A weekend trip to Melbourne to visit her boyfriend turned into something special for Fatime Nazifi after Ghengis Hasan planned a surprise proposal on a romantic gondola ride on the Yarra. The couple married a year later.By Jenna Bishop
"I had decided that it was time to propose, so I Googled a few ideas – basically I really had no idea. I didn’t want to make it too difficult to organise, but I still wanted it to be special," Ghengis said.
"I saw a gondola ride on the Yarra, which went in front of the Crown Casino and I thought that would be perfect, so I booked it without her knowing. We went down to the river and I pointed out the gondola and suggested we go for a ride.
"She said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s really nice’, but she didn’t seem convinced. We went looking for the gondola boarding spot, and I asked the guy if we could go for a ride.
"He said, ‘No, no, this is a booking-only service’, but I winked at him, subtly trying to let him know that I already had a booking. I managed to catch his eye, and he asked me to show him the booking. Then he changed his tone slightly, saying ‘Oh, I’ll see what I can do, just give me a second’.
"So we came back in about 10-15 minutes and got on the gondola.
"I had the ring ready in my jacket pocket, and I managed to take it out while she wasn’t looking. It was our first experience on a gondola, since neither of us had been to Venice.
"After the proposal, I brought out some roses and champagne on the gondola.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking, but it was fun."
“He proposed on a gondola on the Yarra in Melbourne," Fatime said.
"We were going out to dinner at the Crown Casino, at one of the conservatories. Walking across the bridge, we saw a gondola going down the river, and he said ‘Oh look at that, it looks so sweet. Do you want to go on it?’ I said ‘No, it’s okay, I don’t mind’, but then he said ‘No, no, let’s go’, and we decided to go on it.
"He had already pre-planned this, but I didn’t realise until after. So we got down to the riverbank, and the gondolier come over to us. We asked him if we could go on a ride, but he said he was sorry, he was fully booked.
"However, I didn’t see my husband wink at the gondolier and then he asked again whether the gondolier was sure he was completely booked out.
"The gondolier asked us to wait five or 10 minutes, and said he would come back and pick us up.
"I thought oh, cool we’re going on a gondola ride; I had no idea about the proposal. As the boat was going through the canal near the bridge, he took out the ring and proposed to me.
"It was really sweet.
"Afterwards, he told me he had planned the whole thing, and I had just thought it was a spontaneous decision, since the gondola was there."
Wedding date: April 28, 2012
Bride's parents: Muarem and Alton Nazifi
Groom's parents: Husein and Nora Hasan
Service: Bride's house in Kyabram
Reception: GV Hotel, Shepparton
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