WHEN Port Elizabeth’s Kyle Vianello popped the question to Jade Harrington, he had no idea his simple proposal
would be judged the most romantic out of 3 000 entries from around South Africa in the competition run by wedding dress importers Demetrios South Africa.
After dating for eight-and-a-half years, Jade suspected something might be up: “When Kyle asked me if I’d like to go for dinner, I had a sneaky suspicion that he might propose – after all, we didn’t usually celebrate half-year anniversaries!”
Jade had often told Kyle that she hoped he wouldn’t choose a restaurant as the setting if he proposed but, nevertheless, she glammed up in anticipation.
“I wore a special silver and black ensemble, did my hair, painted my nails and spritzed on my favourite perfume. Every girl dreams of looking her best when the question is popped,” Jade recollected.
On arrival at Mangold’s Restaurant in Newton Park, she noticed there was an empty 11-seater table reserved next to theirs. Doing the maths, Jade reckoned their close family members added up to exactly 11, and concluded that Kyle had decided to involve the entire family. As their dinner progressed, strangers started arriving at the reserved table, and Jade soon realised that they were celebrating someone else’s birthday.
“I felt a little silly. Mains followed starters and dessert followed mains . . . still no sign of a proposal,” she said. “My hopes were slowly melting away. Kyle was chatting and being playful with no sign of any nerves. We ended the dinner with a walk through a softly lit garden and when we reached the car and Kyle opened the door, I was really disappointed.”
When they arrived home, Kyle put the kettle on, and Jade ditched her proposal outfit for her “comfy” tracksuit pants and “baggy hoody”.
“I could hear Kyle fiddling with his motorbike, and went to see what he was doing. As I looked up, there he was – my Prince Charming, standing at the foot of the staircase with a goofy smile on his face. Next thing I knew, he was at my side on one knee holding out the most gorgeous ring!”
According to Janine Pohlmann from Lady Marmalaide, judges from Demetrios SA chose Jade and Kyle’s story because it was “emotional and warm and it touched the hearts of the judging panel”. Jade has won a silver Lady Marmalaide bracelet with a black diamond to complement her shiny engagement ring.
Jade and Kyle will be tying the knot at The Plantation in Port Elizabeth in June and their engagement story shows the most romantic proposals can be in the simplest of settings.