lucky number and gave me her bank account details to pay for the raffle ticket.
I got a phone call from Gisborne Helicopters a few days later saying I had won the flight. I was so excited (for our son) and told the pilot we are currently building a house on the hill, the floor should be built by then and it would be so neat to fly over it and have a look from the air. He booked the flight for the following Saturday morning.
Saturday came and we met Cory at the airport after soccer – he’d been surfing. Off we went on our flight. Eventually we looped around over the beach and came up to our house site. Cory says to me ‘There’s a bit of a surprise up here’ and I have to cover my eyes. Once I was allowed to look, he had painted on the floor of our new house ‘Shell will you marry me?’ I didn’t think he was serious! Poor Lochie didn’t know what the heck was going on. Cory then produced a box from a local jeweller who I love and quickly advised me it was a fake ring and I would get to make my own.
We were lucky enough to land the helicopter on the floor of our house, we got out and Cory had brought Champagne to celebrate. As the helicopter was landing I asked Cory if I actually won the raffle – no I hadn’t. There actually wasn’t a raffle in the first place! The whole thing had been rigged. Cory didn’t miss soccer to go surfing… he went up to the house site to paint on the floor. He’d spent the whole day before cleaning up and strapping everything down so the helicopter could land. I consider myself a bit of a detective and was shocked that I had NO CLUE this had been planned behind my back!
Fair to say, we popped the cork toward the ocean and toasted this epic event.