Listen: Bride-to-be Monica chats with Hope 103.2’s Clare Bruce about her fiance’s proposal.
The power of social media was on display in the most heartwarming way this week, after a romantic marriage proposal was accidentally captured by a semi-pro photographer on Sydney Harbour.
Western Sydney couple Philo and Monica were at the picturesque Mrs Macquarie’s Point on the harbour on Saturday evening, when Philo got down on one knee and popped the question.
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At that exact moment, off in the distance shooting images of the harbour with a high-end camera, was a hobbyist photographer from California, visiting Sydney for the weekend. He unexpectedly captured a shot of Philo proposing, with Monica responding emotionally, silhouetted against a massive Sydney backdrop—complete with pastel sky, Harbour Bridge, cruise ship and Opera House.
A Trail of Messages to Reach the Happy Couple
The photographer was unable to reach the couple at the time, but wanted to find them to deliver the image. So he took to the social media platform, Reddit.
Scrolling through Reddit soon after was Hope 103.2 weekend announcer Dan Jones, who posted the image to the Hope Facebook page, hoping it might reach the happy couple.
Out of the more than 35,000 people who saw the image, it was best friend Rose who alerted Monica – who also happens to be a Hope 103.2 fan. The bride-to-be set up a Reddit account, and fired off a message to let the photographer know it was her in the image. Surprisingly, though, the Reddit user known only as ‘chomputer’ didn’t trust her at first.
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“He said a lot of people had tried to claim that photo as their own,” Monica told Hope 103.2. “So I sent him another photo, a close up, and from there he did believe it was me, and his friend who captured the photo, sent it over to me.”
Romantic Proposal Planned in Detail
Monica, who is 23, has been dating Philo for three years and said it was a long wait for a proposal – but more than worth it.
“He did not disappoint me, that’s for sure,” she said. “We got to this beautiful spot and sat down appreciating everything around us, it was a beautiful moment.
“It was a definite yes…there were lots of tears. And as soon as I turned around all my family, his family and my friends came out. They’d been hiding all day.”
Philo had gone to great lengths, getting his family to wait nearby with a favourite song and cameras at the ready—but his brother, who was on photographer duty, tripped and fell in his hurry to get in position.
He missed the crucial moment, which makes the presence of a mystery snapper even more touching. Ironically it was the sound of his fall that drew the photographer’s attention to the proposal going on at the water’s edge.
“It shows that it’s not coincidence, God actually has a plan in mind and sets things up…”
Monica is a Coptic Orthodox Christian, and believes the fairytale proposal had the marks of God all over it. “I’ve been a Christian my entire life and to have something like this happen shows that it’s not coincidence, God actually has a plan in mind and sets things up, especially when you couldn’t have planned them,” she said.
In a perfect twist of fate, Philo had originally planned to propose on a harbour boat ride the next day, but when he called to book there was no room left on the boat. It worked out for the best; the weather on Sunday evening wasn’t good.
“It really shows God’s part in my life,” Monica said, “and the fact that that moment was captured when someone else fell over, is like little puzzle pieces coming together.”
Monica and Philo plan to marry in 2019.